it’s a win-win
Griffin Faculty Physicians | Derby, Connecticut

  • Female Dr and male nurse

    69 physicians, surgeons, specialists

  • Female nurse red hair

    19 nurse practitioners

  • ILLO_Medical-bag-Purple_DGT_3

    11 medical specialties

  • Glob and purple location pin

    18 offices throughout Connecticut

Challenges

  • Staff spent up to an hour per authorization on the phone
  • Staff frequently worked late to finish tasks that were delayed due to authorizations
  • Time spent on authorizations undermined the patient experience
  • Staff strain and burnout

Solutions

  • athenaOne®
  • athenaOne® Authorization Management

Results

  • 650 hours/month saved of prior authorization work
  • Higher efficiency allows for increased patient volume
  • Happier staff and reduced risk of after-hours work

Griffin Faculty Physicians is a fast-growing, multi-specialty medical group in southwestern Connecticut. The practice began in 2008 with 12 internal medicine physicians and in 12 years has surged to almost 90 practitioners. However, with this growth comes a substantial increase in patient volume, along with an increased demand for critical and time-consuming administration tasks. Obtaining prior authorizations from insurance companies for services such as imaging or surgeries is among the most burdensome. Across the organization, Griffin may need to obtain 200,000 authorizations in a month. Until recently, that meant an average of 650 staff hours collectively spent waiting on the phone each month with insurance companies.

Time-management efficiencies foster office productivity

Joanna Vagueiro, senior electronic medical records coordinator, has worked at the practice for more than a decade and sees a huge impact in her day-to-day thanks to adding athenaOne® Authorization Management. “Some of our staff would be on the phone for probably a good half hour, even more, just to get an authorization for an MRI,” she said.

Time spent obtaining authorizations was putting strain on staff across the organization. Employees who were processing authorizations were also scheduling surgeries, checking patients in and out, answering phones, and tending to other high-priority office tasks. “Now, we’re definitely making better use of our time – just based on the simple fact that we’re not on the phone for over an hour” said Vagueiro of adding Authorization Management.

Vagueiro’s colleague on the medical records team, Alexandra (Sandra) Lopez, underscored how the “huge time-saver” also gives staff more bandwidth to work with providers on patient care. It also saved them from having to stay late and potentially getting burned out because they were able to perform other work during daytime hours.

Less time with insurance companies means more time for patients

athenaOne® Authorization Management also has positively impacted the patient experience, said Lopez. Patients no longer have to wait for staff to process authorizations or gather information. Vagueiro explained that the number of on-hold phone calls has been reduced. There are also other benefits. “The service definitely gives staff time to check patients in seamlessly and faster. Which allows providers to see more patients” — introducing an opportunity to increase profitability.

Vagueiro reports that her work-life is also much easier because training providers, office coordinators, and medical assistants on the process is simple. “They understand it right away and say ‘Oh, wow, this is so, so easy.’ ”

She and the rest of Griffin Faculty Physicians are happy with the results. Providers and staff are more efficient and less stressed, and patients get more attention. “To me it’s a win-win situation,” said Vagueiro.

We’re definitely making better use of our time – just based on the simple fact that we’re not on the phone for over an hour.

— Joanna Vaguerio, Senior Electronic Medical Records Coordinator, Griffin Faculty Physicians

* These results reflect the experience of one particular organization and are not necessarily what every athenahealth customer should expect.