Office Ally Review: Free Clearinghouse & Affordable EHR

Office Ally Review: Free Clearinghouse & Affordable EHR

Office Ally Review: Free Clearinghouse & Affordable EHR

Office Ally is ideal for cost-conscious practices that are looking for a free clearinghouse and a budget-friendly EHR that gets the job done.

Office Ally offers a suite of medical software products that are currently used by more than 330,000 medical providers. Though Office Ally is best known for its free clearinghouse, Office Ally also offers other products (including a comprehensive low-cost EHR, a free practice management system, and a free patient portal) that can be used for end-to-end management of your medical practice.

Below, we'll walk you through each of Office Ally's product offerings.

Office Ally Clearinghouse

Price

  • Free.

Office Ally Clearinghouse is Office Ally's flagship product. It's the premier free clearinghouse, and enables users to submit electronic claims to more than 5,000 payers. Typically, clearinghouses make a profit from charging both the providers and the insurance companies when submitting claims. However, Office Ally only charges the insurance companies, which is how it can sustain a free business model. Availity was another popular free clearinghouse similar to Office Ally, but the company has since switched over to a paid model with a monthly subscription fee.

Office Ally Clearinghouse scrubs all of your claims before sending them out, in order to maximize your chances of getting reimbursed. If the system detects any errors, it alerts you and enables you to fix the information directly on the site. You can also track the status of each claim, and resolve rejected claims or address claims that require follow-up.

One nice advantage of Office Ally is that if you already have a practice management solution in place, you can continue to use it alongside Office Ally, since it integrates with many practice management systems. If you aren't already using such a system, Office Ally also offers a free practice management software, Practice Mate, which is covered in more detail below.

A potential shortcoming of Office Ally's clearinghouse is that you'll need to have an experienced biller onsite, since Office Ally doesn't enable you to outsource your billing to them.

Practice Mate

Price

  • Free.

Practice Mate is Office Ally's free web-based practice management system. With Practice Mate, you can create new patients and upload documents to each of their files, schedule appointments, send automatic appointment reminders, and handle accounting/billing. Office Ally also has a free patient portal, Patient Ally, which enables patients to schedule or change appointments online, pay bills, and complete forms.

EHR 24/7

Price

  • $29.95 per month/provider

EHR 24/7 is Office Ally's web-based EHR, which integrates with Office Ally's clearinghouse and practice management system. Since the EHR is integrated with Practice Mate and the clearinghouse, you can take SOAP notes and convert them to electronic bills automatically, and then submit them electronically through the clearinghouse.

Users like how customizable EHR 24/7 is. You can customize progress notes and SOAP notes by creating your own templates. For security purposes, you can also specify read/write access for each provider or staff member, so that they can only see and edit the information that is relevant to their responsibilities.

Although EHR 24/7 gets the job done, there are some features that users feel are lacking. For example, when you route patient progress notes to other staff members for follow-up, you can't add comments on the note to explain why this information is being sent. This requires users to communicate with each other in person or through another medium, in order to provide context and explain what needs to be done. Users also report that Office Ally's servers crash occasionally -- roughly once a month. Since the software is web-based, this means that the software is inaccessible during those times, which can be costly and inconvenient for high-volume practices.

Given that EHR 24/7 is a no-frills, low-cost product, it's most appropriate for smaller offices. If you're looking for specific features for your industry (e.g chiropractic, physical therapy), then you can get additional time-saving functionality by looking at more industry-specific systems. However, these features will typically come at a higher price than EHR 24/7.

Bottom Line

Office Ally is best known for its free clearinghouse, which enables you to send electronic claims to more than 5,000 payers. Office Ally is capable of interfacing with most practice management systems, so if you already have a PMS that you're satisfied with, you can continue to use it while leveraging Office Ally's clearinghouse capabilities.

Office Ally also offers a free practice management system (Practice Mate), and a low-cost EHR (EHR 24/7) that are appropriate for smaller, cost-conscious practices. These no-frills products get the job done, but users report that Office Ally's servers occasionally go down (roughly once a month). These periodic outages may be acceptable for smaller private practices, but they can get costly for larger, high-volume practices. However, for smaller private practices, or practices that are just starting out, Office Ally's fully functional, no-frills system offers a lot of functionality for little to no cost.

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