A team approach to EHR transition
An Ohio practice enhances customization and care with athenaOne®
In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for organizations to ensure the best patient care and overall operational efficiency. With myriad innovations and consistent, ongoing updates making EHR solutions increasingly comprehensive, some practices are re-evaluating their current platforms and asking a pivotal question: Is it time to transition to something new? For the clinical and administrative staff at Anderson Hills Pediatrics, the answer was “yes.”
Anderson Hills Pediatrics found themselves at a crossroads when they began succession planning for the retirement of the physician who had previously led EHR customizations. Not only was the person most familiar with their system preparing to leave but also the servers supporting the EHR solution were approaching their end of life. They would need to be soon replaced or upgraded. In addition, over the years, the practice had accumulated various disparate platforms to address specific care elements, such as a patient portal and communication tools. Paired with the looming server expiration and loss of on-staff EHR expertise, the organization felt it was an opportune time to explore an opportunity to consolidate systems into one efficient, cohesive, and cloud-based EHR solution.
“We felt like we had a perfect storm brewing,” said Kaley Meadows, practice administrator at Anderson Hills Pediatrics, a two-location, 12-physician practice just outside Cincinnati, OH.
Rather than wait out the storm, Meadows and her team took the opportunity to research leading-edge EHR solutions and meet with other local pediatric practices to learn more about their successes and recommendations.
“There was one comparable practice that utilized athenaOne and really sold it,” Meadows said. “Ultimately, we felt like athenaOne was giving us the bells and whistles that we were looking for, which allowed for the consolidations of different platforms we wanted to see.”
Enhanced interoperability: a game-changer for providers
One of the key benefits that Meadows highlighted was the enhanced interoperability available with athenaOne. The platform’s ability to integrate various aspects of patient care — from clinical workflows to billing and reporting — significantly improved communication and data exchange among different departments. This seamless connectivity allowed providers to collaborate more effectively and achieve better patient outcomes.
We can receive much more information about what happens outside our office, whether a referral or a discharge summary on a patient that went to the emergency room or urgent care. Knowing those things allows us to provide far more comprehensive care.”
Moreover, Meadows said the transition to athenaOne allowed the physicians to retain their individuality in workflows while still achieving a common outcome: “They can each document their encounters in a way that fits their style, yet gets to the same endpoint,” she added.
Physicians as advocates
Once Anderson Hills Pediatrics decided on athenaOne, it was time to plan implementation, and provider involvement was a huge element of its transition plan. Prior to going live, the practice paused clinic hours to run through various patient visit scenarios with physicians and staff. This gave them the opportunity to experience athenaOne first hand and to customize the way they interacted with the EHR solution.
“I think that was really eye-opening before that go-live process happened so that they knew where some hiccups were going to be, some additional considerations for builds, or even identifying how some of the physicians would like to use documentation differently,” Meadows said.
This active involvement of stakeholders during the build phase fostered tailor-made system configurations aligned with unique workflows. Including “super users” from various departments also ensured a holistic implementation approach. This strategy fortified engagement and facilitated a harmonious transition.
Anytime you transition from an EHR, it is a scary thing, especially for individuals that have maybe known nothing else. Key stakeholders engaged in the process in advance is huge, not only for the transition going into it, but also for the success in the time to follow afterwards.
“We felt like any time you transition from an EHR, it is a scary thing, especially for individuals who have only known one system” Meadows said. Having that engagement is huge, not only for the transition going into it but also for the success in the time to follow afterwards.”
Support every step of the way
The success of any EHR transition depends on the support provided to the organization and the medical staff during the implementation process. Meadows emphasized that having a specialized Customer Success Manager (CSM) with expertise in pediatrics was invaluable.
“Having someone that knows the ins and outs of pediatrics and works with other pediatrics practices consistently is incredibly, incredibly helpful — not only so that we can share as a whole, but because they really understand our book of business,” she said.
athenahealth’s continuous support, including brainstorming sessions and a proactive approach to address challenges allowed Anderson Hills Pediatrics to achieve their goals and optimize their workflows further. The CSM’s involvement in the build phase and post-implementation period demonstrated a commitment to the practice’s success.
“Our CSM is fantastic at conferencing with us consistently for brainstorming sessions where we’re trying to figure out how to do something new or take something that’s very manual for our workflow make that completely automated,” Meadows said. “Those are highly valuable conversations and meetings that we have, and I never expected to have that level of support as we made this transition.”
Embracing the change
Anderson Hills Pediatrics’ evolution to athenaOne epitomizes the multifaceted advantages inherent in embracing comprehensive healthcare solutions. Amplified interoperability facilitated streamlined workflows, rendering operational consolidation a reality. The provider-centric experience, characterized by customizable workflows, garnered widespread enthusiasm.
Immediate tangible impacts were realized under the attentive guidance of a dedicated customer success manager, effectively elevating the practice’s operational efficiency. Ultimately, early stakeholder involvement and an adaptable mindset ensured a seamless transition.
By embracing athenaOne, Anderson Hills Pediatrics not only acquired a tailored solution but also fortified their capacity to deliver superior patient care, optimize operational efficiency, and flourish in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. The journey of Anderson Hills Pediatrics underscores the transformative power of comprehensive healthcare solutions, charting a course toward a future imbued with innovation and excellence.
Now that Anderson Hills Pediatrics has fully transitioned to athenaOne, Meadows is excited about what lies ahead: “Now I feel like we’ve moved to the fun phase in which we’re constantly finding ways to do things better and further leverage athenaOne.”