9 Must-have Urgent Care EMR Software Features

Credit card pre-authorization

Recent changes in healthcare access and insurance coverage mean more Americans are seeking treatment. While this is largely a good thing, it’s wise for urgent care centers to establish consistent credit card pre-authorization practices. This process entails swiping a patient’s credit card and placing authorization for the expected amount of charges, with the balance being adjusted after insurance remittance. If the patient owes less than the amount pre-authorized, only the lesser amount will be charged—and if there is no patient payment responsibility, then nothing is charged. There’s also opportunity for alternate payment methods since the patient is notified, usually by email, seven days before the charges actually go through. Although credit card pre-authorization is a relatively new practice in healthcare, is not uncommon in retail. Consumers are accustomed to submitted a credit card to “hold” a hotel room or car rental reservation. And urgent care centers that have implemented this practice are reporting faster collections, reduced delinquent patient accounts, and improved patient satisfaction. This is a critical practice management component and should be integrated into your urgent care software.

Real Time Eligibility

This is an important safeguard to verify a patient’s insurance coverage, co-pay responsibility, and deductible. Real Time Eligibility is a necessary tool in the urgent care EMR because it helps the center collect as much payment as possible up front. More consumers are opting for high-deductible health insurance plans, to pay lower premiums. This will mean more patients will have to pay for urgent care services out of pocket if the deductible responsibility has not been satisfied. It can take 60 days or more to collect that payment from the patient after the fact, if the center waits for the insurance company to deny the claim. Using Real Time Eligibility, the patient pays the estimated fee for their service at the time of the visit. The center may have to issue a refund check later, if the center collected too much up front.

Meaningful Use Certified

Medical practices need to be operating on a system that meets the requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. Providers are eligible for financial incentives for the “meaningful use” of certified electronic medical record systems. The aim of the program is to improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities. The government program establishes standards and other criteria for structuring and storing patient data within the EHR. Using a system that is certified through this program ensures that the urgent care center has the technological capabilities, functionality, and security to comply with Meaningful Use criteria.

Read more about Practice Velocity’s certification here.

Occupational Medicine Functionality and Portal

Using a system with a full menu of occupational health services and functionality to sort patient data will help the center be more successful with this ancillary service. There are complex surveillance requirements involved in treating workers’ compensation injuries, but the right EMR makes the process easy. Look for urgent care software that doesn’t require complex workarounds for completing and submitting mandated forms—electronically. Processing occupational medicine claims can take up to two years. But using an urgent care EMR with occupational medicine functionality can help get billing submissions completed correctly the first time around and speed up the process.

Automated Coding Suggestions

To boost success and profitability, an urgent care EMR must provide automated coding suggestions during the charting process. The E/M coding suggestions must be accurate and reliable—otherwise the providers will waste time running through billing questions or risk getting into trouble from “upcoding” a visit. When it works right, automated coding can produce significantly higher revenue for the center. Since this increase could attract interest from auditors, it’s important to find a high quality automation system. Have the vendor show how the EMR’s coding tools comply with published E/M coding guidelines and how the tools capture the necessary information from other parts of the chart. The vendor should also be able to demonstrate how to use time to determine the E/M code when appropriate.

Excellent Ratings by KLAS Research

Doing research before you select urgent care software can save you headaches and revenue in the long run. It’s important to investigate EMR companies to make sure they have an established record of success. Some of this can be found through industry ranking sites such as KLAS Research. Also look at company history to see if the founders have urgent care or occupational medicine experience. Do the company leaders have medical experience? Does the business have a stable history? Even with a user-friendly software system, it takes time and energy to implement a new EMR. Do your homework on the front end to avoid a costly switch later on.

U.S.-Based Support

While you need an EMR software system that’s easy to learn and use, you also want a reliable support team. Look for an urgent care software company that offers 365-day customer support, based in the U.S. This helps you avoid language barriers, time delays and other complications. The support team needs to be easily reachable when anyone from your urgent care center has a question or runs into a problem in the software. Find a company that provides one-call resolution to your questions—you don’t want to get stuck leaving a message and waiting for someone to get back to you hours or days later. The urgent care industry requires on-demand service, which means the software provider needs to answer any issues urgently.

U.S.-Based Revenue Cycle Services

Working with a billing team based in the U.S. offers stronger returns for your urgent care center. The revenue cycle services team will be most effective in gathering revenue when operating from domestic offices. Plus, many urgent care payor contracts have language prohibiting clinics from using offshore vendors. In addition to being based in the U.S., look for urgent care billers who understand the importance of getting statements out and cash flow back in to the center quickly.

Online Bill Pay

To succeed in urgent care, you need to keep customers happy. One of the ways to do that is offering convenience features like online bill pay. Systems like ZipPay offer integrated functionality. Patients can login and check the balance or pay by credit card from any device.