Busy rheumatology practice saves 500 hours a year and boosts patient experience with Updox
“Patients appreciate that we have a modern practice. Because of the innovative features we offer through our Updox solutions, they know we’re using technology to keep them safe and informed and that translates into how they view our practice so positively.”
The practice of Kathy Karamlou, MD, is a small one provider rheumatology practice, supported by a nurse practitioner, three full-time staff members and three part-time staff. Together, they serve 9,000 patients in the Newport Beach, Calif., area.
Their Updox journey began with electronic document management alongside their Practice Fusion electronic health record. “We’ve been using Updox for faxing and filing documents for many years. We love the features and ease of use. In time, we added additional solutions including patient reminders, secure text and Broadcast messaging with patients. We implemented Video Chat during the pandemic and just added Electronic Forms,” says Pam Anderson, practice administrator.
“Having all those solutions accessible within the same platform is great for our practice. It’s much more convenient for staff and eliminates additional steps and rework that would come from jumping in between different systems.” In fact, Pam estimates that their broad use of the Updox platform saves them more than 500 hours a year.
The busy practice gets 20-30 new patient requests a week, requiring at least 10 minutes each to triage by phone. Today, the practice uses Broadcast and Electronic Forms to send a request form and collect all the information needed to call and schedule the new patient. That takes less than a minute and creates a consistent workflow that is much better for the practice. They also use Broadcast to share COVID-related news, including vaccine information, to their patients. “Patients rely on providers to get them information. Broadcast is a great way to do that in a method that is efficient for us and keeps patients informed.” The more information the practice can share with them, the fewer patients calling into the office and that results in even more efficiency.
While Pam says that the practice benefits from the use of all their different Updox solutions, there are two that absolutely stand out to her.
“Adding Video Chat during the pandemic was a game changer for us. We were up and running within 30 minutes and didn’t have to cancel any patient appointments during such a troubling time. We were able to continue delivering care and our patients really appreciated being able to see their provider and maintaining their medications and care.”
Pam says the practice will continue offering telehealth as it proved to work so well for their practice. “Whether it is patients who have been exposed, are quarantining or have compromised immune systems, Video Chat is a way for us to ensure they get the care they need. I’ve told many colleagues about it.”
But, when Updox Electronic Forms was released, Pam says there were cheers all around. “The skies opened up and confetti and balloons burst out,” she says with a laugh. “Before Updox, we used to email out a PDF of our forms and then call patients to get them to send them back in prior to the visit. Now, we send a text or email with the forms links and the patients fill them out and submit them right back. It’s had the biggest impact on our busy worklife and patients love it as much as we do!”
Pam continued “As a specialty practice, we require a detailed patient history and having all that information prior to the patient visit is crucial. Handwriting those forms, especially for some of the patients we serve, is just a cumbersome process. Now, they can complete them electronically – some even keep a PDF of their history already and can just cut and paste it in – to save time and headache."
The practice also uses Electronic Forms for their new patients. “We get all the information we need before they even walk in. It really streamlines that intake process.”
“That efficiency – on both ends where we are saving time for both ourselves and our patients – is really appreciated. Patients tell us all the time that our office is the easiest new practice they’ve seen. We communicate with them regularly, send information right to their phone, are available quickly by text and don’t waste time once they get here,” says Pam. “Our patients feel valued and that is important to us.”