Arjun Reyes, MD and Associates

Innovative Psychiatry, Innovative Technology: Practice Growth and Efficiencies with Kareo and PatientPop

Dr. Arjun Reyes opened his psychiatric practice, Arjun Reyes MD and Associates, in 1996, and asked his father and brother to join him. The clinic is in the forefront of innovation, and offers alternative therapies like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), SpravatoⓇ, vibrasound, reiki, and other holistic modalities in addition to traditional behavioral therapy and medication. The office now includes two psychiatrists, three psychiatric nurse practitioners, and two psychotherapists — and needed an easy-to-use EHR to keep up. Enter Tebra.

Challenge

Dr. Reyes had an EHR, but his team found it hard to use. He needed an intuitive solution that would allow them to spend more time with patients, and less time learning a complex system or staying after hours to complete their notes. He also needed to redesign the practice website, including adding online appointment booking, messaging, and digital intake. Finally, he sought to improve patient outreach and new patient services.

Solution

Four years ago, he switched to Kareo’s EHR, and now also uses it as a solution for care delivery, billing and payments, and patient experience. Kareo Telehealth has revolutionized the practice’s business, making it possible to provide more care to more patients, faster. PatientPop redesigned the practice website, including adding online scheduling, text messaging, and appointment reminders. It also provides reputation management. Both Kareo and PatientPop integrate seamlessly, as they merged to form Tebra in 2021.

Results

With Kareo Telehealth, the practice has grown 40% and had to add three practitioners. It has a lower barrier to entry for appointments, which are now 80% telehealth. Providers can provide care, including urgent appointments or medication management, 24/7 — and the practice has seen a 20% drop in hospitalizations as a result. A new website from PatientPop attracts new patients and facilitates online bookings and intake. PatientPop also sends out surveys after appointments, and the practice’s star rating has grown.

“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.”

Brenda Sagastume, Office Manager

Arjun Reyes MD and Associates

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.”

Products used in this case study

  • Practice growth

    Grow your web presence, attract more patients, and optimize for a digital world

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  • Care delivery

    Increase time with patients, reduce documentation time, and maximize reimbursements

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  • Patient Experience

    Combine exceptional care with an exceptional patient experience

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  • Billing & Payments

    Effortlessly collect faster and at higher rates

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Practice growth

Grow your web presence, attract more patients, and optimize for a digital world

Learn more

Care delivery

Increase time with patients, reduce documentation time, and maximize reimbursements

Learn more

Patient Experience

Combine exceptional care with an exceptional patient experience

Learn more

Billing & Payments

Effortlessly collect faster and at higher rates

Learn more

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