Douglas Keller founded CollaborateMD (opens in new tab) back in 1999, with the goal of easing the pressure on medical practices, by giving them the tools to stay ahead of both financial and regulatory challenges.
The goal was to simplify the process for practices, by providing a single software tool that could handle all the billing needs, including backups and server issues, and allow the practice to keep its focus on patient care. It currently serves approximately 10,000 providers, 23 million patients, and an even more impressive $60 (£45.6) billion in claims processed.
- You can learn more about CollaborateMD here (opens in new tab)
CollaborateMD, being a popular veteran of the medical billing space, has a number of features to enhance workflow, with the goal of ease of use, and getting clinicians paid faster. It also focuses on small to medium sized practices, and not the enterprise market, to give each practice the personal attention it deserves.
It starts with the cloud based medical billing software. This approach is important, as it allows the folks at CollaborateMD to get the submitted claims in real time, and avoids any delays in billing. Old time clinicians will remember the stack of billing cards that got brought the office once a week, and the billers could not get to work until the cards got out of the clinician’s white coat pocket. Well, that delay becomes a fond memory, as now the claims process begins the second the billing charge is entered. This easily adds up to getting paid a lot faster right there.
Also, all claims are submitted electronically, better known as eClaims. This gets the practice paid faster, with no delays. CollaborateMD includes an unlimited number of eClaims so the practice can grow, and this medical billing software can handle the increased workload without any difficulty. This all adds up to an unusually high 99% first pass claim submission rate, which even surpasses other billing software solutions.
Finally, it is notable to provide consistency, that each practice gets assigned its own personal billing specialist from CollaborateMD, which is better than having to start with a new person every day who is not familiar with the practice.
One issue is that CollaborateMD is only browser based, and lacks dedicated software for both the Mac and Windows platform. Furthermore, it also is missing mobile apps for Android and iOS that many users like to use for access 24/7 when out of their office.
Other user complaints focus that the communication from their EHR to the CollaborateMD billing solution is unidirectional, and would rather have it as bidirectional. This means that when an appointment is made, and demographics get entered into the scheduling piece of software, this data does not automatically get captured to transfer to the billing software, which creates additional work as it has to be reentered.
Still, another issue is brought up about the customer support being lackluster. The complaint focuses on the lack of available hours for assistance, and that many support staff could have better training.
CollaborateMD offers a variety of ways for its users to access support. This includes phone support via a toll free number, although the hours are limited to 8 AM to 6 PM EDT, and only on weekdays. Also, there are the options for creating a support ticket, contact via email, and a dedicated fax line for support.
We also appreciate the CollaborateMD Knowledge Center, filled with plenty of information via FAQ’s, tools, release notes, videos and webinars particularly targeted at new users.
While CollaborateMD states on their site how transparent it wishes to be with their pricing, it actually is quite the opposite, as you need to enter your information, and establish contact with the company for a custom quote. The only hints provided are that there are no set-up costs, no hidden fees, and no contracts required, which are all favorable points.
Not sure what the big secret is, as elsewhere we found that CollaborateMD works on a four tier model that starts at Tier 1 for $189 (£144) per month for each provider, and provides for unlimited eClaims, an appointment scheduler, real time claim submission, and patient payment plans. Going up to Tier 2 raises the cost to $249 (£190) per month for each provider, and adds credit card capability for patient payments, cloud storage for documents, a secure patient payment portal, and a custom report builder. Tier 3 increases to $319 (£243) monthly for each provider, and adds in claim scrubbing, claim follow-up and increased cloud storage for documents. At the top is Tier 4, which commands a $389 (£297) per month per provider premium, and delivers patient appointment reminders via SMS and phone, unlimited paper claims, financial insight tools and analytics.
For higher volume practices, these fixed costs, by the provider, can end up less expensive than some other billing software solutions that charge a percentage of the collections. Therefore, it helps to have an estimate of the monthly collections to determine which pricing model will provide a more affordable cost.
CollaborateMD is available to assist offices in getting their medical billing out quickly, so they can get paid faster. Drawbacks related to the missing mobile apps, the limited support hours, and the opaque upfront pricing certainly will give any practice pause before purchasing. The advantages of this package are the exceptionally high first pass claims submission rate, the real time claims submission, and the fixed monthly costs, with a variety of packages offered. Putting this together puts CollaborateMD as a compelling solution, albeit with some flaws.
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