Enabling Growth and Efficiency at a Solo Psychiatric Practice
September 9, 2015
David Brody, MD.
When Dr. David Brody started his private practice in 2008, he was splitting time with his full-time position at Beth Israel Medical Center. By the middle of the year, his patient load had filled quickly because he was part of the minority of psychiatrists in New York that accepted insurance. His part-time practice had become a full-time effort. It was clear that he needed to devote all of his efforts to his new private practice.
In his one-man psychiatric practice in New York City, Dr. Brody found himself overwhelmed by administrative work. Between registering patients (and all the paperwork that goes with it), mailing bills to patients, submitting claims through various web portals, and eligibility checking, Dr. Brody was spending more time doing administrative work, and losing revenue-generating hours for patient sessions. He wrote his notes in Microsoft Word, then printed them out and stored them in files along with evaluations and lab results, with no way to track overall documentation.
The shift to a paperless office
To reduce liability and become better organized, Dr. Brody wanted to run a paperless practice. He also wanted to incorporate standardized assessment tools to support and track the effectiveness of his treatment. He learned of Valant in 2008 and decided to give it a try. He started with just the EMR and its electronic documentation to take advantage of the electronic signatures, timestamps, and dashboards which helped him keep track of his documentation status. Assessments were still done on paper, and then scanned into the chart to be securely stored electronically. He progressed by using e-prescribing within Valant the following year, and began utilizing Valant’s back office billing services to alleviate the administrative billing pains.
The Patient Portal and Outcome Measures
In 2012, Dr. Brody took advantage of Valant’s Mobile Notes and Patient Portal tools. Mobile Notes enabled him to seamlessly integrate standardized assessment tools directly into his documentation for a truly paperless practice. He also had the option, based on the patient’s preferences, to complete documentation in session or at the end of the day. The quality of his clinical notes improved as well, enabling him to more easily meet the higher E&M coding requirements.
Valant’s Patient Portal allowed him to get the history of present illness for new patients before the intake appointment and continue to assess the effectiveness of his treatment on a regular basis using Valant’s library of integrated outcome measurements. With the exception of a stubborn minority, Dr. Brody has seen very positive adherence by his patients to the portal.
Communication with Referring Providers
Dr. Brody receives referrals from hospitals and primary care providers, so it is imperative that he is able to share patient documentation electronically and securely. He utilizes Valant’s ability to extract any number of notes and information into one seamless PDF for this. He sends the files via Direct messaging, or by using an encrypted email service. This eliminates back and forth phone time and outdated faxing methods.
Being a small or solo practice doesn’t necessarily entail a small amount of administrative responsibilities. With Valant, the workflows involved in patient registration, documentation, and external collaboration with care providers or insurance companies became a streamlined process. The hours that were otherwise committed to manual data entry, gathering data for reports, or just playing catch-up in general could now be spent providing quality psychiatric care for patients, equating not only to more revenue-generating hours but better overall health outcomes.
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