An Expanding Practice Outgrows Its PM Software
When Beittel-Becker Pediatric Associates realized how quickly it was outgrowing its practice management software, the clinic decided it was time to look for a comprehensive solution. They needed one that would keep pace with the practice as it expanded. Dr. Greta Laube and practice administrator Chad Martin agreed that they wanted a solution that could:
- Combine electronic health record (EHR) and practice management (PM) functions into a single database, rather than two disparate packages that had been “integrated” through a common interface.
- Enable each provider to establish a different set of clinical documentation procedures themselves, avoiding expensive custom programming.
- Accommodate growth easily, at minimal cost.
During his preliminary research, Martin accumulated a list of 16 vendors. He and Dr. Laube quickly narrowed the field to five or six vendors and went through product demonstrations. They selected two finalists — WebMD and Misys. Then, Dr. Laube attended a medical technology conference and learned about Aprima. The solution was appealing because it provided the clinic with the right combination of flexibility, scalability, and single-database, single-application design.
Beittel-Becker Pediatric Associates started using Aprima’s EHR/PM solution in July 2007. The practice chose to reduce its patient load temporarily during its training period, but quickly returned to seeing the same average number of patients each day.
The Aprima Support Advantage: Flexible Documentation Methods Lead To Better Documentation
Aprima lets the practice’s providers follow their own documentation preferences:
- Handwriting recognition
- Point-and-click with the stylus
- Any combination of methods
Aprima’s flexible, template-free design allows Beittel-Becker’s providers to navigate anywhere in the system with a single click, making it easy to add multiple symptoms. Providers also can add items such as new chief complaints to any menu in just seconds. Aprima’s Intelligent Navigation technology speeds documentation by providing content sensitive choices. For example, if Dr. Laube diagnoses a patient with acute otitis media, Aprima’s medication list will begin with drugs she has used in the past to treat ear infections.
Dr. Laube and her partners, Dr. Hilary Becker and Dr. Donna Brosbe, also have the flexibility to record patient notes in Aprima’s EHR/PM solution while they’re making hospital rounds. When they return to the office, Aprima’s unique replication technology automatically syncs those patients’ records with the server.
Another bonus is that, on their busiest days, the doctors can take their wireless tablet PCs home and complete or review patient notes from there.
Because smaller practices like Beittel-Becker don’t have an in-house computer specialist to fix technical issues, Aprima’s support is especially important. The “hot button” on the Aprima main screen connects users directly to live online support. In addition, the practice has a direct-dial number to its own support technician, “who is always quick to respond and very friendly,” says Martin.
Martin notes that Aprima’s professional services team also responds quickly to requests. The practice needed a unique batch processing operation to assist with statements. Aprima created and installed it in less than two weeks. He says, “I was very impressed with Aprima’s unique architecture. Upgrades are provided behind the scenes, at times when they won’t disrupt the practice. The office doesn’t even have to be open. Aprima can download the upgrade overnight.”
The Financial Advantage Of Aprima
One real advantage of Aprima’s EHR/PM solution has been with pediatric vaccines, according to Martin. Aprima tracks the vaccine down to the dose, lot, and manufacture and expiration dates. “When we’re dispensing more than $300,000 in vaccines a year with roughly $200,000 in state funding, accounting for all vaccines is crucial,” he explains.
Because Aprima provides better documentation and support for selecting appropriate billing codes, the practice is coding patient visits more accurately. Without spending additional time documenting care, the providers increased their billing of level-three and level-four visits by as much as 14% in one year. “For our small practice of about 14,500 encounters per year, that alone increases revenues by about $25,000 per year,” says Martin.
Aprima’s EHR/PM solution has reduced the number of denials and the amount of time the practice’s administrative staff spends refiling claims or appealing rejected claims. The staff is able to see and correct errors before they are sent, instead of having claims sent back. “Working denials and rejections through a real-time portal saves the practice time and money,” Martin explains. “Since starting the real-time portal, I have not had a claim lost or denied for untimely filing. Before, I was frequently resubmitting claims that got lost in the electronic abyss.”