Your Complete Guide to Mental Health Billing Software
When times are dark, the last thing that should make things worse is the software medical office’s use. Billing software for mental health professionals should make things easier for them and their patients. If it’s not doing that, then patients will have a harder time getting the treatment they need.
Not only should mental health billing software make things easy to process, but it shouldn’t leave patients asking questions. It should show the cost of each step of a person’s treatment. That way, patients avoid stress and doctors can focus on what they do best. Instead of trying to balance billing processes, they can focus on trying to help people get better.
Yet, it can be hard to find billing software that does all this, and also adheres to EHR requirements. It can be easy to get lost in the maze of different features and terms in different ERH software.
Keep reading below for a quick guide on how to pick the best billing software for you!
Billing Software Should Make Things Easier When Times Are Tough
Normally, medical billing software is just a fancy software to maintain records. It collects the services a patient receives as well as any details about them, such as the time it was performed. It then organizes those services into an easily readable invoice.
However, most medical billing software is designed for people without mental or behavioral issues. It assumes that the person looking at the invoice is in a state of mind where they can read it.
Billing software for mental health professionals is different. Not only are the services on a patient’s invoice different, but they need to be detailed differently. A typical billing software wouldn’t need to list how long a medical service took.
But since therapy is often billed by the hour, time is a critical part of any invoice. Good mental health billing software should also describe a professional’s hourly rate. Insurance should also be accounted for, and it should all be clearly listed. Anyone should be able to see how different items affect the final price.
Most of all, mental health billing software needs to clearly show what the patient is responsible for. It needs to notify patients how much they owe in a way that anyone can understand. This way, the software helps avoid problems that can arise in the future if patients aren’t aware of what they’re being charged.
Billing Software for Mental Health Professionals Should be Reliable and Flexible
The best EHR and billing software strive for reliability, flexibility, legibility. If a software is unreliable, then the entire medical office may be driven to a halt. If paperwork can’t be processed, then treatments can’t be given. There simply won’t be any way to keep track of them.
Good billing software is also flexible enough to keep records for a variety of different services. In the mental health world, work can sometimes not seem like work. Sometimes, doctors may need to work after-hours or go meet a patient outside the office. Sometimes, they may need to appear in court. A good billing software should have a way to keep track of all that, and more.
Finally, all the information needs to be legible. It shouldn’t be a list of medical jargon and seemingly arbitrary numbers. Instead, services should be clearly explained, as well as their costs.
Luckily, there are many different EHR services to choose from, all of which perform differently. Some are better at keeping track of daily treatments automatically. Yet, they may lag behind when it comes to keeping up with less typical kinds of services.
The APA doesn’t endorse any specific one but recommends professionals research on different software on their own. There are easily-accessible guides on their websites.
Free Can Sometimes Come With a Fee
New offices may look to save costs by adopting free ERH software, to use at least while it gets established. When there are free versions available, investing in $163,000 EHR software may seem daunting. Yet, the high price point also comes with many advantages.
Paid billing software often comes with direct access to customer support. If an employee has issues using the software, they can usually just contact support to answer any questions they may have. Paid versions are also usually designed to be streamlined into normal office operations. They’re designed to be easy to use.
However, free versions can accomplish the same. Many, like OpenMRS, consider themselves to be more like platforms than actual software. This means that they can be customized to fit in with any office. It just takes a lot of work that people may not want to invest early on.
And if the software is implemented incorrectly, it can cost the office in the long run. Messy invoices and unorganized billings can drive patients away, especially in the mental health field. Free EHR software also usually lacks the direct support that comes with paid versions.
Billings Are Just One Kind of Record
Whichever software an office may choose, they should know that billing is just one kind of record they need to keep. And keeping track of records is just one feature they should have.
Records need to be shared to coordinate treatment through the whole office. However, at the same time, software must adhere to HIPAA requirements and keep records secure.
There should also be a way for patients to view their own records. This is essential to mental health since patient engagement with their own treatment only leads to further success in it.
Medications need to be monitored and recorded. So do the decisions clinicians may make for patients. Good EHR software keeps track of all that and more.
There Is A Lot of Software For Medical Billing Out There…
When you first start researching your EHR software solutions, you’re likely going to be intimidated.
Not only are there a lot of different brands, but each software may work differently. There are cloud-based medical records, which help streamline record access. Patients and providers can view records with these solutions since they’re saved in a cloud.
There are also charting systems which help measure both profitability and treatment effectiveness. These kinds of systems show metrics in an easily-understandable chart format.
And those are only two kinds of software among a litany of others.
…But the Best Solution is the One That Works For You and Your Patients
So picking which software is the best for patients and providers alike is an intense decision. Knowing which is best can seem like trying to figure out which lottery numbers will win.
There is a simple rule of thumb to go by when making your decision. The best billing software for mental health professionals is the one that works for them. Each software solution will boast about its features or price. They all try to sound even better than the last.
To know which one you should really choose, you need to do research. If one is available, you should use a trial version to see if the software fits in with your office. That’s pretty uncommon, though.
Instead, read our reviews here. We try different EHR software out for you and tell you about what’s good and bad about each. Keep reading, and you’ll learn which billing software is right for you!
Author: Mike Cynar
Mike Cynar brings buyers and sellers together by producing reviews and creating non biased webpages allowing users to share their experiences on various products and services. He and his staff write informative articles related to the medical field, legal, and other small business industries.