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CareCloud Review

Best Practice Management Software for Small Practices

A Business News Daily Review

Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

After conducting research and analysis of practice management software, we recommend CareCloud as the best practice management software for small practices.

We chose CareCloud from dozens of practice management software applications. To learn how we arrived at our recommendations and for a comprehensive list of practice management solutions, see Business News Daily's best picks.

Medical practice management software and associated healthcare IT products, such as electronic medical records (EMR) systems, can often be sprawling and difficult to learn. The time it takes for staff to become proficient with this software is necessary but can also be disruptive to medical practice workflows until the learning curve is overcome. For this reason, there is significant demand for user-friendly software that doesn't require a huge investment of time and effort on the part of staff, especially among small practices. Healthcare IT solutions, including practice management software, promise more efficiency and reduced labor, so it's important that these tools augment and improve existing operations rather than hamper them.

Editor's note: Are you looking for medical practice management software that can help your office run more efficiently? Fill out the form below for more information from our vendor partners.

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We chose CareCloud as the best practice management software for small businesses because of its intuitive architecture and user-friendly interface. These aspects are far from a given in the practice management and EMR fields, but CareCloud succeeds in creating an easy-to-follow suite of software that makes a typical patient visit a step-by-step process for all members of a medical practice. Not only is the user interface clean and easy to navigate, but tools are organized in a way that they are easy to locate and follow the logical progression of a visit. Furthermore, the CareCloud team can adjust most features during the implementation period to suit each practice's unique approach to delivering high-quality healthcare to patients. In a small practice, patient retention and customer satisfaction are essential, and CareCloud can facilitate a superior patient experience by harnessing your staff's talent and expertise.  

CareCloud is one of the easiest practice management platforms to learn and use that we encountered in our research. It starts with a very organized and uncluttered interface, which makes it easy to find the tools you need. The major modules, organized in a series of icons along the top of the page, follow the steps of a typical patient's appointment, from registration to the submission of claims related to the clinical encounter. Its seamless connection to the CareCloud EMR system allows the automatic population of relevant data, eliminating the need for double entry and reducing the likelihood of human error.

Key icons appear from left to right on the screen, including the scheduling tool, patient information, clinical module, billing module and document storage. The practice management software is responsible for patient information and registration, scheduling, medical billing, and secure communications through the built-in messenger tool. The software integrates with the EMR system to facilitate the flow of data between the front office, providers and back office almost instantaneously. This means that as soon as a patient is checked in and their insurance verified, a provider can get to work on the clinical encounter. After the encounter, the medical coders and billers have access to all the information necessary to create and submit claims.

CareCloud is cloud-based software hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), so it doesn't require medical practices to host their own servers. This makes it easy for small practices to maintain the software. CareCloud updates automatically during off-peak hours to minimize disruption of service.

CareCloud's ease of use, seamless integration and low maintenance are major reasons it's our best pick for small practices.

CareCloud offers all the core features we looked for in practice management software and then some. The tools are easy to access and use regardless of your role within the medical practice. You can also customize many features to suit your personal daily workflow. Here are some of the key features of CareCloud.

CareCloud's main screen is the dashboard, which offers a central location for the rest of the system's tools. It includes a customizable overview of metrics, such as the amount of time claims have spent in accounts receivable, upcoming appointments and outstanding patient balances. Each widget on the dashboard has a dropdown menu that can filter data along specific criteria, such as by provider, location or range of time. Each widget also includes a color-coded bar graph for a quick visualization of practice performance.

It's easy to customize the dashboard by adding or removing widgets. In this way, each user can personalize the dashboard to display only the information relevant to their role within the medical practice. You can do this by clicking on the "gadget store" or "edit layout" buttons. You can reorganize existing widgets on the dashboard simply by dragging and dropping them into place.

CareCloud's scheduling tool offers a sleek color-coded calendar. You can view the calendar by day, week, or month and sort it by appointment type and status. The columns on the calendar are customizable to show appointments by location, provider or another element that can be configured during implementation. You can view these columns on the fly by selecting from a series of check boxes, or you can cycle through the day, week or month with the mini calendar map.

Viewing the calendar by appointment status separates scheduled appointments into five categories. Upcoming appointments appear as light blue, while checked-in appointments are light green. Checked-out patients with appointments pending billing are dark blue, while billed appointments are dark green. Canceled appointments appear in red on the calendar.

For a more detailed view of the calendar, you can switch to list view. This displays information such as the patient's name, date and time of appointment, location of appointment, and the provider seeing the patient. It also displays the appointment type, the status of the appointment and the patient's insurance eligibility if a verification check has been run. Insurance verification checks can be run on individuals or as a batch that covers all scheduled appointments for a given time period. A green check mark indicates eligible insurance coverage, while a red X indicates ineligibility. If there are outstanding issues with a patient's insurance, a yellow exclamation mark will appear.

CareCloud's billing tool communicates with the EMR system to import clinical data necessary to post charges and create claims. Once a clinical note is signed, the billing team can check the pre-generated codes and add their own from the built-in ICD-10 and CPT coding libraries. E&M codes should pre-generate, but billers can double-check and revise them in the billing module.

On the left-hand side of the billing tool, you can access tabs that display information such as unbilled encounters, saved encounters and posted bills ready for submission to payers. The tab for unfulfilled encounters displays the list of patients who have been checked out and whose encounters are ready for billing. This list includes the patient's name, date of service, appointment type, insurance information, provider, location and the outstanding value of the encounter. This view makes it easy to prioritize unfulfilled encounters and quickly post the most valuable claims.

Once charges are posted and claims submitted, the unfulfilled encounters move into the saved encounters tab, where the billing team can review their status in real time. This tab includes information about the provider who saw the patient, the ICD-10 and CPT codes applied to the encounter, the E&M code, and the value of claims related to the encounter. Claims are scrubbed by CareCloud's CollectiveIQ rules engine, which flags any errors that could lead to denial or rejection from the payers. Any flagged errors transfer the problematic claims to the errors tab, where they can be reworked prior to submission.

Denied claims are monitored through the billing module as well. These come with reports that identify the most common reasons for denial, letting your staff keep an eye on any recurring issues. If you purchase the Concierge package with CareCloud's medical billing services, CareCloud billers will work through the billing process in this same practice management software. You can monitor their progress in real time directly through the billing module.

The patient portal is part of CareCloud's Breeze application. Breeze offers patients the ability to fill out intake forms prior to submission and update key information, such as their medications, allergies, family history and insurance details. You can also set up kiosks in the office that run the Breeze application, allowing your patients to update their information while they wait for their appointment. The patient portal is secure and compliant with HIPAA standards. It can also capture any outstanding balances or patient copayments.

CareCloud provides detailed reports on virtually every aspect of practice performance and clinical data. Individual report dashboards cover key aspects of your practice, such as accounts receivable, in more detail than the homepage dashboard widgets. All reports can be filtered by payer, by provider or by staff responsible for handling the relevant tasks, and you can view them in a daily, weekly or monthly format. They can all be exported as PDF, XLS or CSV files. Any report can be customized accordingly and set to recur automatically.

In addition to these standard reports, CareCloud offers a MIPS/MACRA dashboard that tracks your progress toward government standards for Meaningful Use. MIPS/MACRA tracking can help you avoid any reductions in Medicare and Medicaid payments, as well as capture any incentive payments offered by the government for improving healthcare IT usage within your medical practice.

CareCloud charges per provider, per month, which is common in the industry. It offers its practice management software as a stand-alone system or integrated with its EMR system. For the stand-alone practice management software, CareCloud starts at $349 a month per provider. For the integrated practice management and EMR software, pricing starts at $628 a month per provider.

In addition to the integrated practice management software and EMR system, CareCloud offers a patient engagement application called Breeze. Breeze enables useful aspects of the practice management software, such as the patient portal, automated appointment reminders, digital check-in and payment processing at the point of sale. Pricing for Breeze starts at $199 per provider per month. This would bring the total of the practice management software, EMR system and Breeze application to $827 per provider per month, which is a relatively competitive price for a software suite among vendors in our review.

Alternatively, medical practices that sign up for CareCloud's revenue cycle management package for medical billing services receive access to the company's entire healthcare IT suite in exchange for a percentage of their monthly collections. The medical billing services, included in a package called Concierge, starts at 3% of medical practice collections, which is a low rate compared to other services we reviewed. However, exact pricing for revenue cycle management depends on your claims volume, claims value and the complexity of your billing requirements.

Implementation and training for CareCloud require an additional startup cost that ranges from $3,000 to $5,000. The process typically takes about 90 days and includes provider enrollment with payers for electronic claim submission. Implementation also includes any customization you might require, including the creation of templates and mapping to the relevant appointment types, and the creation of needed integrations, such as with LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics.

The startup cost covers remote training, but onsite, one-on-one training costs extra. Training includes demonstrations on how to use the system, teaching staff workflows and customizing the software to suit the practice's needs.

Data migration from a legacy EMR system and practice management software is not included in the startup costs; it generally costs an additional $5,000. During migration, CareCloud will ensure that data is imported into the system and configured appropriately – unlike some services, which simply provide a folder with files that you must then manually import into the system. The costs of a full implementation with data migration, however, are significantly steeper for CareCloud than for other vendors in our review.

CareCloud's customer support representatives were extremely helpful during our review. The representatives we dealt with were forthcoming at all times and highly knowledgeable, able to answer every question we asked. They took the time to schedule a live demonstration and quickly followed up with additional materials when we asked. After speaking to CareCloud's representatives, we felt fully informed about the next steps if we were to sign up with the service. While company representatives were extremely communicative, they were never pushy to make a sale, especially after we said we would need more time to investigate our options.

Contacting CareCloud's customer service and technical support teams is easy. There are three primary ways to ask the company for help. The easiest is a live chat button built into CareCloud's software. The live chat uses HIPAA-compliant security, protecting any sensitive information you have to share. CareCloud also maintains a helpdesk service for technical issues. You simply submit a ticket detailing the issues you are experiencing, and a technical support representative will handle it shortly. Finally, you can reach out to CareCloud by 1-800 phone number, which is available 24/7 at no extra cost. The provision of automatic software updates at no cost is another benefit of partnering with CareCloud.

CareCloud's biggest limitation is its steep startup costs, which require an initial investment of a few thousand dollars. For small practices importing data from legacy systems, costs can exceed $10,000. This could be a barrier to entry for medical practices on a tight budget, even though the system's subscription prices are competitive. The company representatives we dealt with expressed willingness to negotiate startup costs, though, so there is an opportunity to reduce the overhead. If you really want to reduce costs, though, you might have to perform any necessary data migration internally.

Ready to choose your practice management software? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:


Editor's note: Are you looking for medical practice management software that can help your office run more efficiently? Fill out the form below for more information from our vendor partners.

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Adam C. Uzialko

Adam C. Uzialko, a New Jersey native, graduated from Rutgers University in 2014 with a degree in political science and journalism and media studies. He reviews healthcare information technology, call centers, document management software and employee monitoring software. In addition to his full-time position at Business News Daily and business.com, Adam freelances for several outlets. An indispensable ally of the feline race, Adam is owned by four lovely cats.