In today’s post, billing software takes on billing service, and I’m giving you a ringside seat. In this epic billing showdown, we’ve got two fierce competitors. (Cue the entrance music, please.) Coming in from the cloud and weighing in at, well, nothing is your in-house hero: billing software. And hailing from Anytown, USA, our second contender has fast fingers and laser-sharp focus on timely filing: It’s the trusted billing service!

Let’s have a fair fight, shall we? (Ding, ding.)

Billing Software

Billing is a big job, but someone’s got to do it—and when you use a billing software, that someone is you (or another member of your billing staff). If you’re a billing heavyweight—or if you’re willing to hire someone who is—then billing software is a great option for you. You get all the responsibility, but you also get all the financial insight and control over your claims. Plus, web-based software doesn’t require you to purchase any hardware, so you’ll likely save some moolah. Another major benefit? Keeping your billing in-house allows you to quickly locate and resolve any issues that come up—so long as you have perfected your billing workflow.

But if you lack the desire, expertise, or workflow efficiency to handle your billing in-house, you’ll want to take a closer look at working with a billing service.

Billing Service

Billing software is great if you prefer to fly solo, but when you have a billing service, you and your crew work like tag-team champions. Your front office still has a major impact on the success or failure of the process, but once you finalize and transmit your documentation to your billing service, your revenue cycle management team takes over and crushes those claims into submission. (See what I did there?) If you already work with a billing partner, look for a billing service that integrates with your vendor. Otherwise, choose a full-service billing service that will file claims quickly and correctly—and help you investigate and resolve billing errors and claim denials.

However, keep in mind that most billing services charge 6-12% of your monthly revenue collection. That means that unless your clinic’s monthly revenue remains steady all year long, you’ll probably have a hard time estimating your billing costs, which could be a real blow to your bottom line.

The EMR Factor

Simply put, regardless of the method you choose, it must integrate with your EMR. If it doesn’t, you’ll waste precious time and money on double data-entry and coding errors. Plus, you’ll have to grapple with limited access to crucial documentation and financial data. The future of heatlh care demands interoperability; why settle for a billing software or service that doesn’t communicate with your EMR?

Billing software and services are supposed to help your business—not hinder it—so avoid the ones that could end up costing you big (that includes software or service teams that aren’t up-to-date on the latest billing and compliance regulations and/or don’t understand the particulars of your specialty or region).

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Well, the match is over and the judges are split (I made that title belt for nothing). Neither option had a definite edge over the other, because it all depends on your clinic’s particular situation. Deciding whether to keep your billing in-house or outsource it to a billing service is a tough call to make, so you’ll need to take a good, hard look at your clinic’s needs, processes, staff, revenue, and budget before you declare a winner.