Opening the digital front door - digital payments take the pressure off at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists

By Caroline Watson | March 30, 2023

athenahealth connecting bars for easier access set in blue with airy clouds

In a world where 60% of patients expect to be able to manage appointments, view test results, and renew medications online, meeting patients where they are requires technology. Across the athenahealth network, healthcare organizations are finding new ways to enhance the patient experience through digital channels, contributing to organizational efficiency, financial performance, and growth in the process.

Here is one of them:  

Out of all the touchpoints in a patient’s journey, paying medical bills is one area patients simply aren’t likely to get excited about. But having user-friendly digital options for patient payments can still make a significant impact for patients and staff alike, according to Elizabeth Bauske, a physical therapist and clinical information systems manager at Chicago-area Barrington Orthopedic Specialists. 

Offering athenahealth’s Online Patient Payment solutions has helped Barrington improve collections and freed up significant time for staff to focus on other initiatives. Bauske said patients appreciate having digital payment options, which many patients find easier than calling the office to make a payment over the phone, and more convenient than finding time to call during office hours. And the ability to make payments without logging into the portal is incredibly helpful for patients who struggle to remember their password. 

The user-friendly experience helps streamline the collections process. “It’s extremely easy for the patient to use, which allows us to collect on the outstanding balances quicker,” Bauske explained. “We have an easier time collecting our bills.” In fact, athenahealth data show that practices set up for digital patient payments have a 17% higher pay yield compared to practices not set up for digital patient payments.1

Before athenaOne, Bauske said the organization used to have employees dedicated to answering phone calls to collect on payments. The volume of payment-related calls they receive has decreased significantly, freeing up time for staff to spend on other work, including strategic initiatives like improving time-of-service collections. 

Digital payments are part of a broader push to encourage patients to engage with Barrington digitally, including signing up for the patient portal. Automating reminders and enabling patients to self-serve through the portal takes additional pressure off their staff. “The more that we can receive payments without us manually pushing that forward, the more time our staff has to be able to do the rest of the work they need to do,” Bauske said. “It’s been really beneficial for our practice.” 

Barrington Orthopedic Specialists participates in athenahealth’s Client Advocacy Program. To learn more about the program, please visit

Barrington Orthopedic Specialists were not compensated for participating in this content.

  1. athenaOne data of athenahealth customers using athenaCollector for services rendered between December 2020 and November 2021, comparing patient payments made until June 2022


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