Small to mid-sized healthcare practices are always looking for ways to cut costs. One way to do this is by taking advantage of the free and low-cost software that’s available. The ones listed here have gone through our extensive testing, so you can be sure they’re safe and reliable.
- Make sure you’re downloading from a trusted source.
- Run antivirus and malware scans.
- Watch installations carefully for hidden or additional programs and permissions.
Here are the top low-cost/free software solutions we recommend.
Apache’s OpenOffice is a multiplatform productivity suite. It’s completely free and includes desktop applications like a word processor, a spreadsheet program, a slide-show presentation manager, and a drawing program. There’s also an option to use its database program. OpenOffice is similar to other office suites and works transparently with a variety of file formats, including those in Microsoft Office. It’s currently available in 27 languages. To use it, simply download it and run it on your computer.
G Suite is only available online, so you need an internet connection to use it. There isn’t a desktop option, so computers that aren’t connected to the Internet won’t be able to access it. However, Google reports that it provides everything you need to do your work, all in one package. It works seamlessly with your computer, phone or tablet, and comes with Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar for Business.
Because G Suite is housed in the Cloud, it offers real-time editing and sharing, so multiple users can collaborate on documents at the same time.
G Suite provides professional, ad-free email with 30GB of inbox storage per user. Plus, it’s compatible with Microsoft Outlook and other email clients. You can send email from your business web address (email@example.com) and create group mailing lists like firstname.lastname@example.org. Data migration is easy, so you can import old emails from legacy systems like IBM Notes or Microsoft Exchange.
It comes with advanced administrative controls so you can add and remove users, set up groups, and add security options like 2-step verification and single-sign-on (SSO), from one centralized admin console.
It also provides a Mobile Device Management solution so you can keep your company data secure when it leaves the office. You can easily locate devices, require passwords, and erase data on your remote devices if needed.
Although GSuite does provide 30GB of online storage per user, you have the option of upgrading to their unlimited storage plan for an additional $5 per user per month. If you need help, you can always call their 24/7 live support.
GnuCash is a robust and free tool for personal and small-business accounting. It provides the capability to work in multiple currencies if needed. With it, you can manage your budget, invoices, payroll, taxes and more, much like you can with QuickBooks. Reporting sheets are built into the software to help you compile Profit & Loss Statements and Balance Sheets.
The interface is simple and operates on a ledger system, so it and will be familiar to those who do their banking online. Checking accounts, CDs, stocks and other holdings are listed in a tree along the left side of the screen. Selecting an entry displays more details in a larger pane.
Various commands for actions, reports, and tools are displayed across the top of the screen, making it easy to view spending reports, reconcile checking accounts, and perform other tasks.
GnuCash comes with a tutorial that outlines not only how to use the program, but explains financial terminology as well. A helpful wizard will walk you through the setup process. If you need a free program to keep your small business on track financially, GnuCash is freeware you might want to consider.
Gliffy is diagramming software you can use in your web browser without downloading additional software. It’s similar to Visio except that you access it via the Internet. You do have the ability to view and edit your Visio files in Gliffy.
You can try the full product for 14 days, after that it converts to a free account. This provides you five public files—not just files on your individual account or browser, but visible by anyone. It provides 2MB storage allotment for your files. Most of these files are text-based and don’t take up much space, so you can store a good number of them.
Gliffy is similar to Visio, so if you have old organizational files or flow charts in a Visio format, and you no longer have access to the application, you can pull them up in Gliffy and make updates. This is a robust, simple-to-use, drag-and-drop software program that you can use for your treatment and business planning.
When I Work makes it easy to schedule, manage attendance, and communicate with your staff via your Android devices and PCs. You can notify your staff instantly about their work schedule via text, email, and web notifications. Now you don’t need a separate time clock or written forms for employees to sign in and out of work. They can log in from their mobile phones, tablet or computers, or you can set up a workstation for this.
When I Work is free for up to 75 users, and there’s no expiration date. There’s a paid version for larger healthcare providers. It enables online scheduling and team messaging, so employees can communicate seamlessly. It also integrates with major payroll solutions like QuickBooks and GnuCash, and has the ability to track and monitor overtime hours to keep your employees from being overworked. As you know, if this happens, patient care starts to suffer.
PracticeSuite is a practice management, electronic health record (EHR) and patient management platform that’s suitable for medical practices and third-party medical- billing companies of all sizes.
It’s cloud-based so you will need an internet connection to access it. You can use patient-oriented features like scheduling, billing (it communicates with accounting software), patient outreach, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), patient kiosks and patient portals to engage patients and streamline patient flow.
The EHR allows your clinicians and teams to manage clinical measures, health maintenance and comes with flexible charting tools. The EHR has nationwide connectivity to labs, pharmacies, the patient portal and Health Information Exchange (HIE) networks.
The cloud-based system is also suitable for medical billing (RCM) companies. Design details like the multi-practice dashboard help companies perform business tasks across practices, claims, ERAs, denials, appeals and monitor practice-specific performance Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
It is limited in the number of insurance claims you can make each month (25). So, this software is suited for small healthcare practices. No government providers are included in the starter program (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare).
PracticeSuite’s pricing is a per-provider subscription and includes a dedicated success coach, training, and support. PracticeSuite also offers online review and patient-service tools. If you need a more robust solution, the unlimited version is only $195 per provider per month. And you’ll have access to the government providers.
Bittle is a great option for your KPI reports. This software helps you track your productivity indicators. It’s a Business Intelligence solution with a lot of reporting options, operates in the cloud, and can help you manage your business activities.
Bittle allows you to create online dashboards and reports quickly and simply, so you can effectively manage your organization’s business activity. Whether that activity is in Marketing, Sales, HR, Finance, Purchasing or IT, Bittle will help you to keep track of your metrics, and no technical IT skills are required.
Bittle is free with no expiration for 10,000 lines of data, and it will integrate with the SQL databases that power your EMRs. You can connect it to your health-management software, accounting software, and your employee time-tracking software depending upon what you use. Bittle also offers flexible options for integrating other sources.
You’ll have unlimited metrics and can update them as many times as you like, with 50 views per month. It comes with tutorials, chat and email support as well.
GDS ChartViewer was developed specifically to help healthcare practices manage their legacy data without worrying about the cost of hiring a third party or maintaining the hardware, software, and licensing for old EHR systems. GDS ChartViewer allows you to export patient data from their GE Centricity™ Practice Solution (CPS) or Centricity™ EMR (CEMR), and store it on an encrypted storage device. This lets you adhere to legacy requirements without having to implement large-scale archiving.
ChartViewer comes in stand-alone and integrated versions. It’s fully encrypted and searchable, so it’s HIPAA compliant. You can easily move exported data into your new EHR as needed. It can run on any system or server that uses a 64-bit Microsoft Operating System. It’s very portable and allows you to store legacy data in very small file sizes. This gives you the flexibility to use ChartViewer in whatever way is most convenient for you.
Pricing isn’t available, but you can go to this link to learn more.
FreePrintableMedicalForms.com is just what it says it is. It offers 555 free, printable medical forms and charts that you can download and print. Choose from forms for personal use, medical diaries and journals, forms for medical offices, forms for schools and day care centers, and more.
Or, you can download customizable versions for just $3.99. (Or download the entire collection for $47) Click on a template, download it, and it’s ready to go. Or, choose the customizable option and add your practice logo, contact information, or tweak the forms fields, or more. There are editable forms to download. Each form is in a Word format that’s easy to edit.
There’s no expiration—Once you download the form, it belongs to you.
CoverMyMeds streamlines the medication prior-authorization process, electronically connecting providers, pharmacists, and plan/PBMs to improve time-to-therapy and decrease prescription abandonment with electronic prior authorization (ePA).
If you do a lot of drug priorizations, this software is a life saver. It’s very well designed and easy to use. Just type in a the first few letters of a medication and you’ll be provided a complete list to choose from.
CoverMyMeds is free to any healthcare provider with a valid NPI. It gives you access to prior-authorization forms for all drugs for most insurance providers. And, you can submit these forms electronically in most cases, and communicate with specialists, pharmacists, and others involved in the prior authorization. This saves a lot of time, effort, stress and wrestling with fax machines!
Business-wise for promoting your healthcare practice, WIX is a free/ low-cost website builder. You don’t need to know anything about building websites to use it. You can have a professional-looking website up in an afternoon!
The Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) can instantly build a professional-looking website that comes complete with text, images and more. All you do is answer a few simple questions and Wix does the rest.
There’s a free option where you register your site with a Wix address, or a low-cost option if you want to register your own domain. Costs vary depending on what level of storage and service you choose, but you can spend as little as $6 and have a professional-looking social media presence.
There are thousands of comprehensive templates to choose from, and you can upload your personal photos and logo to make your website reflect who you are and what you do.
If you have some web experience, but not the budget to do what you want, Wix has SEO controls, lots of plug-ins, and other facets that you’ll be happy with.
Buffer is an easy way to schedule posts, track the performance of your content, and manage all your social media accounts in one place. Social media is everyone’s way of keeping in touch today, including healthcare practices and patients. It lets you schedule 10 posts at once, at the times you choose. It integrates with all the major social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You are allowed one account per social platform.
Buffer also gives you the ability to analyze your post-reach and activities, so you can see how people are interacting with your sites. Do they like what you say, share it with others, leaving comments, or are they trying to get in contact with you? All of this is readily available for you to see on your Buffer profile. Buffer is actually easier to use than some of the social media sites themselves!