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Healthcare software is a records management tool used by many hospitals, clinics and doctor's offices, to reduce paperwork and make the billing process more efficient. Some healthcare software is used strictly for medical data on patients, such as the dates and nature of office visits and a record of any tests or procedures performed. Other types of software can link billing data with medical data, which streamlines the process of coding documents for billing. A wide variety of software is available, and many programs can be customized to fit the needs of a specific hospital or clinic.
One of the most important advantages of using healthcare software is that it allows doctors and nurses to easily access a patient's medical history. The patient's medical history is stored electronically, so if a doctor needs to see a particular test result, a simple search will display the results on the computer screen, instead of having to waste time sorting through hundreds of pages of medical documents in a traditional paper file. Electronic records also alert the health care team of any allergies the patient may have, and usually includes a list of medications the patient is taking. This can drastically reduce the chances of medication errors due to oversight.
A fully integrated software system also saves time and money in the billing process. Insurance companies usually require explanation of why tests and procedures were performed before they will pay for the procedures. This is a process known as coding, and requires a billing specialist to assign a numerical code for the patient's diagnoses and the type of care the patient received. Some software systems are able to link the patient's medical and billing information, assign the appropriate codes, and generate a bill. All that is required of the billing specialist is a quick check for accuracy, simplifying the whole billing process and reducing billing errors. The software can track how long a bill has been waiting for payment and alert the billing staff of accounts that need further follow-up.
Healthcare software cuts the costs associated with organizing, filing, securing and storing paper documents. Errors associated with misfiling are also drastically reduced by using electronic patient records. Electronic records are also more private and secure than paper records. Software systems are encrypted for security and require the user to enter a password. Some systems are specialized so that staff members are only allowed access to the specific information they need to perform their job duties. This greatly reduces the chances of private health information being viewed or used by those who do not have a need to access it.
The rising costs of healthcare, the inefficiency of old systems and the new healthcare law are driving the industry to commit to improving care, cut overhead costs and promote preventive care.
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