Medical Billing – Software Capacity

The one thing they haven’t quite figured out yet in the world of medical billing software is how to make a package big enough in terms of capacity to handle any size company. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the problem and just why it’s a problem, along with some possible solutions.

Years ago, many years ago, if you had a meg of memory in your computer, you could do just about anything at all. Today, half a gig can just about get your operating system started. As systems and programs get larger, the requirements for these programs grow. But this isn’t so much the issue here. Certainly today’s PCs have enough memory and disk space to be able to handle starting up an operating system and a piece of software. The issue has more to do with the actual software itself and the mega businesses that use it.

Today, we have corporations involved in the medical billing business that are so massive, it isn’t unusual for them to be billing hundreds of thousands of patients. Suddenly, a software package that used to run on a single PC is no longer able to do the job. So networks are built with the software running on individual workstations. The servers running this software are massive. The memory and disk space used by these servers are light years ahead of what they used to be. And yet, with all of this processing power, the software itself can only handle so much. Why?

One of the reasons is the platform on which the software is built. Unfortunately, most software companies build their products on databases that have serious limitations. For example. Some of the most popular DME software packages is built on the database known as Btrieve. While a good database, it has its limitations. One of them is the size it can grow to before you start seeing corruption problems in the database itself. When companies started getting large enough to poke holes in this database, the first solution was to break the database up into multiple companies. But this quickly lead to legal problems and other issues such as being able to get meaningful reports from multiple companies.

Another problem the software packages started running into was the actual processing of the data stored in the database once a solid platform was found. Many users began to notice that running a sales report for a company with 100,000 patients was taking a day to run and tying up all the resources of the server, thus slowing down the work of everyone else. So new network architectures had to be configured to make it so that the reports being run would not have any effect on other users of the system. This was easier said than done with a shared database. So the next solution was to duplicate the database using a RAID system and run the reports off the other drive.

And these problems are only the tip of the iceberg. The unavoidable truth is, as long as companies continue to grow and more and more data is needed, these companies will continue to outgrow the software that is being used. That’s why there are constant updates for all these packages.