Microsoft Corp. and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) have announced a software guide resulting from a study of nine practice management systems used in doctors’ offices, to help doctors identify the most appropriate software for use in their practice. Practice management software is designed to increase efficiencies by automating billing, insurance claims, appointments and other office tasks. By implementing practice management software solutions, doctors will be able to spend more time caring for their patients.

The initiative was announced on Friday, April 26, during the AAFP’s Annual Leadership Forum in Kansas City, Mo., by Dr. Warren A. Jones, president of the AAFP. "We developed this initiative with Microsoft as a response to requests from our physician members to help them evaluate and select software for their medical practices," Jones said. "The goals of this initiative are to give physicians confidence that these solutions and vendors have been carefully evaluated by the AAFP and Microsoft. By taking the guesswork out of such a complicated decision, we help doctors focus on what they are trained to do -- provide high-quality patient care."

The practice management software was evaluated based on needs and requirements of family physicians. The AAFP and Microsoft established criteria for the evaluations that included the following:

The quality of the software functionality and how well it meets the needs of family physicians;
The quality of the software’s technical architecture, as well as its reliability and use of industry technology standards;
Customer satisfaction with the software; and
The financial viability of each vendor in a challenging economic environment.

"It can be a bewildering task for physicians and their office staff to select the right technology and software for a medical practice," said Ahmad Hashem, M.D., Ph.D., global healthcare industry manager at Microsoft. "The AAFP and Microsoft wanted to help physicians by providing them with a benchmark evaluation of products that makes it easy to review software for their practice."

The AAFP and Microsoft plan to continue to evaluate medical practice software and to issue ongoing reports to family physicians. For more information about the Academy of American Family Physicians click here to visit www.aafp.org.