Sports Medicine North (SMN) provides comprehensive orthopedic care including sports medicine, pain management, total joint replacement and revision, and osteoporosis treatment across six Massachusetts locations.
SMN physicians had trepidation about changing EMRs, given concerns of workflow interruptions. Yet with their lack of integrated EHR and practice management solutions, staff and providers couldn’t easily locate information they needed. And, patients had separate portals for billing and medical records, which led to collection inefficiencies. “Our disparate systems posed challenges that were not sustainable in the long run,” said Jarett Landman, chief operating officer.
IT manager Jennifer Franco added that the practice used their previous EHR “like a repository of data, not like a transactional EHR, meaning we were very behind the curve in terms of interfacing our electronic orders with facilities throughout our health system.” She added that electronic records sharing was done on a case-by-case basis — or not at all — because of the heavy lift. “We were ready for a fully integrated and robust EHR,” said Landman. They decided to implement athenaOne.
Onboarding proved easier than expected
With over 14 years of customizations built into their previous solution, Landman and Franco leveraged athenahealth’s dedicated implementation team to help dovetail SMN’s existing workflows and custom macros directly into athenaOne. This reduced training time and pivoted staff to higher value tasks. “athenaOne quickly became intuitive,” said Franco. “In the first two weeks, everyone figured it out.”
The onboarding process caused minimal disruption. On the first day of going live on athenaOne, SMN reduced patient load by 50 percent. However, it was back to 100 percent capacity on the second day.
One connected, cloud-based network
athenaOne brought all six of SMN’s locations onto a single network and connected them to more than 600 pharmacies, labs, imaging centers, and other healthcare providers across the country. Providers can now easily share records and place orders with local health systems. Thanks to athenaOne’s Billing Rules Engine, SMN seamlessly adapts to new payer rules and evaluation and management coding. And patients now use one customer-centric portal, instead of having to log into separate solutions.
The practice reports a strong ROI with athenaOne due to athenahealth’s shared accountability model. “Some think athena’s percent collections model is more expensive than traditional EHR vendors,” said Landman. “But athenaOne creates significant savings in terms of reducing administrative work and easing the flow of information internally and with external partners.” He adds that “just because you’ve done something a certain way in the past doesn’t mean that athena doesn’t have a better way.” His team believes that the transition to athenaOne is keeping the practice ahead of its peers and ready for any curveball.
Anytime you switch medical record systems, it’s daunting. Our transition to athenaOne was much easier and more intuitive than I anticipated.
— Jarett Landman, chief operating officer, Sports Medicine North