For over 22 years, the Physicians and Midwives Collaborative has provided convenient, compassionate care to women of Northern Virginia. Today, this OB-GYN practice handles 75,000 visits annually out of five offices, and has successfully joined Advantia Health, a rapidly growing management services organization (MSO) focused on women’s health services
In 2014, Physicians and Midwives (P&M) was at a turning point. They had successfully transitioned to an electronic health record system and centralized their business operations but were not satisfied with their technology vendor. The vendor’s patient portal wasn’t adequate for their dynamic patient community. There were no tools to support the practice through the growth it wanted to achieve.
Practice partners also felt the vendor’s software posed too much of a risk. “We were recognizing the limitations of our vendor,” says John Killeen, CEO, Physicians and Midwives Collaborative. “We lost a lot of sleep worrying about the server going down.”
A new ‘backbone’ helps the practice achieve many goals
P&M made the switch to athenahealth in 2014. To P&M, one of the most appealing aspects of athenaOne, athenahealth’s suite of medical record, revenue cycle management, and patient engagement services, is how it supports their patient-centered philosophy as well as their long-term growth and financial wellbeing.
“We are always looking for ways to meet the needs of our patients,” says Killeen. “athenahealth is the backbone that helps our practice evolve in a coordinated way while maintaining an excellent patient experience.”
In 2018, the practice joined Advantia Health, a multistate network of women’s healthcare providers. Dr. David C. Giammittorio, chairman of the Physicians and Midwives Collaborative board, believes that being an athena client gives them the technology and services they need to be one of the highest performing practices in Advantia’s network.
Convenience for the patient, peace of mind for the practice with cloud-based services
The practice relies on athena’s services to provide a seamless care experience across multiple offices and a hospital. “Our practice prioritizes the needs of patients,” says Dr. Giammittorio. “athena’s cloud-based services allow our providers to care for patients wherever they are.” He adds that having a cloud-based technology solution provides peace of mind. “We don’t have to worry about servers,” says Dr. Giammittorio. “athena is far superior to an underthe-desk product.”
The practice implemented athena’s patient portal to offer patients easy access to providers, health information, and appointments. “Patients can access information anytime, anywhere,” says Dr. Giammittorio. “Our portal adoption rate is at 93 percent. That tells us we are meeting patients’ expectations about engaging with them online.”
In fact, the practice has been able to transform scheduling and eliminate waitlists at the practice. “We can schedule appointments 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says Dr. Giammittorio. “A patient can see us the same day, the next day, or any time she chooses.”
Streamlined billing workflows and 24/7 support drive strong revenue performance
In addition to providing convenient, compassionate care, the practice is keen to streamline revenue workflows and better manage their billing. “We’re dedicated to customer service,” says Dr. Giammittorio. “But we’re also dedicated to getting paid for what we do. We think athena really shines in that area.”
For example, with athena’s services, P&M has simplified workflows for billing employees and is getting paid faster. “athena’s revenue cycle solution is remarkable,” says Dr. Giammittorio. “They helped us achieve an average DAR of just 18 days, which is lower than similar practices on the athena network.”
Part of their strong financial performance is due to the fact that athena performs billing tasks at scale on behalf of clients, so practices can delegate a significant amount of administrative work. “athena’s shared work model helps our billing team stay focused and productive, even with staff turnover,” says Killeen. P&M leadership points out how helpful it is that athena’s Rules Engine and staff members are working 24/7 to get claims cleaned, submitted, and paid.
Documentation and clinical workflows get efficient
P&M clinicians enjoy athenaClinicals, athena’s EHR, because it intuitively organizes the patient visit so that documentation is faster and more accurate. On average, 88 percent of P&M clinicians close encounters on the same day. “athena was the first EHR that I’ve encountered that helps me complete my day instead of adding to my day,” says Dr. Giammittorio.
In addition, quality reporting is built into the EHR workflow, which means the practice can report certain measures without extra data entry. “Now that we’re part of Advantia, we’re starting to look pretty hard at quality metrics,” says Tessa Miller, senior practice management associate. “Our clinicians appreciate that some of those metrics are built into the workflow, so they get recorded in the background during a visit. Our practice is able to do pretty well on measures such as cervical cancer screening without added work.”
Making ongoing improvements with insight into performance
P&M has visibility into practice performance so they can easily target improvements. “athena’s reporting is incredibly helpful, useful, and customizable,” says Miller. “We track key performance indicators daily, weekly, and monthly, and use that information to help P&M get better.”
Killeen agrees that athena makes it easy for the practice to use performance data. “We believe that what gets measured, gets done,” he says. “athena allows us to really look inside our numbers, whether it’s an individual provider’s efficiency or our days in accounts receivable and see where we need to improve.”
“Growing from a place of strength and continuity” with the right support in place
With athena’s services, this OB-GYN practice is on track to expand by 30 percent. “We’re planning to add office space and providers, as well as services like telemedicine and behavioral health,” says Killeen. “With athena, we are growing from a place of strength and continuity. We don’t have multiple systems to worry about. We have a single foundation that can support us as we move forward.”
The practice also benefits from athena’s unique approach to customer support. Every client has a dedicated Customer Success Manager (CSM) to help them get the most out of athena’s services. “The relationship we have with our CSM has helped us navigate and accelerate our growth,” says Killeen. P&M works with their CSM to identify needs and develop solutions. For example, the practice is testing a new scheduling tool and is implementing a new application for more accurate patient collections.
“athena is central to everything that we do,” says Dr. Giammittorio. “If you want to be a great practice, having athena is very important.”
We are passionate about convenient, compassionate care. To make that work, our practice needs systems, processes, and pathways that make information available to the right person at the right time. That’s what athena does for us.
— Dr. David C Giammittorio, Chairman of the Physicians and Midwife Collaborative board