Dr. Mohammad Q. Khan’s office at Independent Physicians of Wisconsin doesn’t take appointments. Instead, patients walk in for treatment. While his colleagues rely on scheduling, every provider at the practice needs streamlined workflows and user-friendly technology to work efficiently, provide excellent care, and optimize revenue. Yet their healthcare IT solution, athenaPractice , was frustrating to use. Quality reporting fell behind expectations. Outsourced billing led to issues with reporting transparency that decreased profitability. As a result, Khan and his colleagues felt they couldn’t bring new providers to the practice and plan for growth. They were too distracted focusing on day-to-day challenges.
The practice makes a prompt and profitable transition
When they decided to implement athenaOne, a cloud-based suite of EHR, revenue cycle management, and patient engagement services, Dr. Khan anticipated a months-long process because of his experiences during a previous technology conversion. Independent Physicians proactively took out a half-million-dollar line of credit to cover an expected drop in patient volume during the transition. But they never had to use it.
Two weeks after going live on athenaOne, most providers were back to their full appointment volume. “After six weeks, our revenue hit 60 percent of where we were with our previous system,” says Dr. Khan. “After two and a half months, it was back to 100 percent. We didn’t have to use that line of credit at all.”
Dr. Khan is pleased with how fast the billing capabilities are and the speed at which revenue started coming in. Since implementation, he estimates that athenaOne has boosted collections by 1.5 percent—what he calls a “significant amount.”
Goodbye to an EHR that slows providers down
Dr. Khan and his colleagues had a long list of problems with their previous EHR. It required multiple logins. The text size was small and character count was limited. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to read my notes once I entered them,” says Dr. Khan. “So I kept my HPIs really short.”
Providers had to click through multiple screens. “I was not able to check a patient’s diagnoses while writing the HPI,” says Dr. Khan. “I had to close that window, go to the problem list, and then back to the previous window.”
After implementing athenaOne, Dr. Khan noticed was how easy it was to navigate patient visits. “With athenaOne, there is no text limit. I see and enter exactly what I need without clicking around,” says Dr. Khan. “I can use dictation, typing, templates and text macros. No matter how many patients I see, I always complete my notes the same day.”
Every customer on athenaOne is part of a single network for a consistent and constantly updated experience. “Network updates happen in the background without disruption,” says Dr. Khan. “The updates are always intuitive, like changing the color of alerts.” And athenaOne is accessible 24/7 from home, in the office, or on a mobile device.
With streamlined workflow and user-friendly interfaces, “athena has made it possible for me to spend more time with patients,” says Dr. Khan. “And I can be more thorough. That’s why I feel very satisfied with athena. I don’t think my experience could be any better.”
The patient experience improves, too
athenaOne gives the practice the ability to communicate with patients in the way they prefer—via telephone, email, or text message. Recently, the practice started outreach campaigns for preventive care. “athena makes it easy for us to generate personalized automatic reminders,” says Dr. Khan. The practice can then track how many patient visits resulted from the outreach.
Modernized patient communication is especially helpful during a crisis. “When COVID-19 started, we wanted to send a message to our patients that please, if you have symptoms, call us before you come in,” says Dr. Khan. “It took minutes to start that campaign. It was very easy.”
Dr. Khan estimates that he can see an additional four or five patients a day because of his new efficiency. “I work fast, but I want to make sure that I review everything—labs, quality measures, vaccinations, previous visit notes, hospital visits and any new documents,” he says. “I label and address suspect conditions. With athenaOne I can do all of that within two or three minutes.”
Integrated solution and robust reporting lead to stronger revenue
Before athena, it was difficult to understand where Independent Physicians stood financially. “We never knew what we had billed or received,” says Dr. Khan. “We would get rejected claims months after a visit. It was hard to fix at that point.” athenaOne provides real-time insights into both clinical and financial performance, so the practice can easily see where they are doing well and where they need to follow up. “athena gives us peace of mind since everything we need to know is on our dashboard,” says Dr. Khan. “It’s much easier to track payments and take action right away when needed.”
Since athenaOne is a fully integrated solution, all relevant data is visible when it’s needed. Dr. Khan regularly checks a patient’s billing history from the exam room. “With one click I know what I billed last time, and what I got paid,” he says. “That’s important.”
It’s also much easier to generate numbers for quality programs. Dr. Khan and his colleagues have instant access to quality-related indicators, such as how many wellness exams were performed in a certain time frame and where they stand on merit-based incentive payment systems (MIPS) measures. And they can track individual provider performance and provide targeted support when needed.
athenaOne has also dramatically improved the practice’s billing for Title 19 patients. “The reimbursement for certain Title 19 annual physical exams is very low,” says Dr. Khan. “But we need to complete them in order to take care of our patients and meet quality program requirements.” athenaOne automatically submits Title 19 visits with an appropriate modifier to reflect the full extent of the visit. “That results in better care for the patient and a better payment for the practice,” says Dr. Khan. athenaOne also allows the practice to track time for Medicare billing and more efficiently fulfill Medicare-related billing requirements.
Sustainable growth lies ahead
Because of their success with athenaOne’s scalable platform, the practice has added six new doctors in the past 18 months. “Our new doctors are very comfortable with athenaOne,” says Dr. Khan. “They got up and running within a short timeframe.” He said he is confident that the practice will continue to thrive, building upon a foundation of efficiency, profitability, and excellent patient care.
I spend more time with patients. Our collections have increased, and we are growing. I don’t think my experience with athena could be any better.
– Dr. Mohammad Q. Khan, Independent Physicians of Wisconsin