Ask the Expert: Upgrading to an Integrated Physician Practice Management System
Question: I am the accounting manager for a private physician group of approximately 500 employees and subcontracted clinicians. We have been growing steadily over the past few years, and are looking to upgrade our overall business office systems. Can you provide any advice?
Answer 1: Although this is not an area of specific expertise, I welcome the opportunity to share some initial thoughts that may assist you. Choosing an integrated information system is an extremely important task and something that can impact the practice, either positively or negatively for years to come. Preparing a request for proposal (RFP) is an important part of the process, and it should be extremely comprehensive. (See answer 2 for links to some RFP resources and templates.)
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In terms of specific IT systems that may be of interest to your organization, you may consider using a firm that counsels healthcare organizations with IT system procurement decisions to help guide your practice through the process of identifying key system requirements and, subsequently, potential vendors for consideration. The firm, based on your input and parameters, may narrow prospective software systems to three or four and help coordinate the process of in-person demos, etc.
Additionally, it is important to gather all of the key stakeholders of the organization and include them in the process. Forming a variety of related committees may be helpful to identify, evaluate, and prioritize what’s important in a new system. Furthermore, these committees may be helpful during the evaluation process (e.g., during the demonstrations and reference reviews). In conclusion, this is a very important decision to the future of your organization, and a careful and thorough process should be considered with input from all stakeholders.
This question was answered by Craig Nesta, partner, TRG Healthcare, LLC, Philadelphia, and a member of HFMA’s Massachusetts-Rhode Island Chapter (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Answer 2: In relation to putting together an RFP, the federal government provides some tips on this process and provides a sample RFP for a physician electronic health record and integrated practice management system.
AHIMA also provides some guidance on the RFP process, as well as an RFP template.
This question was answered by Maggie Van Dyke, managing editor, HFMA Forums (email@example.com).
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Publication Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2013