Struggling to Keep Up With Its Growing Pains, Children’s Therapy Solutions Needed an Upgrade
With mountains of paperwork, care coordination issues, and scheduling children who needed to see multiple specialists on an ongoing basis they knew they needed to change their workflows and software.
With co-owners Kathy White, MRC, LMHC, Lena Thoresen, OTR/L and Megan Halliday, MS, OTR/L, inundated with both patient visits and administrative duties, finding the time to evaluate health IT systems felt impossible. But when the practice’s server crashed one night in early 2018, staff and therapists were left in a lurch, with no access to schedules, bills, or patient files for seven days.
That pivotal moment sparked a necessary change: In Spring 2018, Children’s Therapy Solutions partnered with InSync Healthcare Solutions, which specializes in healthcare technology for behavioral health and therapy practices, to implement a robust, flexible, all-encompassing electronic health record (EHR), practice management system, and revenue cycle management (RCM) system.
Three years later, the practice credits InSync’s technology solution as a key driver of growth, and a lifesaving support system during the early, uncertain months of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bradenton, Florida-based Children’s Therapy Solutions, Inc., is a multispecialty pediatric practice that offers a wide range of services, including physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), speech-language pathology (SLP), and mental health counseling.
Founded in 2004, the practice has expanded its patient caseload significantly over the past 17 years and today realizes 6,000 appointments per month.
Children’s Therapy Solutions, Inc. is one of only a handful of practices that offers multiple specialty services for the youngest and most vulnerable patients in the state of Florida, regardless of their insurance or financial situation.
The practice steadily increased its client base between 2004 and 2014 as referrals grew. But so did paperwork: The practice owners found themselves bombarded with documents and increasingly challenged by the inability to synchronize patient clinical and financial files.
Scheduling was a particular source of angst. The practice’s existing communications technology software offered the bare minimum in booking, and schedulers couldn’t search for open time blocks for patients who needed to see two or more therapists within a 12-hour span.
Also, as the nature of coding grew more complex to support a wider array of billable visits, processing claims became more difficult.
In 2018, Children’s Therapy Solutions’ owners finally hit their breaking point, when the practice’s server crashed, and their vendor said it would take a week to get back up and running.
Approach & Solution
Hoping to avoid a repeat experience, Children’s Therapy Solutions tapped InSync Healthcare Solutions, a provider of healthcare technology for specialized medical practices, including electronic health records (EHR), practice management, and billing systems and services.
InSync Healthcare Solutions stood out among dozens of potential vendor partners because the company offered the whole package and understood the specific needs of a multi-specialty medical group.
“We searched high and low for different companies, and we set up demos that lasted many hours,” recalled Halliday. “InSync’s solution encompassed everything that we needed, from embedded, yet configurable, applications to workflow support tools. We had to make some adjustments to our workflows, but having the ability to link care authorizations and practice notes—and connect everything from medical records to billing information across PT, OT, SLP, and mental health—was huge.”
InSync dispatched a dedicated team member to work alongside Children’s Therapy Solutions to install and roll out the new system. The process, from initial installation to training staff, to gradually rolling out applications, was relatively painless.
Whenever someone had a question or needed guidance, InSync’s dedicated tech support staff was readily available. This made transitioning to the new system a smooth process.
The ability to share information across the practice was an immediate gamechanger for therapists who once spent hours rifling through stacks of papers to obtain information. In addition, the ability to run reports on everything from cancellations and clinician productivity proved instrumental in helping the practice identify tangible opportunities for improvement.
Three years since initial implementation, InSync’s software has enabled Children’s Therapy Solutions to substantially increase provider and practice efficiency.
Case in point: While the practice grew from about 40 licensed practitioners to 50 between 2018 and 2021, Halliday and Thoresen didn’t need to hire additional support staff to handle increased caseloads. Collaboration has also gotten easier, and functionality within the InSync solutions enables therapists to track metrics such as no-shows and progress on a continual basis.
“In the past we didn’t have a lot of time to collaborate,” explains Halliday. “Now therapists can go directly into the patient’s file and read evaluations and notes. And, we are able to upload information from hospitals, opening the door for simple and quick communication.”
By far, the best part of working with InSync is having a partner that is agile and can grow with them.
“The thing we love most about InSync is that they’re always trying to move us forward,” says co-owner Lena Thoresen, OTR/L. “The development team is always trying to record our problems and find ways to make improvements.”
Having the new system in place in 2020 enabled the practice to stay operational during the initial months of COVID-19 when it shifted in-person visits to virtual, Zoom-based encounters supported by the EHR. With continued, dedicated support from InSync, virtual encounters, documentation, and billing became second nature: The practice now offers a hybrid of in-person and virtual services to new and existing patients, ensuring everyone has access to timely and convenient options. And with InSync’s patient portal, communications have improved immeasurably.
“We recently added the patient portal, so now we’re able to push a button and send consent forms directly to parents, and insurance providers,” says Halliday. “I don’t know what we would do without it.”