The healthcare reimbursement landscape is changing. Practices are consolidating to make bigger groups. Some organizations are branching off physical and occupational therapy as ancillary services. With all the changes taking place, it’s time to re-evaluate your health information technology (HIT) providers.

Here are the top questions you should be asking HIT partners about their solutions – and how they should be responding. 

  1.  Will our therapy group be able to bill directly from the software?

Time is money – and this capability both saves administrative time and helps you get paid faster. Working smarter and faster for a better bottom line is the cost of doing business in today’s healthcare environment. You should be able to schedule, document, and bill from one system – without separate logins or interfaces. With only one database to manage, you will see huge productivity improvements. Additionally, a single database reduces the cost of maintaining separate and disparate systems. From my perspective, these capabilities are non-negotiable given the demands practices are facing right now – so you should cross any HIT partner off your list who can’t deliver.

  1.  Is the software intuitive to learn? How do you support us during training and implementation?

Buying software you can’t use easily, quickly, and intuitively is just bad business practice – not to mention extremely frustrating. That’s why you need an enterprise solution, tailored for therapy, that’s very intuitive – one where therapists developed the workflow. Having your single-template workflow in SOAP note format, just the way therapists treat patients, should be your goal. This makes documenting like second nature from your first click.

Another focus should be finding an HIT partner who doesn’t leave you high and dry after the sale. Look for partners who offer a dedicated project manager to oversee your implementation project, ensuring you meet all milestones and timelines.

  1.  How does your software speed my efficiency and reduce my “screen time” so I can focus more on my patient?

This is the biggest downfall of so many systems – the user is stuck staring at a screen rather than interacting with and treating a patient. Improving both the user and patient experience should be a primary focus of your HIT partner. Users should say they are increasing efficiency because the intuitive workflow uses a single template for documentation of all visit types. Users should also reference time-saving tools that allow them to populate templates using past data from any encounter.

  1.  How does the software help me ensure payer compliance?

Getting paid seems to be getting more complicated. The right solution will be highly configurable, allowing users to set payer-specific billing and coding rules to ensure you are paid. Your solution should come pre-set with Medicare documentation requirements, which your partner should update, as needed, automatically.

  1.  Is my plan of care tracked?

Life is a lot easier – and healthcare is a lot better and safer – when your HIT solution tracks patient care and keeps accurate records. Your chosen solution should track the plan of care electronically inside the system. You should be able to add notes about phone calls, faxes, and emails sent to follow up on the plan of care. Once approved, the plan of care should update with the approved information.

Questions about finding an HIT solution that delivers? Contact us at therapy@nextgen.com, or stop by booth #1742 at APTA on February 17-20, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Read more about how NextGen® Enterprise Therapy Solutions improve documentation and maximize revenue.