Practice management software focus of new online resource

The AMA and the Medical Group Management Assn. are collaborating on the website.

By — Posted Aug. 13, 2010

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The American Medical Association has partnered with the Medical Group Management Assn. to develop an online tool kit to help physician practices chose the right practice management system.

The online tool, available to both AMA and MGMA members, will provide physicians with a five-step guide to practice management software selection; a checklist of software features and functionalities to determine actual needs; and a sample request for proposals practices can use when communicating with potential software vendors.

The AMA says many practices are now facing either the purchase of a new system or the upgrade of an existing system to participate in the government's Medicare and Medicaid incentive program aimed at promoting "meaningful use" of electronic medical records.

The incentive plans require the electronic submission of claims and other business functions, for which practices will need a practice management system integrated with their EMR. Many EMR vendors are now bundling practice management systems into their systems.

"The AMA is pleased to offer physicians guidance to make this transition smoother," said AMA President Cecil Wilson, MD, in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, health plans are converting to streamlined claims processes that rely on automation. Many also are preparing for the conversion to ICD-10. "The last piece of the puzzle is to ensure that the [practice management] software can take full advantage of those opportunities," said William J. Jessee, MD, MGMA president and CEO.

Later in 2010, the tool kit will add an online directory, in which practice management software vendors can list their software options, and the features and functionalities included in each option (link).

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