Finding an intuitive EHR
Reyes and Associates had used AdvancedMD as its EHR at first, but found it difficult to use. “There were too many things to learn in the system,” says Brenda Sagastume, office manager. “Our doctors wanted something really straightforward, so they could spend more time with patients, rather than figuring out what each button was supposed to do.”
Kareo Clinical and Telehealth to the rescue
About four years ago, the clinic switched to Kareo. “We use Kareo for just about everything in the office, such as the EHR, e-notes, e-scripts, appointment reminders, surveys, autobilling and telehealth. We especially love the built-in shortcuts, which save us a lot of time. Our doctors used to work after hours to complete their notes but now with Kareo’s e-notes, we’re saving about an hour a day per doctor which is a major improvement. Everything works together seamlessly — and it’s super easy to use,” Sagastume says.
The practice also adopted Kareo Telehealth, which brought important changes. “Kareo Telehealth is great, because our doctors can work from home. In fact, only one doctor comes into the office regularly and since it’s in the cloud, they can access Kareo Telehealth from anywhere. Telehealth is especially important within the mental health space, because doctors are on call 24/7. Medication management is a big deal, and with Kareo Telehealth our doctors can make necessary adjustments or send new prescriptions even if they’re on vacation.”
Rapid growth, better outcomes
Before the pandemic, insurance companies rarely reimbursed for telehealth visits. That has now changed. “Now that insurance pays, it’s much more affordable for people to access mental health services via telehealth, allowing more people to get treatment. Now, about 80% of our visits are telehealth, and we don’t anticipate that dropping anytime soon,” Sagastume says.
“Our practice has grown about 40% because of Kareo Telehealth. We get 50 to 60 calls for new patients every week because of it. People can use our services if they live far away, can’t drive, have dementia or Alzheimer’s, or have childcare issues. It’s so much more convenient. We’ve had to add three more practitioners, in addition to using NP interns, to handle the volume,” she notes.
“We’re also seeing much better outcomes because of telehealth. Before, patients who needed urgent attention would have to go to urgent care or to the ER. With telehealth, we can talk with them right away, leading to a 20% drop in hospitalizations. We attribute this to people receiving the treatment they need on a timely basis.”
A way to improve outreach and new patient services
Reyes and Associates adopted PatientPop as its reputation management system, in large part because it integrated with Kareo. PatientPop offers website creation and search engine optimization, appointment scheduling, intake, text messaging and patient payments. It targets new patients, whereas Kareo handles existing patients. “Having the two systems integrated is like having two heads instead of one. Everything is right there in one spot,” explains Sagastume.
PatientPop for web presence
PatientPop was selected to redesign the practice’s website. “We use PatientPop to message new patients, explain our services and specialties and find out whether they prefer an in-person or telehealth visit. We ask them to fill out an intake form, and attach insurance cards so we can verify eligibility even before they come into the office. It’s all HIPAA compliant. Reyes said that using PatientPop to message patients has reduced the number of calls they need to make, saving them some time in their busy schedule.
“Whenever a new patient messages us in PatientPop, I get an email and respond right away. Then I enter them into Kareo, which invites them to join the patient portal. After that, all communications are tracked through the system. Nothing falls through the cracks.”
She says that patients really like the portal. “If they need a refill or want to ask the doctor a question, they can do so from home or work and get a quick response. They also love getting the automated appointment reminders through either text or email.”
Higher traffic and star reviews
Sagastume attributes the practice’s growth to software improvements. “In all, our new-patient traffic has doubled, enabling us to hire new providers.”
Another benefit of PatientPop has come from more — and better — online reviews. “All patients now receive a request to complete a satisfaction survey,” she says. “We follow up on patient concerns to improve our services, and post reviews online. We went from just five online reviews to 75 — remarkable. And our star ratings are equally impressive — up from about 2.75 to 4.5.”
Better patient communications
The practice is also using Kareo autobilling. “Patients receive a text or email — their choice — when insurance has paid. They can put a credit card on file with us, and just click to pay their portion of the bill. If they want, I can automatically put copays on their credit card, a convenience they really appreciate. Kareo then sends them an easy-to-read statement which frees up a lot of time for our biller.”
Some patients have their bills paid by parents or other family members. “If the payer wants, we can set up autobilling to the payer rather than the patient, along with an email receipt. This is another very popular feature of our new system,” says Sagastume.
“We’ve also trimmed an entire month off our billing cycle. Before, it took 30 to 60 days for a payer to reimburse us and now it’s just a week or two. Part of this is because the system notifies us when there’s an error, so now we’re able to submit cleaner claims. Faster turnaround certainly helps our cash flow.”
Sagastume is glad that the clinic modernized its technology. “My job is so much easier, thanks to Kareo and PatientPop. It’s one seamless system, standardizing our workflow and combining all messaging into a single dashboard, which I access all day long. We’re growing, too, which means more people are getting the treatment they need. It’s a win-win for everyone.”