Shopping for care management software can be time-consuming and stressful.
There are many care management software solutions available on the market, making it difficult to narrow down your options. These software solutions range in both price and features, making the buying decision all the more difficult.
Many providers aren’t even sure what they should be looking for. What features are important? How much does good care management software cost?
These are basic, fundamental questions that many don’t have the answer to.
We believe that if your care management software makes your job more difficult, this could negatively affect the quality of care provided to your patients, and that's a good sign that you're using the wrong software.
Before making sense of the features within care management software, you first want to establish goals for your care management programs. Once you have goals in place, you can identify software with the tools necessary to best accomplish those goals.
So what features should you look for in good care management software?
Having worked with over 400 providers across the country, we have seen that while all software differs, there are some specific key features that you should look for when shopping.
Below we’ll briefly cover each of these features that you should keep an eye out for, what they do, and why they’re important.
It’s important to recognize that staff within your practice may have different views about which features are most important. For example, what’s important to administrative staff may differ from what’s important to care managers, and further what’s important to physicians.
In choosing the best care management software, look for a solution that has features that appease most of, if not your entire staff at the practice.
Below are some of the most important features seen in good care management software.
1) User-Friendly Interface
One of the most obvious, but also important features of good care management software is its user interface. You should look for a user-interface that is clean and easy to use, with seamless navigation.
You want your care management information to be easily accessible with the ability to add updates across your patient population.
All patient and program data that you need to manage should be at your fingertips; you shouldn't have to dig for what you are looking for.
Good software should also take the guesswork out of claim submission, giving you everything you need such as CPT and ICD10 codes (based on the program requirements like CCM time spent, type of AWV, etc.) to correctly drop claims.
The depth of these features can pay dividends later should your practice be audited.
3) Scheduling Tools
Since care managers will be managing the health of dozens of patients each month, you’ll want a software that allows them to log, track, and schedule calls and follow-up appointments.
Without proper scheduling tools, the jobs of care managers can quickly become a burden, ultimately translating to worse patient care.
All patients should get the care they need and deserve, and this is a great way to make sure no patient gets left behind.
4) Integrated EHR
Care management software can either integrate directly with EHRs or work harmoniously with EHRs as a supplemental solution, or a combination of the two.
The important underlying capability to look for is an easy, seamless sharing of patient data between the two platforms.
Direct integration is useful because EHRs are not built to effectively run care management programs. EHRs offer little-to-no automation, often requiring extensive manual data entry and formatting.
This can overburden staff and reduce the quality and coordination of patient care.
5) Patient Portal
Having a patient portal built into care management software will improve the quality of care you provide for your patients.
The portal should give your patients access to reports and summaries of their care across all programs they're participating in.
For example, the Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) portal allows patients to see device readings, alerts, and notifications, and allows for open communication with the care team.
Specifically, look for the ability to generate exportable reports of your patient population, care plan update reports, and monthly billing reports, just to name a few.
7) Secure Access
Because you are dealing with sensitive, HIPAA-protected patient information, you’ll want a secure software. Ask the software vendor if their software is HIPAA certified.
Good care management software should allow for secure access wherever you are via desktop, tablet, and/or smartphone.
8) Customer Support
One feature that can really make a care management software stand out from the rest is the quality of their customer support.
Software solutions that provide tech support via email, phone, and/or within the software itself are recommended.
Going one step further, if the software gives providers access to clinicians and experts on care management programs that can help your practice meet CMS requirements.
Building Your Decision-Making Criteria
Now that you have the information on key features of care management software, how do you choose which is best for you?
You should first have an understanding of what the benefits of a care management software are.
Next, you’ll want to develop a set of criteria to evaluate the various software solutions you’ve explored. Every provider may have a different set of criteria that’s important to them, as it should serve their program goals.
Some of the most common criteria providers use in evaluation care management software solutions include pricing, usability, and integration ability.
Some providers simply want the cheapest option out there. Others are okay with paying more for better quality software.
Usually, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” rings true.
If you’re a provider worried about the cost of software, you may be asking yourself if a higher-priced software is worth it.
Adding to the confusion is that you may find it hard to find pricing information with some software solutions.
Look for software vendors that have transparent pricing, including tools such as pricing calculators that show you potential costs and/or return on investment.
Is the software easy to use? Is the user-interface clean, pleasant to look at? Most importantly of all, does it work?
Most care management software vendors claim that their solution is easy to use. So how do you know if it’s actually true? Try a live demo of the software.
During the demo, make sure those who will be using the software on a daily basis are present. You want to make sure the software is the right fit for your users and providers.
The best care management software solution is meant to be used with any certified EHR.
That can either be through direct integration with your EHR or as a supplemental solution to your EHR that allows for seamless sharing of data across platforms.
Don’t be discouraged if a software solution doesn’t offer direct integration with your EHR. No software solution will integrate with every EHR, so instead focus on how easy the software works with your EHR.
Look to see if patient information is easily shareable across the platforms and if reports can be downloaded from the software and uploaded easily into your EHR.
This feature improves efficiency and ensures accuracy in data between your EHR and care management software.
Keep The Goals of Your Program in Mind
Remember to keep your program goals in mind when looking for features within a software solution and in making your final decision on which software is right for you.
You’ll have ideally looked at multiple software solutions so that you can properly compare to find which solution offers the most value.
The process will take time and feel like a burden, but this decision can make or break your program so you want to be well-informed before buying.