EHR-PM integration produces major results for Bay State Physical Therapy

At the practice, appointment reminders have helped boost collections per visit by 7%; revenue cycle management cost per visit was reduced by 30%; and arrival rates have increased 2.5%.
By Bill Siwicki
11:54 AM
Bay State Physical Therapy Plymouth facility

Bay State Physical Therapy’s Plymouth facility.

Bay State Physical Therapy President and CEO Steve Windwer had a goal: Accelerate the growth of the company.

THE PROBLEM

He realized that he had an electronic health record and practice management system that would make it difficult to scale up as he tried to grow the enterprise.

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“Our previous systems were not an integrated EHR/practice management solution,” he explained. “As a result, we had several manual processes that required staff to enter charges and apply payments. Our EHR system and the billing program were two separate systems. And I had a third system for appointment reminders.”

Windwer knew his collections per visit were lagging statewide averages because his practice management system did not have the built-in, upfront tools to ensure that patient care coordinators were obtaining the necessary information at the time of a patient’s visit (such as authorizations, eligibility and co-pays), nor did it have the back-end tools for the revenue cycle management team to review and follow up on claims that were rejected or denied by payers.

"Our collections per visit increased through fewer claims denials due to having the information upfront and a significantly improved follow-up procedure."

Steve Windwer, Bay State Physical Therapy

“The EHR system did not have the sophistication to ensure we were coding properly, and none of it was integrated, which led to major inefficiencies,” he said. “I also realized that in order to grow I needed better insights on our current business, and our systems had very cumbersome and limited reporting capabilities.”

PROPOSAL

Windwer discovered that health IT vendor Raintree Systems offered a hosted, integrated EHR/practice management solution that was tailored to the largest portion of his business, physical therapy.

“Their solution checked all the boxes that our team felt were necessary for our future growth and addressed all the deficiencies we were experiencing with our current solutions,” he said. “They had one system that provided practice management, EHR and appointment reminders. There was no getting into one system and logging out of another. It dramatically increased our efficiency.”

Raintree’s integrated EHR/practice management solution enabled Bay State Physical Therapy to streamline into one platform that handled all needs. Billing and collections improved dramatically, and overall efficiency was vastly improved, he added.

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

The PT practice implemented the new system over a period of five months in every location across the organization. Raintree is integrated with Yellowfin, the practice’s business intelligence tool.

RESULTS

Results have exceeded expectations, Windwer reported.

“Our collections per visit increased through fewer claims denials due to having the information upfront and a significantly improved follow-up procedure,” he explained. “In addition, due to this new system, we created workflow efficiencies that allowed us to reduce staff through attrition. We also were able to improve our arrival rate through improved clinic-level reporting and the integrated appointment reminder solution.”

Collections per visit have improved by 7%. Revenue cycle management cost per visit was reduced by 30%, and arrival rates have increased 2.5%.

“When we started with Raintree, they pointed out how inefficient our other system was and how the upfront scrubbing that Raintree systems does will reduce our denials and increase our collections,” he recalled. “They showed us how we would have a much quicker window into how claims were doing than our previous system and allow us to correct these claims quickly. This enhanced our turnaround. We got paid quicker, with fewer denials.”

This resulted in being much more efficient – having fewer people employed to handle more claims. With the BI tool, the practice was able to gain insight at the clinic level and the therapist level on all kinds of statistics. The one the practice concentrated on was arrival rate, and with the BI data the practice was better able to manage and train staff about their patients maintaining their plans of care.

ADVICE FOR OTHERS

“Fully understand what you are trying to accomplish,” Windwer advised. “We knew that running three systems concurrently was highly inefficient and costly. It was a priority for us to have a fully integrated system. We also wanted to have a proven leader in the field. We looked at what other leading providers in our space were using and we spoke to these folks to find out why.”

Bay State Physical Therapy then brought in the leading vendors in the industry and set up a team for the vendors to do onsite demonstrations.

“We independently ranked each vendor based on the same criteria and we all were able to come to the same conclusion,” he concluded. “We knew that this was a major decision, and it took us six months to ultimately decide.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bsiwicki@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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