Maryland-based Psychiatry Clinic Unifes Care with NextGen Office
"The question wasn’t how, but when"
"Ten years ago, when Terry D. Vinston, chief operating officer of Potomac Psychiatry, began at the practice, the clinical and administrative staff was significantly smaller than it is today. However, Terry explained, the size of the practice at the time was in no way indicative of the strength of presence Potomac Psychiatry had in the community.
“Our digital marketing enabled us to grow rapidly. We transitioned to out-of-network and stopped accepting insurances,” said Vinston. “We added doctors and office staff and grew exponentially. I wanted us to elevate our exceptional patient care using an EHR system.”
It wasn’t so much a question of how, but more so, when they would migrate their health record system to a digital platform. In 2017, Mr. Vinston knew it was time to make that transition."
"Potomac Psychiatry needed something scalable—a platform that supported growth. A solution that could make it easier to reach out to and retain a growing patient population.
“I wanted to streamline office operations,” said Vinston. “We had a solid staff, and it was a good time to migrate to a platform that would allow us to fully function remotely. This has significantly benefited us in the wake of COVID-19.”
Before choosing NextGen Office, Terry and his colleagues conducted about a year’s worth of research. They knew it was a big investment and wanted to make sure they chose a solution that was reliable, secure, and easily adaptable.
“Security is essential. We needed to understand how patient data is held and backed up through the entire data life cycle,” said Vinston."
After a training period of several months and adjusting to electronic tablets as a function of everyday workflows, the staff felt comfortable and confident with the new system.
“Everyone was on board. Some of the younger doctors and staff adapted quicker, because for them, tablets and iPhones were a part of growing up. The learning curve was greater for others. They were used to using paper charts and notes, but they’ve adapted well,” said Vinston. “Our liaison from NextGen Healthcare was always available to help us move quickly and smoothly through the process.”"
Patient recovery at Potomac Psychiatry begins with Dr. Bruce Kehr’s (award-winning psychiatrist, president, and founder) unique approach to whole-person care: identify the underlying biological, psychological, social, and life-stage causes of emotional distress. One of the greatest benefits the clinic saw after implementation was the ability to take and track patient notes within the same chart. “Before NextGen Healthcare, patient notes and charts were difficult to consolidate and manage,” said Vinston. “Having all the doctors’ notes in the digital chart enables direct, accurate, and efficient patient care.”
Patient engagement and care management
Before implementation, Potomac Psychiatry relied heavily on phone communication with patients, but that has changed. Doctible—a patient communication and retention solution— is integrated into NextGen Office and helps their staff maximize how they engage with their patients. “In the changing digital environment, NextGen Office enables us to improve our patient communication by utilizing secure messaging,” said Vinston. “With the reminder services, we’ve seen a decrease in missed appointments. NextGen Office helps patients commit to their treatment plan and allows us to deliver a higher caliber of patient care.” Potomac Psychiatry also uses e-prescribing through NextGen Office to help streamline care. Patients don’t have to come to the office to refill a prescription, which saves clinician time and staff resources.
"Although Potomac Psychiatry requests patient payment at the time of service, they do you use a third-party collection agency through NextGen Office when they need to resolve outstanding balances. Mr. Vinston related that the clinic has seen approximately a 75% reduction in AR days and overall billing errors have been greatly reduced.
“With the current state of the world due to COVID-19, NextGen Office enables us to continue providing uninterrupted patient care,” said Vinston. “At the time we were deciding to implement a new EHR, we had no idea what an impact it would have on our business during such a crisis. Now, whether we have to close the office for snowstorms or an unexpected situation, I’m confident in our ability to function completely remote while maintaining our high standard of care for patients.”"