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Choosing the right medical health billing software and psychiatric medical billing software is dependent on locating software that contains functionality pertinent to these kinds of practices. Psychologists and psychiatrists primarily utilize the standard office visitation normally lasting 30 minutes to one hour to diagnose and subsequently prescribe treatment. In many cases the same medical codes are used for each visit. Additionally, it is not unusual for the patient to be seen multiple times per month. Medical software that includes standard "charge sets" is preferable for these kinds of practices. Charge sets are preset codes that allow multiple codes to be input with one preset code eliminating duplicity.

For those practices that wish to use scheduling functionality it is preferable that the medical billing software contain a patient scheduler that can be set into 15 minute intervals. The scheduler should also contain functionality to block sections of the calendar for vacation, holidays and standard non-working days to avoid inadvertently scheduling patients on those days. The newer scheduling products contain email and text messaging modules to alert patients of pending appointments reducing missed appointments.

Therapy notes are the life blood of psychiatric and psychological practices. Many practices are moving away from handwritten notes to entering the notes directly into the medical claim. Up to date medical practice software allows direct input of therapy notes. For those practices that wish to maintain handwritten notes but would prefer to attach them to the corresponding medical claim the software should allow for an upload of a scanned document to the claim. With the convenience of the notes next to the claim the patient history is easily maintained all in one place.

All of the newer psychiatry medical practice software and psychology medical practice software provides for electronic medical claim transmission. It is preferable that all claims that can be transmitted electronically be sent that way. Some medical billing software may charge clearinghouse fees in order to access a medical claim network. Other software vendors that are already linked into a network may waive clearinghouse fees.

Patient statement processing is of ultimate importance. In many cases the medical software is a stand-alone product with the practice responsible for processing, stuffing envelopes and mailing statements. So many practices do not have the personnel to manually process patient statements. Consequently it is important to investigate this aspect of the medical software vendor.

We have discussed the most important aspects of medical billing software for psychiatrists and psychologists. However, other aspects need to be investigated to make sure the right product is chosen that best suits the practice. First, the delivery of the software must be established. Vendors today deliver the product "in the cloud" over the Internet or require the practice to download the software to the practice computer system. There are significant advantages to cloud based medical practice software in that it can be accessed using a standard Internet browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. Most cloud based vendors include data backup eliminating this hassle from the practice that maintains the software on their computers. Second, the cost of the product must be investigated. Prices can vary from free software to thousands of dollars depending on the delivery and the functionality needed. Third, training and support are extremely important issues to resolve. Some vendors may charge ongoing fees for training and support that may amount to thousands of dollars in annual costs. And, fourth, medical practice software updates need to be investigated. Sometimes the cost of an update is more than the original cost of the software and can result in thousands of dollars of annual expenses to be unknowingly borne by the practice.