Michelle Collie, PT is CEO of Performance Physical Therapy, a chain of PT practices in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The company, which recently implemented a new PM solution, employs 55 clinicians and 55 ancillary staff across its eight facilities to care for 350 patients on a daily basis.
What was the impetus for implementing a new PM solution?
We moved to a new PM solution to provide real-time oversight and analytics to better manage a growing practice. Financial margins continue to decrease; therefore, we need the tools to improve efficiencies. The past system – Intergy – did not have the physical therapy specific tools we needed, whereas Clinicient provides the PM tools specifically needed for PT.
How do you hope the new PM system will benefit the practice and its patients?
In a number of ways, including:
- Ensuring compliance with documentation and billing guidelines set by different payers – limited manual audits, and delays in payments due to errors.
- Improving scheduling efficiencies to help patient compliance and outcomes.
- Improving timely collection of money such as copayments and coinsurance.
- Improving ease of managing accounts receivables.
- Better management of staff with regard to tasks, productivity.
What sort of healthcare technology adoption/implementation challenges are unique to PT?
Many physical therapists are utilizing a national outcomes database to collect outcomes data as we move to performance-based reimbursement. We are using FOTO (Focus On Therapeutic Outcomes). Such tools are unique to physical medicine. These outcome measures are only just beginning to be integrated with PM solutions, which creates a challenge when truly assessing outcomes and cost.
Plus, PT-specific EHRs are very different than physician-based EHRs. Interfacing between hospital-based EHRs is challenging, making communication an issue.
Is the practice using digital health tools to engage with patients, or to enable physicians to securely communicate with each other?
We use digital health tools in several different ways:
- Clinicient allows clinicians to securely communicate with each other.
- Email and text to confirm appointments.
- Secure emails can be sent to patients.
- Home exercise routines can be emailed to patients.
- Ipads are used to collect PMHx and complete FOTO assessments.
What tips do you have for PT practices looking to implement new healthcare technologies?
- Look for a system that fully integrates EHR, billing, and practice management – as well as outcomes. If all are on the same platform, its even better!
- Consider if you want to purchase a system – or partner. There are various payment models and a percent-based payment will create more of a partnership with the PM vendor.
- Find other practices utilizing the system and ask about support, training, and all aspects of the system.
- Carefully compare pricing to determine if billing should be done in-house or outsourced.
- Chose a PT-specific software.