Comprehensive Consulting for Mental Health and Wellness Professionals in Private Practice

 

Hello | My Account | Login
Our blog

The Blog

Occasional insights, inspirations, and recommendations for practice taming.

 

Office Ally - Review

Office Ally - Review

Office Ally
www.officeally.com

Ratings:   Features – 4   GUI/UX – 2   Work Flow – 3   Learning Curve - 2   Support – U
Features:   Groups - Y   Scheduling - Y   Notes - Y   E-Filing - Y   Billing - Y   Client Portal - Y
Price:   Free to $29.95 and up

 

Pros:   Price, Feature Rich, Integrated Clearinghouse
Cons:  Fragmented Interface, Limited Notes

It Might Be A Good Choice For Practices That: Have price as a primary concern and not concerned with the learning curve.

Standout Features: Integrated clearinghouse, Price

This is a review in progress more than most of the others. Many of the features one might want in a Practice Management System are present in the free version of the OfficeAlly product (Practice Mate). The pieces that aren't there can be found in Patient Ally (Client Portal) and EHR 24/7 (More refined EHR features). 

Practice Mate is very focused on the billing/clearinghouse side of the practice. It does allow you to collect client demographic data as well as track sessions and complete rudimentary session notes (a single text field). The interface could use some refinement, but is pretty good for something that is free, especially since it includes unlimited electronic claims filing.
The Client Portal is problematic. Because Patient Ally is a separate product, there is a multi-step process to activate a new client's account. I believe that many clients would find the process tedious and even difficult to understand. Once they are set up, there is some nice functionality, however the interface is not particularly friendly.

Update 6/7/2013  It's been some time since I had hoped to provide a more thorough update on the EHR 24/7 piece of Office Ally.  I've taken several opportunities over the last several weeks to log in and take another look.  Unfortunately, the quick conclusion I always come to is "convoluted and medical centric".  I suppose at this price point, it will be attractive to some.  Unfortunately, until Office Ally comes up with a way to integrate their applications and improve the interface, there is just too much time and cost savings to be had by using a different application.

Full List of Reviews

Rob Reinhardt, LPC, PA

Rob is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice and
owner of Tame Your Practice, which provides comprehensive
consulting to mental health and wellness professionals.

©2012 Rob Reinhardt, LPC, PA 

Share This: 

Comments

Stephanie 's picture
Submitted by Stephanie on Tue, 06/25/2013 - 23:43

Hi. I am an Office Ally user, strictly for electronic claim submission. I don't know that I have a BAA with them. Do I need one?

Rob Reinhardt's picture
Submitted by Rob Reinhardt on Wed, 06/26/2013 - 09:16

Hi Stephanie,

In order to file electronic claims (a HIPAA covered transaction) through Office Ally, you are sharing PHI with them, making them a Business Associate. Therefore, HIPAA requires that you have a BAA with them. Some vendors incorporate their BAA into their terms of service, but I've often found those aren't very up to date. With all the changes from the Omnibus rule this year, I'd encourage you to have an attorney with expertise in HIPAA look over any BAA you sign and/or fashion one that you can present to vendors to sign.

Stephanie H's picture
Submitted by Stephanie H on Wed, 06/26/2013 - 13:05

Rob,
Thank you very much. Had I not come across your site in my quest to find practice management software, I'm not sure I would know any of this. And, I'm not sure how I missed it.
I have another question -- what about credit card processing? Our office uses Elavon. We may have some type of BAA with them, I don't know yet. Would we need one? It seems like we would. This is all quite disconcerting, but I'm glad to be learning it.
Thanks again -- your site is very, very helpful!

Rob Reinhardt's picture
Submitted by Rob Reinhardt on Wed, 06/26/2013 - 13:25

Banks and other financial institutions/transactions are exempt from HIPAA. So you don't need a BAA with your bank, nor with a merchant account who simply processes credit card transactions for you.

I feel a blog post coming on!

Stephanie H's picture
Submitted by Stephanie H on Wed, 06/26/2013 - 13:40

Phew! That's one less thing to remedy. : )

Ann's picture
Submitted by Ann on Fri, 07/05/2013 - 20:46

I was trying to better understand BAA and HIPAA and noticed that the HHS website states that a "Healthcare Clearinghouse" is considered a covered entity. Office Ally describes itself as a clearinghouse and seems to fit the description of a healthcare clearinghouse given on the HHS website. In my read, it doesn't seem as if a BAA is required for covered entities. Am I missing something?

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/index...

Rob Reinhardt's picture
Submitted by Rob Reinhardt on Fri, 07/05/2013 - 21:00

Hi Ann,

HIPAA entities can take on different roles depending on the transaction that is taking place. Yes, it is true that a clearinghouse can be a Covered Entity. In the case, however, where you are a health care provider utilizing Office Ally to process Covered Transactions, you are the Covered Entity and they are the Business Associate and you'll need a BAA.

You can read about this more in detail in Part Two of my series on these systems

Jennifer's picture
Submitted by Jennifer on Tue, 09/17/2013 - 19:34

Rob, Do you have an example of a BAA that you are willing to share?

Rob Reinhardt's picture
Submitted by Rob Reinhardt on Tue, 09/17/2013 - 19:49

Hi Jennifer,

You can find an example of a BAA at the Department of Health and Human Services web site:
http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/contr...

I'm not an attorney and I strongly encourage for everyone to have their own attorney review any BAA they use to ensure completeness and compliance.

rpmdoran's picture
Submitted by rpmdoran on Mon, 12/02/2013 - 19:06

I have used the Office Ally Clearinghouse for billing for years, without using the accounting program, and I was satisfied given that it is free. Recently I started using the accounting program, and I added the HER which has a reasonable fee. I have been struggling with both for about two months now, and I have the following comments. This program is absolutely oriented towards MD's a dnot psychologists. The learning curve is very steep, and a lot of extra steps are required frequently. If I had not already spent way too much time on getting the templates to work for me, and set up my own database of phrases I use for EHR's, I would not go through OfficeAlly. Again, it is a good clearinghouse, but the "bells and whistles" are very user unfriendly, and especially unfriendly to psychologists.

rpmdoran's picture
Submitted by rpmdoran on Mon, 12/02/2013 - 19:07

I have used the Office Ally Clearinghouse for the clearninghouse features for years, without using the accounting program, and I was satisfied given that it is free. Recently I started using the accounting program, and I added the HER which has a reasonable fee. I have been struggling with both for about two months now, and I have the following comments. This program is absolutely oriented towards MD's a dnot psychologists. The learning curve is very steep, and a lot of extra steps are required frequently. If I had not already spent way too much time on getting the templates to work for me, and set up my own database of phrases I use for EHR's, I would not go through OfficeAlly. Again, it is a good clearinghouse, but the "bells and whistles" are very user unfriendly, and especially unfriendly to psychologists.

Rob Reinhardt's picture
Submitted by Rob Reinhardt on Mon, 12/02/2013 - 20:04

Thank you for sharing your experiences with Office Ally's EHR. It's invaluable for readers to here a variety of perspectives on the programs. Your experience definitely echos what I've seen of their EHR, and what I've heard about their clearinghouse functionality.

Pages

Add new comment


Note: Anonymous comments are moderated. To better make and track comments, you may create an account.
Read our policies: Comment Policy Terms of Service Privacy Policy