Learn the Pro’s and Con’s of Online Medical Billing Software. What features are important and what to expect to pay.
When started creating this page, our intent was to review several of the more popular web based medical billing software and summarize the features and characteristics of each. After researching several services, I realized this was overly ambitious given the sheer quantity of services out there – all claiming to be the best!
Web based or online software as discussed here is also referred to as ASP (Application Service Provider) or SaaS (Software as a Service). These providers host an application on their servers. It can be accessed by a browser or using an application that resides on your local PC.
Web-based online medical billing software applications have a user interface with an intuitive look and feel of a browser web page.
Benefits of Online Medical Billing Software
- No software upgrades
- No up front cost for software and servers
- No maintenance on software or server hardware
- No software to install
- No backup
- Access from any PC – Depending on the service usually via web browser
- Monthly subscription pricing. Typically little or no upfront costs
Drawbacks of Online Medical Billing Software
- Depending on the service may not have a choice of clearinghouse
- Data could be held hostage
- Monthly cost could add up if you are charged per user
- Dependent on a reliable broadband connect
- Limited integration to other external software applications or hardware devices
Features to Look For
- Patient statements and ERA’s. Electronic posting.
- Ability to export your data
- Choose your own clearinghouse
- Good technical support. Ask to talk to some current users and see how pleased they are with the service
What to Expect to Pay
Before asking what a service costs, ask about the benefits and why a particular vendor is better than their competition. When I was shopping for software for our business, I compiled a simple spreadsheet listing all the features that were important – including price. It’s a nice way to get a side-by-side comparison. I helped me narrow down my choices.
Some services start under $100 per provider for basic services. For a single provider I would expect to pay more than $300 per month for service with good tech support. Additional service such as patient statements and ERA will cost more but the time they save makes it well worth it.
I’m impressed with an online service called Kareo. They offer:
- Simple interface
- Best value – starts at $69. Full featured is $349
- No upfront costs and no long term contracts. This makes it low risk. If for some reason you’re not happy with it you can export your data
- Priced per provider – no additional per user fees
- Includes clearinghouse and ERA
- Unlimited electronic and paper claims included
- No long term contract
- Nice user interface
- Can export data in standard file formats like Comma–Separated Value (.CSV) or Microsoft Excel (.XLS)
Kareo Medical Billing Software is a web-based medical billing, practice management, and integrated claims processing software.
Another nice feature is they assign a fax number for each practice. Documents faxed to this number are scanned and available online. This is a neat feature. We don’t have an affiliate agreement with Kareo – I just think they offer a great product at a reasonable price thats perfect for the small medical billing business – and want to let others know about it.
One of my other favorites, AltaPoint, which I currently run on a server, is offering AltaPoint Online for as low as $79 per month. It runs on a server at a secure Tier 3 data center.
I haven’t completely investigated this yet but it’s probably the bare bones price without clearinghouse and other service fees. But it’s still very reasonable when you consider the initial setup cost for a practice management system and the ongoing costs of software and server maintenance and upgrades.