Medical practice management software (PMS) is a category of healthcare software that deals with the day-to-day operations of a medical practice including veterinarians. Such software frequently allows users to capture patient demographics, schedule appointments, maintain lists of insurance payors, perform billing tasks, and generate reports.
In the United States, most PMS systems are designed for small to medium-sized medical offices. Some of the software is designed for or used by third-party medical billing companies. PMS is often divided among desktop-only software, client-server software, or Internet-based software.
The desktop-only variety is intended to be used only on one computer by one or a handful of users sharing access. Client-server software typically necessitates that the practice acquire or lease server equipment and operate the server software on that hardware, while individual users' workstations contain client software that accesses the server. Client-server software's advantage is in allowing multiple users to share the data and the workload; a major disadvantage is the cost of running the server. Internet-based software is a relatively newer breed of PMS. Such software decreases the need for the practice to run their own server and worry about security and reliability. However, such software removes patient data from the practice's premises, which can be seen as a security risk of its own.
PMS is often connected to electronic medical records (EMR) systems. While some information in a PMS and an EMR overlaps — for example, patient and provider data — in general the EMR system is used for the assisting the practice with clinical matters, while PMS is used for administrative and financial matters. Medical practices often hire different vendors to provide the EMR and PMS systems. The integration of the EMR and PMS software is considered one of the most challenging aspects of the medical practice management software implementation.