Nextech is a veteran to the EMR, and medical practice management space, going back to 1997. It focuses on integrated software solutions to the various medical specialties, including, dermatology, orthopedics and plastic surgery, while maintaining a focus on increasing profitability. Nextech currently serves over 4,000 practices, with over 11,000 providers from its headquarters in Tampa, Florida.
Nextech offers four solutions: EMR, Practice Management, Revenue Cycle Management, Patient Engagement and Compliance. The Practice Management solution is designed to streamline practice operations with a fully integrated healthcare IT solution.
Managing a practice starts with scheduling, and Nextech has this covered. For example, sometimes a patient just needs an appointment as soon as can be scheduled. Rather than have the office staff waste time and effort to go through the physician’s schedule to find an available appointment time, Nextech offers their ‘First available appointment finder,’ so a day and time for the appointment can be easily located, and offered to the patient. The scheduler is also designed to be flexible to accommodate the unique needs and demands of any physician. It can also handle the challenges associated with multispecialty practices, and also providers that see patients across multiple locations. Finally, rather than have to go through the cumbersome task of reentering all of the information to change an already scheduled appointment, Nextech has the feature to move appointments via a simple drag and drop method, or via cut and paste.
Another critical aspect of Practice Management is the billing piece. Here the mantra is to increase the efficiency at the back end of the practice, through providing a simple billing process. A difficulty in billing is rejected claims, and Nextech goes the extra mile to minimize this burden that interrupts a practice’s cash flow, and increase the workload when resubmissions are required. To reduce the rejected claims, Nextech includes in their package an “Intuitive ICD-10 coding assisted solution,” which can ensure accuracy in coding, and increase the number of ‘Clean claims.’
For clinical use, the integration that Nextech offers is quite attractive. For example, not only does their EMR support e-prescribing, but it goes a step beyond. This includes integration with the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which is the electronic state database the clinicians are required to check before prescribing a controlled substance for a patient. This necessary step is often a slow down, but with the integration, the process is painless, and greatly simplified.
Nextech users do have some issues about this product. Some complain about the myriad of available options, and the steep learning curve to get it up and running. Another issue is that the information could be displayed better, so that it can be followed easier, and also that it could be more customized to suit a specific need of the practice. It is not all negative though, as another user talks about “Expected glitches,” but then goes on to signify that tech support handles these issues efficiently and to their satisfaction.
Other users do complain about the extremely a la carte pricing, which wants to charge for each and every additional feature (see pricing below). There is also the shortcoming that Nextech does not offer any mobile apps.
Support is available for the Nextech products via a choice of methods. The first is via a toll free number, which is available during “Normal business hours,” weekdays, Monday to Thursday, 7 am to 8 pm EST, and on Friday from 7 am to 7 pm, with an option for ‘Additional support hours’ that are dependent on the product and plan chosen.
The other option for support is the Community Portal, which has the benefit of a time savings, compared to sitting on the phone, and the support ticket can be created. There is no option given for a chat, or an email exchange. Other resources provided include eBooks, such as Understanding the Real Bottom Line of Revenue Cycle Management, and whitepapers, including “PQRS Measure: A Guide to Successful Reporting.”
The pricing for Nextech’s Practice Management software is quite opaque, with no mention of it on its website, other than to “Call now,” and to “Request a demo.” As is often typical with this type of software, company contact is required for a custom quote via a portal. In addition, there is no free tier of the program, nor a free trial.
While the hard numbers are elusive, looking through reviews, the pricing structure puts Nextech into the expensive category. This includes an example given of an annual cost to a practice of $15,000 (£13,023) which includes the tech support, along with an additional licensing charge of $1200 (£1042) for each workstation. The user was also quite annoyed that if they chose to not pay the annual $15,000 (£13,023) fee for a year, and then needed tech support the next year, they would be forced to pay $30,000 (£26,046) for tech support, for both the missed prior year fee, and the current year.
Choosing software to manage a practice is a challenge. Nextech does offer plenty of functionality, including integration to their EMR, streamlined scheduling, and a choice of support options including a toll free number and available eBooks and whitepapers. Giving us hesitation from providing a higher recommendation is the opaque pricing model, which is compounded by the high costs and subscription model pricing with additional charges for each and every workstation. The further limitations of a lack of mobile apps, and the limited hours of support lead us to look at other solutions.
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