Healthcare providers have been collecting and analyzing client data for longer than most industries. After all, to administer the correct forms of treatment, doctors and other medical professionals need to have access to detailed patient history, as well as other relevant patient data. Electronic health records (EHR) were first introduced as a way to optimize the record-keeping process. Rather than relying on paper files that are difficult to search (and costly to store and maintain), digital records could be indexed, analyzed, and retrieved with no more than a few keystrokes. EHR revolutionized the healthcare industry, and paved the way for other advances in patient management software. But while EHRs are great for keeping records, they may not be the best for engaging and managing patients. So, what is patient management software?
Strictly speaking, patient management software is software that is designed to collect relevant medical data from medical devices. However, in a broader sense, patient management software is any digital system designed to assist in the collection, organization, or analysis of patient data. The wide range of applications for patient management allow users to implement solutions for specific medical fields, such as mental health patient management software, dental patient management software, clinic patient management software, and so on. Even among specific medical disciplines, various kinds of patient management software are being created — patient complaint management software is designed to deal with client feedback, patient account management software assists with account details and finances, patient medical records management software supplements standard EHR, and so on. Unfortunately, with so many different systems all working at once, healthcare professionals often find themselves having to juggle too many programs. To make matters worse, these programs are all too often only partially compatible with each other, making seamless data integration nearly impossible. When this happens, medical errors are the natural result. Studies show that medical clerical errors are a frequent occurrence among healthcare providers. For example, patient charts cannot be found on 30% of patient visits. Thankfully, there are tools that exist that are capable of unifying the various patient management software systems into something more coherent: customer relationship management (CRM).