- Located in Moorpark, CA
- 2 physicians
- 1 medical assistant
- 300 patient visits per month and growing
- Required swift, accurate payment of claims and bills to survive
- Had to engage and develop patient base to grow practice
- No-show rate was costing practice revenue
- Staff time consumed by answering phone, patient paperwork
- Desire to grow practice without adding staff
- Medical Billing
- Patient Engagement
Turning his vision into a reality, however, was another thing entirely. Dr. Rosaasen looked at many systems, none of which met his needs and many of which required an upfront investment of $50,000-$100,000. Then the business manager at a hospital, who knew many physicians in private practice, recommended athenahealth. Dr. Rosaasen was immediately impressed with several things about athenahealth's medical billing, EHR, and patient communication. services. They were cloud-based, which he saw as innovative and forward-thinking. They were integrated, which ensured that his EHR would play well with his business solution. They were CCHIT-certified. They included full-scale document management services—which, he calculated, would save him one full staff member.
Implementation went smoothly, not only because Dr. Rosaasen was willing to sit down and experiment with the system, but also because the system was easy to navigate and athenahealth offered the training and support they required. "Mandy and I did the online training. And as we worked with the system, whenever we had a problem we could get the answers quickly by contacting athenahealth's Client Service Center, usually waiting less than five minutes for a solution."
Starting out with athenaCollector and athenaClinicals, Moorpark Family Medicine achieved low DAR and a high first-pass resolution rate, made timely collections, offloaded paperwork, and enhanced its patient workflow to make its small staff more efficient. Impressed with athenahealth, and eager to develop their patient base, the Rosaasens were enthusiastic when they were approached to be a pilot implementation for athenaCommunicator, athenahealth's on-demand, automated, and live patient communication service. "What's nice about athenahealth is that every time we figure out something that could improve the efficiency of what we do, they've already thought of it or are in the process of implementing it."
Before the patient web portal elements of athenaCommunicator were available, the practice started by using ReminderCallSM to let patients know about upcoming appointments. "ReminderCall just took a load off of us having to call and remind people. Our no-show rate2 was 3.9% for December, 2.4% for January, and is always under 5%. The best part is that patients can cancel or reschedule before the day of the appointment, leaving spaces open in the schedule for walk-in/sick visits that are inevitable and definitely needed."
The practice also began using athenaCommunicator's self-pay reminder service to remind patients about payments due, which gently nudged patients toward quicker payment.
As Moorpark Family Medicine developed, athenaCommunicator developed along with it. athenahealth built a secure online patient web portal with the look and feel of the practice's website, which enables patients to request appointments and prescription refills, complete paperwork, communicate with the office, make payments, and so on.
The practice is able to give patients secure access to test results via the patient web portal, when the results are normal or don't require explanation. ResultsCallSM generates an e-mail or automated phone call that lets patients know how to securely retrieve the results. "This saves us the time it would take to make all those calls," says Dr. Rosaasen. "I've always believed that patients should have full access to their information, so it's good to have a system where the physician can choose whether or not to use that feature."
The patient web portal even enables the practice to get standard paperwork done before an appointment. It allows patients to fill out and fax documents such as the registration form, health questionnaire, treatment consent, medical information release, and advance directive. "The web portal allows our patients to go online and do our front-office tasks," says Dr. Rosaasen.
The practice also takes advantage of athenaCommunicator's live operator services. "The last frontier of what holds us back in the office is answering the phone," says Dr. Rosaasen. "We're working with athenahealth on developing our use of the operator service. Right now, athenahealth's live operators are assisting us after hours and responding to our patients who get reminder calls and ask to reschedule, which frees us up for other tasks."
Finally, the practice has used GroupCallSM in conjunction with e-mail campaigns to encourage patients to get flu shots and inform them about the advantages of using the practice's patient web portal. This was far less expensive than sending mailers via the postal service. "We saw a significant uptick in both flu shot requests and use of the portal as a result of GroupCall and e-mails," says Dr. Rosaasen.
"The great thing about working with athenahealth," he says, "is that you're not just buying some piece of software to run in your office. You're part of a team approach, and you benefit from the experience of all the practices that use their solutions, instead of having to learn everything the hard way. I recommend athenahealth to everyone."