All-in-one practice management system enables a fivefold increase in patients

Advanced Behavioral Health's practice management, billing, scheduling and clinical data collection system has reaped the practice many rewards, including reducing time spent on billing from three hours to 30 minutes per week.
By Bill Siwicki
02:31 PM
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All-in-one practice management system enables a fivefold increase in patients

Before Mike Pearson became founder and president of Advanced Behavioral Health in Huntington Beach, California, he understood the value of a concise and user-friendly practice management system. The organization he previously worked for as CFO had used one particular system for more than 10 years.

THE PROBLEM

After realizing that most of his Advanced Behavioral Health team was already familiar with this system, Pearson decided to purchase it for the practice. However, the system wasn't a good fit for the organization's specific goals.

Pearson and his team quickly experienced hurdles they needed to overcome – and fast. The biggest challenge the team was facing was that the system lacked electronic data collection, leaving the organization no choice but to use paper data sheets.

After spending hours each day scanning and uploading stacks of documents, the team quickly realized that it was wasting valuable time, money and resources that could otherwise have been spent helping shorten the wait times for people with autism and related behavioral disorders. Not to mention the daily inconvenience of transcribing paper spreadsheets into digital files.

"Advanced Behavioral Health works primarily with insurance companies and the initial system we had in place created a negative 'trickle down' effect that resulted in tremendous inefficiencies due to manual data uploads to insurance portals," Pearson explained. "The countless wasted hours for our employees affected the accuracy of our data analysis and collection; furthermore, the system was not compatible with Mac computers, our primary device for running day-to-day business operations."

In short, the system Pearson thought would be a good fit from his previous company lead to inefficient processes and was not scalable; the practice management system was holding the team back from providing exceptional service to clients and shortening wait lists for behavior therapy.

PROPOSAL

Advanced Behavioral Health turned to CentralReach, which it described as the ideal applied behavior analysis practice management and clinical platform that could accommodate all of the organization's needs, including scheduling, billing and clinical data collection.

"Our company no longer has to maintain and manage multiple systems at once," Pearson said. "We now had the 'all-in-one answer' to all the challenges we were facing, and the software could also support our future growth plans we had on the horizon. We converted to CentralReach in August of 2017 and haven't looked back since."

"The platform allows us to scale our team to better serve our clients while continuing to provide the highest quality applied behavior analysis service."

Mike Pearson, Advanced Behavioral Health

Advanced Behavioral Health now didn't have to manage multiple systems – increasing the efficiency of the team, optimizing revenue cycle management, and freeing up more time for the team to spend time providing behavior treatment to clients that needed its help.

"Our organization's clinical supervisors were also able to access client data instantaneously, versus waiting days, weeks or sometimes months when they were using program binders with the old system," Pearson said. "This meant we could easily track client progress and make changes proactively since we no longer needed to scan and store client data sheets. The business was saving several hours per week while ensuring HIPAA compliance."

The robust reporting increased visibility into key metrics like progress toward goals and time spent on billable versus non-billable tasks, information that would have previously required a large effort to pull together. Advanced Behavioral Health now is able to streamline everything from employee onboarding and training. Previously, new employees would spend most of their first day filling out forms.

MARKETPLACE

There are many practice management systems on the market today. But their capabilities to handle other aspects of a group practice like scheduling and billing vary. Some practice management system vendors include Advanced Data Systems, AdvancedMD, AltaPoint, athenahealth, CareCloud, iSalus Healthcare, Kareo, MDConnection, NueMD and WinBuilt Software.

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

The practice has been growing organically and very quickly. Pearson said they have only scratched the surface of what the all-in-one software can do for the organization. He added that it has helped the practice grow a lot faster than it could have otherwise, while improving service quality and providing better outcomes for clients.

"With CentralReach in place, I purchased inexpensive tablets for Advanced Behavioral Health's clinical staff," Pearson said. "Clinical supervisors are now able to access client data immediately, versus waiting days, weeks or sometimes months when they were using program binders."

This means they can now easily see how clients are progressing and make changes proactively. Since they no longer need to scan and store client data sheets, the business is saving several hours per week while ensuring HIPAA compliance.

RESULTS

With the new software, the provider organization has reduced time spent on billing from 3 hours to 30 minutes per week.

"My team was no longer wasting time trying to navigate the once complicated billing process," Pearson said. "It became a 30-minute 'push-button' task instead of a tedious, several-hour undertaking. We now utilize the AR and sales dashboard where we can see exactly which claims have been paid, which are still outstanding, and which claims we need to follow up with."

The practice also has seen a fivefold increase in clients since implementing CentralReach less than 18 months ago.

"The platform allows us to scale our team to better serve our clients while continuing to provide the highest quality applied behavior analysis service," Pearson said. "Our onboarding process within CentralReach gives us visibility into team member schedules and we are able to run reports and manipulate the data to provide services to our clients faster and more efficiently than before."

Additionally, the provider organization has realized clinical efficiencies from real time data.

"Our goal is to make our clinical supervisors' jobs as efficient as possible so they can focus on what they are best at – providing quality and ethical applied behavior analysis," he said. "With the technology, our clinical supervisors can see data in real time and progress programs at a rate that was not feasible before the technology."

These real-time updates allow the team to provide a higher level of service to its clients, which results in increased skill acquisition and program progression, Pearson explained.

"Our clients' families also have access to the data, which empowers them to take a more active role in their children's programs," Pearson added. "Report writing for funding sources used to be a very different process and pose challenges in the search for data needed. With electronic data collection, the data is readily available reducing the amount of time spent writing reports. The savings averages two hours per report, which increases job satisfaction of our clinical supervisors."

ADVICE FOR OTHERS

If a practice is looking to increase the accuracy of its data collection, Pearson suggested it could save time navigating around billing obstacles, and increase the amount of patients to which it can provide quality care, an end-to-end practice management system with a proven rate of success for streamlining the business and practice of applied behavior analysis practitioners.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com