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At a Glance


Through the use of athenahealth's integrated suite of services, all of OrthoAtlanta's physicians have attested to Meaningful Use. In addition, the organization has gained the financial insight needed to support stability and profitability in an ever-changing healthcare landscape.


  • Located in Atlanta, GA
  • 17 physicians
  • 16 mid-level providers
  • Multiple office locations
  • Serves eight Atlanta-area markets


  • Profitability affected by poor financial visibility
  • Multiple office locations complicate access to information
  • Payment reform promises new challenges to face



  • Financial insight brings stability and profitability
  • All physicians attest to Meaningful Use
  • Easy access to patient records from anywhere
  • Solid preparation for the changes in health care

Big Financial Wins for an Orthopedic Group

The orthopedic physicians at OrthoAtlanta know speed, flexibility and strength when they see it, in an athletic patient or a practice management system. That’s why they chose athenahealth to help coordinate their patients’ care and improve the health of their practice, whether they’re working at the office, at home or even on a football field.

“athenahealth has a great team that tells us what we need to know, when we need to know it, and what we need to do to make it happen,” says Kitchi Joyce, the Director of Practice Informatics at OrthoAtlanta. “We are so lucky that athenahealth is ahead of the game.”

OrthoAtlanta hasn’t always been a financial superstar. Ten years ago, they were part of a larger orthopedic group that struggled with dropped and denied claims. Revenue cycle management was something that only a handful of leaders and staff could perform at the end of each month.

Then OrthoAtlanta signed up for athenaCollector and athenaClinicals, the Best in KLAS cloud-based practice management and electronic health record (EHR) services, respectively, from athenahealth.

Now, CEO Patricia Brewster enjoys greater access to vital practice information; at the end of each day, she easily reviews her group’s same-day encounter close rate, considered the single most revealing metric of a practice’s efficiency. “I don’t have to go to the chief financial officer; I don’t have to go to the chief operating officer,” says Brewster. “I’ve got my own set of answers right in front of me, and I don’t think that could ever be overrated.” Most important, she likes what she sees in those reports.

“You Don’t Leave Money On The Table.”

“athenahealth has allowed us to really tighten up not only the flow of money, but knowing where the money is,” says Michael Behr, M.D., one of OrthoAtlanta’s 17 physicians. To make sure the practice is on top of its financial game, Dr. Behr needs to know what’s been ordered and when those orders will be fulfilled. With athenahealth, he gains insight into his referrals and has greater control and visibility into his revenue and productivity. This transparency has reduced the practice’s days in accounts receivable (DAR) to less than 30 days*—a reduction from the nearly 50 days it took to get paid before OrthoAtlanta signed up for athenahealth services.

In addition to helping OrthoAtlanta achieve day-to-day financial success, athenahealth has also enabled the group’s physicians—every one of them—to get paid for Meaningful Use. “You don’t leave money on the table,” says Dr. Behr – adding that athenahealth helped every step of the way towards receiving incentive payments. “We really didn’t have to do anything other than what we would normally do in our routine daily activities,” says Behr.
Friday Night Lights

With eight locations around Atlanta, flexibility is vital to OrthoAtlanta’s financial success. Most of the group physicians practice in at least two offices, and many also work in area hospitals, from their homes, and even on the athletic fields of local schools and colleges.

“To get access to the same information at each office, or on the football field on Friday night, is really helpful,” says Dr. Behr. athenahealth’s cloud-based platform ensures that wherever the physicians of OrthoAtlanta find themselves, they have instant access to the patient information they need.

“Everything’s at their fingertips with athenaClinicials,” says Joyce. On the road, they can use a smartphone or tablet to refill prescriptions or check a patient’s chart. In the exam room, that information availability and ease of use lets the doctors focus on their patients rather than waste time hunting down charts or faxes, or performing repetitive data entry. “It leads to a good patient experience and quality care,” says Joyce. “Patients aren’t calling back saying, ‘I need this’ or ‘I need that.’” Dr. Behr adds, “It really is a safety thing for patients; it allows us to take care of them a little bit better.”

The athenaCommunincator patient portal is another reason OrthoAtlanta has less of a phone call burden. Logging in with a secure username and password, OrthoAtlanta patients can use the portal to view their medical records, update their patient information, see test results, and cancel or reschedule appointments – all without having to talk with staff or physicians.

“It really is a tool that helps with our efficiency,” says Dr. Behr. “It’s something we can work into our schedule, which is much easier than the phone call that comes in, and has you stop what you’re doing.”
Ready For The Future

OrthoAtlanta is seeing benefits today—and athenahealth services are positioning the group for the uncertain future of health care. For instance, the patient portal is designed to handle the growing use of smartphones when communicating with physicians. With athenaCollector, teams continually update billing rules to respond to ongoing changes by government and private payers, helping the practice get paid in a timely manner. “athenahealth tracks all of the different reform requirements coming out of Washington,” says Joyce. “They’ve got their ear to the ground in Washington, so they know about it before we do and tell us what we need to know, so we don’t get bogged down in all the legislation and the thousands of pages of regulations that come out.” CEO Brewster adds, “athenahealth is always about ten steps ahead of the competition.”

© April 2013
*Based on a weighted average for athenahealth clients with valid pre-athenahealth benchmark data that had their 15-month anniversary with athenahealth within the last 11 quarters between Q1 2010-Q3 2012

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