Complete Women’s Healthcare
“As soon as Dr. Kasparek started looking at the Aprima EHR (electronic health record), she said she could tell that a medical person created it, not a programmer,” says Kelly Kile, office manager of Complete Women’s Healthcare. “She appreciates the way Aprima follows the flow of her patient visits, the way all the information she needs – especially patient education material – is right at her fingertips.”
Complete Women’s Healthcare (CWHC) is an OB/GYN practice in Johns Creek, Georgia, north of Atlanta. Dr. Dori Kasparek cares for women during their pregnancies and throughout their lives. (In September 2012, Dr. Supriya Rao joined the practice.)
After their previous electronic medical records vendor discontinued support for its product in 2010, CWHC decided it was time to find a more powerful integrated EHR and practice management (PM) system that would enable them to take advantage of federal incentives. They surveyed EHR/PM systems currently on the market, and quickly narrowed the field to three nationally recognized vendors, including Aprima. Ms. Kile and Dr. Kasparek scheduled demonstrations with all three and quickly settled on Aprima as the best fit.
EHR: A Hundred Little Time Savers
The practice began implementing Aprima in September 2010. The medical team found Aprima EHR to be a huge time saver through “a hundred tiny things.” Kile estimates each support staff member saves about an hour a day because of Aprima, which translates to almost $25,000 each year.
In September 2012, the practice added a new provider, who picked up on using the system right away. Fortunately, the new efficiencies within the office meant that Dr. Rao required only two additional staff to support her. Before having Aprima, the office would have needed many more staff, not to mention the high cost of adding more paper charts.
Aprima’s patient portal, instant eligibility verification, and the lab interfaces are all examples of tools that save steps, time, and paper every day. Before Aprima, lab results piled up waiting for someone to enter them. Now when lab or radiology results arrive, the doctor is automatically alerted and the results go directly into the patient’s chart. Even better, the practice can run a report on demand to verify that all requested lab results have been received.
Dr. Kasparek found that one of the biggest time savers is Aprima’s ability to create “custom problem palettes,” or CPPs, which store information associated with the most common issues patients present. Using CPPs allows the providers to fill in the chart with symptoms, diagnosis, physician orders or prescriptions, and more, all with just a few clicks. CWHC used CPPs built into the program and shared by the user group, and they also created some of their own.
Ms. Kile explains, “These make charting much faster and easier. Having different CPPs specifically designed for obstetric patients with particular conditions allows the doctors to chart quickly, even with highly variable symptoms or diagnoses. We even have built-in health maintenance reminders.”
PM: Improving the Bottom Line
Using Aprima PM’s tools to speed up and automate billing and collections, CWHC has been able to reduce its average days in accounts receivable from 45 to around 25 – almost half. Their cash flow has improved not only because of faster insurer payments but also because they’re able to collect accurate deductibles and co-payments up front.
Ms. Kile especially appreciates the variety of reports and management tools, such as task reminders, that Aprima offers. She has been able to use its collections reports to improve the practice’s cumulative collection rate to about 93% of so-called “collectible” dollars. “Access to the clearinghouse lets us follow claims right through,” she says. “The system sends reports if there’s an error, and I can go in and fix the problem. Even better is the ability to create a timely filing letter by just clicking one button! With our previous system, if an insurer said the claim was late, we had to write it off.”
Aprima’s wide variety of reports have allowed this practice to examine more than its financial management: CWHC can also analyze and improve its use of time. Every six to eight months, Ms. Kile performs a time audit to evaluate how long tasks and patient visits actually take. Patient visits are timed from check-in to discharge. The doctors can see which visits are scheduled accurately, and which should be shortened or lengthened. Ms. Kile says, “Aprima gives us a wealth of information to help us improve and grow.”
The practice quickly earned and collected its incentive payment from Medicare, guided by Aprima’s Meaningful Use Dashboard. “I call it MU for Dummies,” Ms. Kile muses. “You can immediately see which patient chart has errors, and the dashboard showed us where we needed to change our processes to solve recurring issues.”
Better Communication, Happier Patients
Unexpectedly, some of the biggest benefits have come from the Aprima Patient Portal, which allows HIPAA-secure communications between provider and patient. CWHC posts newpatient forms online, so patients can submit information before arriving for that first visit. Initial visits used to take 40 minutes; by eliminating the time-consuming data collection, providers were able to cut those visits to 15 minutes and add two appointments in the time saved. With an average patient visit at $105, this change alone has meant approximately $44,000/year in new revenue.
Now, the clinicians prefer to communicate with patients online. “The patient portal has allowed us to build better relationships with patients. Dr. Kasparek can communicate directly with them instead of playing phone tag, and they appreciate it – our patient referrals have gone way up since we started using this system. We got 56 new patient referrals this month!”
Whether it’s the patient portal, the practice management tools, or the charting capabilities, Aprima has created a better experience for everyone touched by Complete Women’s Healthcare.