i am so sick of apologizing to patients, looking like i am a moron and staying hours later ( sometimes 1am compared to previous (functional) ehr where 730pm was the record and i’d occasionally miss the gym before closing...now i have suspended the gym membership). do not get. if you have any standards and clicking boxes does not suffice for your standards, or if you expect reliability and functionality, this ehr will drive you mad!!!
it’s search feature was useful ONE TIME compared to our old ehr. ..the training team was nice and appeared competent. appreciate e-prescribing controlled substances WHEN IT actually WORKS AND ACTUALLY GETS THERE AFTER YOU’VE BEEN ALERTED THAT IT HAD!!!!!!!!!
I am facile in computers and code to some extent. i am picky about my notes but am creative and work around a lot of garbage and always have without as much as a groan and am considered quite agreeable. HOWEVER, the word ATHENA incites rage in me. portal doesn’t work. can’t preload notes until pt checked in. this is bad for new patients in my specialty. when highlighting text, it does not overwrite. you have to press delete and type. finding documents is a frickin scavenger hunt. 5 or 6 clicks before you can even start seeing a pt. viewing labs is torture. viewing med list is torture. documents get redirected capriciously when scanned. one hopes and prays an rx went through when it said it did. we have initiated a boatload of safety concerns to our quality department but get tired of doing it. customer support...god help me. portal does NOT work. can’t dispose of certain things on your dang list until weeks of dedicated manpower exhausted. when things supposedly fixed, they will not tell you what the issue was or how they fixed it AND IT STILL DOESN’T WORK. Feedback on labs from provider ( and pretty much anything) involves an archaeological dig to unearth. reminders for appointments via text cannot be adjusted so for a 15 min earlier arrival ( thus pts get rather upset)...i’ve been told of billing quirks (it was supposed to be our savior or something). communication with other healthcare systems blows as no one else was stupid enough to get this. problem lists are imported from the previous (functional) ehr and translated into things like “rage and unsocialized behavior in an adult” when original dx was something like “anger issue”...leaving some pts in tears before you talk them down...some documents sent to you are never received. so hard to differentiate to a pt the origin of an error. you look like you don’t know jack to a pt when using this ehr saying things like (after several deep breaths)...” if they said they sent it, it’s very possible they did; however i do not see it ...i would recommend that they mail the document to me as if they fax it, it will be hijacked by the system....here is an addressed, stamped envelope for them to send it in...i greatly apologize for the delay this has caused in your treatment.”.
Marketed as a product for multiple disciplines and specialties, however, does not support occupational therapy services. OTs are told to use PT templates and configurations despite (1) potential conflicts with documentation for reimbursement and (2) being initially told that OTs were a supported discipline.
Account managers are not useful as they refer back to the service center for all issues. It is an endless cycle. Not knowingly, we were not set up properly before launch, and despite repeatedly telling the AM that the system wasn't sufficient for us and that we had to work harder to make it work for us, 7 months later we find that ours is not configured as it should have been. This was discovered after connecting in The community on The resource hub, which is another brush off that The managers refer clients to repeatedly, as well add o-help. There has been no response on this or even consideration of trying to keep a client happy by an account manager.
The system is severely lacking and counterintuitive, and if individuals make suggestions for improvement, they are "voted on" for consideration, even if the suggestions or requests are standard in the industry or required by governing bodies. Many requests and improvements are not made. We truly question is up to date and compliant.
Clients are told to create templates, or modify current (such as a standard facesheet), by coding them independently. Most medical practitioners (1) are not coders and (2) are not paying for a service that requires more time and effort than less. I was actually told by a higher level account manager that the solution could be to hire an outside coding agency to complete this task (vs it being standard in the existing product or have a dedicated person in Athenahealth that assists with coding needs).
The therapist reviews in the hub are not favorable. Individuals considering purchase of system would never know how many years of complaints exist and "make it work" scenarios. Unfortunately, changing EMRs is not simple and quick and is often costly. The billing portion is fair but mistakes are still made with submission requiring extra time in "hold" and delays in reimbursement. AthenaClinicals is just horrible.
There is a definite environment fostered within Athena that is brush off, dodge issues, let clients figure it out, and if they leave "oh well." We are disheartened and infuriated at the same time. If our practice had the same reviews, both public and internally, I would be very ashamed, take a step back,
and wonder where things went wrong, let alone REALLY wrong.
Bottomline: if anyone sees this who is considering Athena, regardless of discipline, go with another service provider. We as existing clients see ALOT in the community feedback on our resource hub. You will be entering something that you will then be prepared to get out of with excess cost.
Practice management reports and features are in abundance if that is your priority. The reminder call system does what it is supposed to. Community section in resource hub lets you know that others are just as frustrated and upset. Most of the customer service reps are very pleasant and helpful when the functionality or configuration is there; of it is sub par and missing, they do apologize.
The clinical documentation product is terrible. Supports physician- based practices vs rehab/OT/PT (though clients can see comments on product for all disciplines). Lack of quality templates that are compliant with regulatory agency requirements. Lack of feedback options. Lack of support. Account managers do not actually help to manage any issues you have with product. Very time consuming to call in for support repeatedly. Athenahealth clearly does not review feedback on community resource hub. Individuals that process Athenafax can be lazy and not process items with documents clearly identified with Athena identifiers/ printing, leaving in review for practice to handle (extra work). Honestly...too many cons to list.
On 7/14, I was notified by a member of our clinical staff that the entire practice would need to go through this training, that it wasn't only for the nurses and physicians. I called Athena for verification and was told that only nurses and physicians needed to follow the training guides.; that it would not affect Billing or any other department. When I pulled the individual within my practice who pointed this out to me to discuss the issue with the Athena rep on the phone, we pointed out that there was special training specifically for the Front Desk Receptionists. It was also mentioned that the Classic view would go away, leaving a Non-Clinician and Clinician view. These affect the entire practice. The rep changed his answer to it may be beneficial to let your receptionists know of this training, but no one else needs it. I went home that even and sat through all of the training. Out entire staff did need to review this information, clinical staff needed Clinical information while clerical staff needed the Front Desk piece because it touched on many things that everyone uses: how to find documents, how to find tasks, how to change views, etc. Friday I sent all clerical staff an e-mail letting them know that training needed to be completed by Monday evening as we had been mislead by Athena, that it wasn't just clinical staff that needed this training, that this new rollout would affect everyone. 7/19 was chaotic because the print margins were reset on many computers to enable shrink to fit with this update, which was not selected before. All of our forms were printing miniaturized until this was figured out. Formatting changes made prior reports read as garbled nonsense. Diagnosis codes were taken away from an area we reference on a daily basis. Instead of going to the chart and clicking on something we want to print (two clicks), it now takes at least 5 clicks (Chart>Visits>Date>Double Arrow>Full Encounter>Print). Half of the time, this does not even print and I have to open up Google Chrome to which it prints a few words and the top two lines of the dictation on page one and the rest of the dictation is on page two. Instead of being able to print 1 page (old facesheet) that has the demographics, insurance, and upcoming appt. on it for our facilities to load our patients into their system for injections, it is no longer an option. When you try to print similar page, the text overlaps and prints on top of each other. Summary: many useful features removed.
1) You can access the phone number from the chart.
2) You can reference visit notes while creating a patient case.
Having to click multiple places to get to a document that you used to be able to automatically view and print is extremely inefficient. Many useful features that were used on a daily basis have been completely taken away. Athena reps were also rude and untrained. One of our employees actually had to show them how to do something. This should have been tested in a test environment before rolling out live. IT should talk with the daily users prior to making a significant change like this.
Our practice has been using Athena for our practice management software for over 10 years and we implemented the Athenaclinicals EMR in 09/2012.
Athenaclinicals has made Meaningful Use a manageable task by providing us with resources such as a checklist, status list and recommendations to meet Meaningful Use. Also they stay informed about the latest regulations and changes so that we can focus more on treating our patients and managing our practice.
The billing functionality has definitely helped improve our A/R as well as assist us in tracking encounters to ensure we bill everything our providers do.
Their credentialing functionality has also been helpful in assisting with enrollment and credentialing verification.
The EMR and charting functionality is very comparable to other available software.
The biggest issue we have run into in the past year is with regards to customer service. Athena has changed the way they handle issues that cannot be resolved by your initial CSC call. The only way to "speak to" or contact the people working on your issue is via Athena email. Unfortunately, this leads to miscommunication, confusion, frustration and delays in resolution.
Completing certain tasks are more cumbersome than necessary, at least based on the opinions of our providers and staff. They feel they have to click more "buttons" and complete more "steps" to get to their end result eg. check-in, processing documents, charting.
Athena has so many different features and functionality that it is difficult to make sure you are utilizing the software to it's fullest capabilities for your practice and specialty.
Athena has a great and robust reporting module especially helpful for practices attesting for meaningful use and PCMH, the problem with this is that it is difficult to do on your own and requires a Customer service ticket which takes a long time to get answered.
The charting is easy once you get your templates setup. If you do not do this on the front end (during implementation) getting help to do later is impossible and you will need help as it is not very intuitive. Many templates were lost during one of their upgrades without warning so it has been difficult to rebuild them. We have grown and added locations while on Athena and because they are your primary biller if they do not verify all of the credentialing that you send them you cannot bill. This was problematic because you cannot directly talk to the persons doing this there is always a go-between with Athena.
I love the EPCS for patients requiring a schedule, as a pediatrician I have quite a few ADHD pts and nice not to worry about assessing where prescriptions really lost! No need for paper. However, with one of their upgrades, I can no longer save medications so must write sig and quantity for every medication each time which is time-consuming.
Lastly, the promised billing has failed our practice. The workflow was to be we would not need a biller and get increased revenue with clean claims. We see a large Medicaid population and were not told that they had virtually no experience with that and even going to them with specifics as to the problem it would still take upwards a month to fix. Not only have we not gotten rid of our biller but increased his time as many Medicaid claims he submits thru the portal yet Athena charges us for this. The account managers are unavailable in meetings vacations or no longer with the company.
Pros: Reporting, Easy charting once template is created, EPCS, Integration of charges to the superbill
Cons: Customer support, E-prescribing, Not reasonable expectation to not need a biller, Overpriced, not a good fit if you are a practice that adds services, providers, or locations, must use their bank to receive payments and then it takes 1-2 days to get transferred to your business account
Our office went live with Athena Communicator and Collector in September of 2013. We had previously used 2 other billers and schedulers/management systems at that point and I have to say we are all glad that we chose Athena. The customer service department and our implementation team were beyond helpful. We appreciate that Athena is ever changing, and always looking to improve the ease of business and quality of care. As we know, no product is ever perfect, but Athena comes pretty darn close. The team at Athena actively listens to concerns and suggestions from their customers. I have dealt with many companies who "understand your struggle" but can't do anything about it or "are very sorry, but that's just the way it is". Athena, is NOT that type of company. They have interactive message boards that you can talk to other practices having issues and also Athena team members, so together a plan can be created to alleviate the problems you are having. Not to say EVERYTHING can be as perfect as you want it, but there have been enough changes in Athena where the direct action was taken from a concern or complaint that makes us as a customer feels valued and understood. A real testament to Athena should be that we looked at their Clinicals product in 2013, but our provider didn't see enough of what he was looking for to change from our current EMR to Athena Clinicals at that time. However, at the end of 2016 we revisited the idea and did some more demos, the Clinical product has changed so much (in a good way) that we have chosen to switch and are looking at implementation in March of 2017. All of our office staff and our providers feel that Athena is a solid product that helps us streamline our workflows and provide better patient care. We are very excited to embark on our next Athena journey and couldn't be happier with the products and support.
Ease of Use, Rarely any system downtimes or system issues, Receptive customer service and account managers, Transparency you can see everything that has happened and who did it
This product is the most costly that we have used, however, we have definitely made more in revenue by using Athena than not.
My business partner and I have had extensive experience with AthenaNet and EMRs, in general within a spread of different medical practices. AthenaNet is similar to any other EMR in that it works really well for some practices and not as well in others.
The billing component is extremely beneficial though, I have found that some of my offices have thought that is does ALL billing. (Again, I think it's a lack of understanding and initial training.)
The access to helpline is great. Having a live person to talk to has been helpful. (It's sometimes can take longer periods of time to come to a solution but they normally stay patient until there is a solution. I've been on the phone with help desk for up to 3 hours before.)
Educational videos are always available for staff to turn back to. Live in-office trainings would help AthenaNet to be more successful. (I had a cardiologist go-live with AthenaNet then 3 weeks later returned back to his original EMR. I believe it was because of the lack in training. Physicians don't typically take time to watch training videos.)
The EMR continues to evolve based changes in health care.
AthenaNet assigning scanned paper work to patient charts.
Common complaints we hear from physicians, staff and admin - there is a lot of scrolling within a patient chart. Yes, you can jump using links but it takes a lot of retraining old habits. Quality Reports can't be adjusted - such as running reports for quality measures for different time periods for in-office comparison. Dates within reports don't show up in the header when printed. Defaults are practice wide and can't be adjusted.
Hi. Quite surprised to read other reviews actually. Im a pod... starting in private practice with emr "Cerner"... hated it. always have, always will...although it has been at least 2 yrs since I've seen Cerner in action. My wife, another doctor, actually uses practice fusion...one of the many free online web based servers. I started with athena bc to me, starting out on my own (literally), it was the easiest one-stop-shop. Learning the system is not hard, it is quite easy. From beginning to end, I can literally -meet/greet/take copays, finish intake, perform and document my exam, treat the patient, proceed to check out and r/s and finally to billing- in all of...maybe 10-15 min...thats with NO staff. Done, seen, treated, billed! I like that. If a new patient, will be bit longer of course with intake, BUT that step is very rate limiting depending on who you have doing it.
I find ease, use and flow to be great. Rarely glitches, but yes there are some. Can easily work on 3-4 charts at once.
ease of use, it really is good.
work on multiple charts at one time
rarely glitches or down time
Athena is certainly closer to a "practice fusion"...
very user-friendly..set up more like navigating to/through a web browser/site then "medical-based program"
can use your own templates, but they claim to have many (i ONLY use my own- never even once tried athena's)
CS is NOT like most reviews are stating... I have used the Athena CS/help/claims helpline many, many, many times, and 90% of the time, issues gets resolved quickly.
the cost of course. the larger you are/more pts/billing, perhaps better the rate you will get.
that is the only thing for me really.... do I want a free based software that I may or may not like, and then pay for a biller? or pay for my own cloud-based billing software....? and then, of course, you have to check up on everything.... hmm. Its less worry and less need for staff if you ask me. Again, I just started out and although I have a steady flow of pts, my opinions may change if I were seeing 45-60 pts/day with a staff of 5-10 behind the counter....
For me, now, I am more than comfortable with Athena. I like them and I like the program.
Only real con I see (which I think u can manage/manipulate/pay for on different basis) the pt statements. Meaning, pts that owe the office money... Athena apparently sends out THREE (3) statements per month (..think ?this is correct). The issue is, the office has NO CONTROL over which statements go out. For a real example, I had a pt call the office re his bill/statement for $. Another patient called in for one that had a balance of $ of course probably copays and coinsurance, however, Athena completely misses sending other statements for much larger balances. So, it's kind of random. I have multiple pts with an outstanding balance or even $!
I like that athenahealth is always getting ahead of new changes in the medical community so that we are easily transitioned into, say, ICD 10. I like that athenahealth is really pro-active in helping the medical practices to streamline their office to meet these changes head-on without fear of being left hanging out to dry on, say, getting paid on time. I like that athenahealth provides you with a terrific support group of CSC folks who will take your calls or read your questions/inquiries and find the answers for you. I mean, honestly, I usually don't have time to go and look for the answers myself in the library and training videos (although for those who do have the time, these are great tools) so I am so very, very glad that I have a great support team behind me. I like that athenahealth allows us to share medical information for our patients, after their consent, to other medical practices and/or hospitals easily because the patient's medical care is the most vital aspect in this service community. I like that athenahealth is really very respectful of the fine line between helping the practice flourish and not stepping on toes or overstepping their role.
Lately, when using the message board for asking questions that aren't too urgent, I find that the response takes more than a couple of weeks. It used to be that the turnaround time was a week at the most. When the response is so late, I forget what my questions were and I have to go back to re-investigate so I can resolve the issue. I've read a lot of other posts about calling in and being put on hold for a long time. When we first started with athenahealth, I did not have that trouble and I was calling upwards of 10x a day on a daily basis for a while. Lately, I rarely call but thankfully, I haven't been put on hold for more than 5 minutes. And I still do like having the ability to call when my question is urgent and I can get the help I need right away.
The prompts that help with RAF scores and star ratings is useful. I like the minichart feature and the meds data that pops up so I know what meds pts have been filling or getting elsewhere. I like the format for the assessment/plan and ordering of labs/studies/meds. I like that you can trend data like vital signs and labs.
THE BOX TO VIEW RESULTS IS A SMALL WINDOW IN WHICH YOU CAN ONLY SEE A LITTLE PART OF THE LABS AT A TIME AND HAVE TO SCROLL FOREVER TO SEE THE WHOLE THING. PLEASE ATHENA CHANGE YOUR VIEWING SCREEN FOR LAB RESULTS.
The scrolling action for everything is cumbersome and wastes so much time; there should be tabs that take you to each part of the note- the "jump to" feature is not the same and only works when you're working from the "exam" tab. It's hard to find old labs/notes/results unless you scroll, scroll, scroll through past notes. The more times the pt has been there the more scrolling you have to do to find things. There is no tab for imaging studies/labs/consults, etc.
**There is also no way to mark the incoming labs/documents/etc in your inbox to know that you've already viewed them; you may want to hold on to them for some reason but if you can't label that you've viewed it, the next time you open your inbox you keep reopening the same ones to check if it's an old or new document. This wastes time because each click takes a while to load. The system often seems slow even though our internet connection is fine. Jumping from one thing to another causes you to lose the window you were in.
There is no easy way to mark charts you want to make reminder notes for yourself on; you have to make a pt case each time and that crowds your pt case box. When someone replies to a pt case or sends a lab/imaging result back with notes it ends up back in my box but not marked as read or unread and sometimes I dont open because I think it's still the same old note/result I'm saving.
If I want to make suggestions to Athena there's no one to talk to about these things.
It is integrated EMR, Billing and Care Management that does help address PCMH, MU, and other complex Government/Insurer issues. First pass billing and payment process works fairly well and seems efficient when there are no errors (see below). Cost is reasonable for the services provided.
The base code is absolutely awful. This leads to repeated problems with your interface, incompatibilities, and slow response. If you surf employment sites you will find this a recurring theme noted by ex-employees.
The product has many features that increase the chance for human error and patient harm, and the company refuses to admit or deal with these issues, in fact compounding basic problems in the years I have used it. This user interface would be unacceptable in the aviation industry. Isn't healthcare supposed to be as safety-driven as aviation? Medication lists are not presented in a user friendly way and don't show the difference between what patient was taking before the visit and what has been changed or started/stopped in a meaningful way during and after the visit. This is one of the most dangerous aspects of this software, but by no means the only patient safety issue. When you get a request for a refill, it takes several clicks and screens to find the med history before you make the refill, encouraging you to skip this vital workflow, and penalizing you for following this standard of care if you do follow the workflow.
My documentation time per patient after the visit is about 10-12 minutes on average. I refuse to boilerplate my documentation - I deliver personalized care. I have tried to get dictation software from the athenahealth partner Dragon which I believe would shorten this to about 1 minute, but 2 months ago I made my first request to Dragon and still have not heard back after 4 additional attempts from within and outside of athenahealth. If you by Dragon direct, you don't get full interoperability, according to athenahealth. Right now I have zero interoperability.
Too many clicks. I quote another provider who switched to another EMR locally when I asked why he switched out.
Patient Portal does not allow patient to upload a graphic. "Hey Doc, is this a mole I need to worry about?" "Here's what my incision site looks like, is it OK?" "This is the pill the pharmacy gave me, it looks different" and "What the heck is this rash?" are questions you can answer quickly saving patients and you time and effort with other EMR portals. Not athenahealth.
A trusted partner that helps us both our clinical and business model so we can successfully care for our pediatric patients and keep our doors open. I like the model that they don't make money unless we do so they just don't sell us software and forget about us and the needs of our practice. Having them constantly monitoring the healthcare environment, researching and developing products and tools means we stay on the cutting edge and can survive no matter what is sent our way by insurers, contracts, regulators and government.
Hard to answer this question because there is very little we don't like. Sure do we wish they would provide us with more developmental scored screens on the portal and help us to become even more paperless. It is not a doc in a box and the user needs to be engaged and collaborate with athenahealth to utilize and optimize the product. I don't see this as a negative. Athenahealth is growing at 30% per year and we need them to keep their pulse on the not losing the service model and support they have built their co-sourcing model on. Healthcare management has gotten more complicated and cumbersome and bridging the gap with what Athena has to offer and what practices need is a must.
Software is web based and accessible from any computer connected to the web. Integrates document handling as well as notes and billing into one package.
I reviewed a lot of products over the years and the basic design principle is what I was looking for.
Our experience was simply unfathomable. We were on this product for just less than one year.
Training and setup takes 3 months, not unreasonable but also they don't really understand small practices and how to train them. While various types of software are something I'm familiar with, and I found templates easy to make as well as modify, we were misinformed about what we were getting, and many of the bad experiences posted here were also experienced by us. We vetted this product as well as we could. We did a site visit, everyone we talked to was very happy with it. However, about the time we went on the product we understand that we were not alone in what followed, but it took weeks of searching to locate the others. Prior users, who had been happy also reported to us that they were struggling with it now. Another clinic in our town was struggling, one of their staff told me that they "hated it" but they apparently are not willing to speak out openly.
We were experienced EMR users, having used more than one product and having 13 years of experience.
Vendor training and support staff do not really understand their product, nor can they really help with other than simple questions. If there is a functional problem, you are just out of luck. They are just wasting your time online much of the time. We spent hours on the phone, week after week after week. Months of heavy, unbelievably hard and long days, working 15, 18, 21 hours in a day, and still unable to get encounters done. Over 100K in unsubmitted billings, unable to close the encounters. We kept customizing the workflow, adding encounter plans, adding templates, and the system kept getting slower, and slower, and slower, by the last month we were getting dropped off 20-30 times a day and the system was not responding to us for agonizingly long periods of time. Tech support absent, like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain, saying everything is functioning well. We had one good month, only one, which deluded us into continuing to try to work with them. Three account representatives in 8 months, none of them did anything but the last one, who actually visited our office and told us we had not been informed of a problem using our OS and Athena, and that we "should have been told." Later, he retracts everything while on the phone with his supervisor saying "I was wrong."
My patients repeatedly told me that the patient portal was so slow that they just stopped using it.
They blamed our ISP first (we used it from 5 different locations with around 18 different computers), then it was our network, my staff, me, and in the end it was "something wrong with" my equipment but not a problem on their end. Complete and utter denial of a problem with the software.
My staff hours rose by a minimum 20-30% on Athena, not decreasing as we expected, my hours nearly doubled, my ARNP quit because she wasn't able to see patients fast enough to actually make an income, she was working 8-12 hours a day to see 8 patients. Staff informed me that misfiling of documents by Athena and their having to refile them was taking 2-3 times longer than if they simply filed them all themselves. This misfiling continued despite our efforts to get it corrected and despite some documents having the actual filing category in large bold print at the top of the page so they wouldn't have to figure it out.
We spent unbelievable amounts of time logging in, getting kicked off, getting unresponsive screens, and watching the "Wheel of Time" (apologies to the late Robert Jordan but he and his writing team haven't seen anything like the "Wheel of Time" that we experienced). It could take longer to submit a billing than it actually took to see a brief patient. It could take longer to document a visit for a complex patient than it took to see them.
This product could do it, but it was nonfunctional to much of the time.
We tried to get to talk directly to the technicians, they would not allow us, we tried to get in contact with the higher management and the people we were working with terminated our contract 11 months in, giving us the required three months notice. Three to four weeks later the system became essentially unresponsive most of the time, we had to either close immediately and declare bankruptcy or go back to our old EMR. We went back and pulled out of the mess.
It was to late though, I closed my practice just 10 days ago, after 14 years, I was not able to accumulate enough financial reserve to attempt another transition before ICD 10 goes into effect.
In my office, a 14 year old server, lowest cost Dell from 2001, single processor, 2 GB of RAM, handling outgoing faxes, importing incoming faxes from a Brother MFC, all incoming documents, an entire record system, a document handling library service with literally scores of thousands of documents in an electronic filing cabinet, with literally probably hundreds of thousands of pages of documentation, and my entire library of documents from 1998 onward, was able to easily outperform the Athena product.
I worked hard to make sure we had a good platform on our end, we had a gigabit network, new cabling, gigabit switches and ethernet cards, SSD's on all our PC's, and more ISP bandwidth than a nearby 90 bed nursing facility has for their TV, PC's, and their staff to use...all for a small 1.4 FTE solo practice with 5 persons using it.
It didn't matter, the system was not responsive.
Customer support is really responsive and easy to get ahold of. Unfortunately, the level of expertise of the customer support staff is variable, so often, they do not know the answers to the questions we have. Billing is a pretty common area of issue here.
I was assured that this program had a lot of podiatry based templates and that they were simple to modify. However, there are very few templates for my specialty, and trying to make or change a template is frustrating! It takes an hour at least to do one template. And, you cannot use the same template choice more than once in a template, so if you are trying to chart two feet, good luck!
The EMR takes forever to implement (11 weeks). I think that our implementation manager did not do a very good job of setting us up, so we have been having to try to learn everything on our own, which is frustrating and time-consuming when we are busy trying to see patients.
There is a lot of typing that has to be done during patient visits, which takes a lot of time and slows my pace and ability to see as many patients as I would like. Trying to just put in CPT codes takes forever. Also, save your work every minute because there is no auto-save on this program and I have lost so much information!
Do not believe it if you are told that Athena does your insurance credentialing for you. We have had to do it all ourselves. And you cannot pick and choose what claims are dropped for payment; it is all or nothing, so have a lot of working capital available while you credential.
EFT (electronic funds transfers) have to be done through US Bank. We use Wells Fargo, so I have to do money transfers, which take a couple business days to process, and that is a real pain. We have also found out the hard way that unless we track each individual claim ourselves, secondary insurances may fall through the cracks, leaving money on the table that we have to find and process ourselves. I fear that our income is not going to improve (contrary to their claim that they improve collections by 8%) and, in fact, that we will potentially lose money.
Our paper usage has increased substantially. You cannot just scan documents into the program. You have to fax them to Athena, and they sort them and place them into the patient's chart. However, you have to have a front cover and back cover bar code for each fax you send them so that a one-page fax becomes three pages.
E-prescribing is hit or miss, so I have to double check that all e-scripts actually have gone through. Also, we get numerous complaints about how complicated the patient portal is.
It is cloud based.
The Resource Hub connects you with other users that help you devise work arounds to handle the issues with the software.
The Classic Version was very customizable, easy to learn, easy to use. The Streamlined Version is a washed down version of what their Classic was. Their idea of Streamlined is to limit the customization ability, to make each office workflow the same despite specialty and to code the program to look more like an App. You will be encouraged to post suggestions on an internal board for updates and changes but even if hundreds of users agree with you that won't mean they will make a change. You lose a lot of control. There are issues with offshore posting and you will not be able to talk to someone about these issues. The training is all videos that are not specific to your office type. Account managers change often and will route you to call the Customer Service Center instead of answering questions. The reps at the Customer Service Center after often nice enough but the internal training seems to be lacking because you are often waiting weeks for an answer to something and/or something that is obviously a big issue is disregarded and you will be told that it is working as designed. The streamlined roll out, support, and willingness to work with the clients is disappointing to say the least. They took a decent product and they wrecked it and give no option to delay or keep the product that actually worked right. Also there is no tech support for their patient portal which has a lot of issues and my practice fields a great deal of phonecalls from patients who have trouble accessing it.
We've been using Athenahealth since 10/2010. The first year of transition took some preparation each evening before seeing the next day of patients BUT entering the notes was my pre-visit preparation and I really got to know my patients! We designed our templates, I write and use templated notes for results - my patients get their results within hours after I receive them, and their PCP gets a copy of my note after each visit. No more calls/postage - and I have documentation that our patient opened my note and received her result!
Patients appreciate our getting things "right" and enjoy have access to their chart through the portal. Since 10/11, I walk out of the office 5 minutes after my last patient leaves; all the bills are dropped as patients leave. I do about 15-20 minutes of online charting and calling on days I'm not in the office - from the airport, on vacation, etc. Minor issues are handled by email. The last of our paper charts is scheduled for shredding soon!
It is designed for me. Information is at my fingertips and I can personalize each visit just as I did with paper. No filing, no searching.
Very helpful have Epocrates built into the Rx field.
I've never had an issue with support not addressing my issue.
If you don't type, you won't appreciate any EMR - I take advantage of HPI, notes and Assessment fields to write/type the same note I would write in the past. (Now it's legible.)
Miss having Up To Date coordinated with the chart.
The system has been "out" only once in our experience - fortunately, Athena was very responsive and we were running again before we found pen/paper.
EMRs are dinosaurs and no other industry would accept the dysfunction that we do (because CMS forces us to). Athena updated in May 2016 and now it is even more functional. I have a solo practice. I have ADD and scanning up and down the page to add details was exhausting. Now the sections (Review/HPI/ROS/PE/A&P) are at the top and I can go back and forth easily. If the patient gives me more details during the A and P then I just click on HPI and add the details, then click on A and P again. No scanning. While I am working on the progress note, I can go to diagnosis list, med list, lab and x-ray results, previous visits without going out of the note. The day is much less painful. Unfortunately, I am paying way too much and they will not renegotiate so be aggressive before you sign up. Customer support is good. As the provider base has grown, the support gets less effective. I know more than many of the support staff. They tell me things cannot be done and I have to figure out, often by mistake, how to do what I want. The implementation coordinator did not understand much of what she was doing and after implementation, it is almost painful to fix basic things. Much of it has not been fixed. The first year I almost went under financially and I spent all my savings to survive. My revenues are still not what they were. It did not help that Athena lost $ worth of checks and did not help me get them re-issued.
Ease of completing progress notes. Really really easy referrals. Accessibility of lab and imaging results. Consult notes not lost. Nothing lost. Confirmations by the system. Eligibility checked repeatedly. They have an interface with all the labs already so you don't have to pay to reinvent the wheel.
I hate the letter format and cannot get it fixed. The financial piece promised much more than it actually does.
We have been with Athena now for about 5 years. This is the first and only EMR I or my staff have experience with so we have nothing to compare it to. As with anything, Athena has its pros and cons. When you call customer service, hold times are typically short and you speak to helpful people. When we first started, and up until recently, Athena was very easy to use, intuitive, and everything was at the tips of your fingers, as far as the chart and scheduling, until they implemented what they call Streamlined. It's not streamlined, at all. It's terrible. It is very difficult to use, to find documents, and it's not easy to use or intuitive. And they force you to label documents which are very time consuming and our office doesn't benefit from it. Streamlined has slowed down everyone from the doctors to the administrative staff. It has added an additional 5-8 minutes to tasks. When referring patients to other doctors it was extremely simple until streamlined. Now it is extremely difficult. Check in takes way to long with the many many clicks you must do. They have changed the insurance packages and combined many that shouldn't be and it makes it very difficult for claim follow up and to run reports. The billing aspect is a bit more difficult, always has been. You must watch the posting team of Athena. They make many mistakes, such as billing the contractual write off to the patient, double posting payments, repeatedly asking for information like the log in info after its already been provided, not posting remits that were sent to them, posting to the wrong accounts, writing off balances that are payable without you knowing. You get the picture.
Pleasant customer service reps
Athena will submit claims
Posting team makes many errors
Not user friendly
Charting is very difficult
Intake is time consuming
- SO easy to use
- Has excellent and easily accessible customer support
- Has a system to "vote" for new ideas and improvements from users
- Maximizes workflow and efficiency
- Allows for fair amount of customization for organizational needs
While Athena as an organization has a platform to vote on and suggest ideas, they seem less interested in improving the product that they have and more interested in moving forward as the EHR of the future. While I appreciate their aspirations, as a user, I think it would behove them to take a pause and a deep listen to what the users are asking for to improve upon what they already have. The product they have is great, but there are small glitches and ways in which it could be even more smooth and seamless and maximize profit for the users. A great example is that they don't have a well developed way of interlinking CPT2 codes to the necessary places. All this has to be done manually by the users and it is a very clunky and time consuming process. CPT2 codes are the way of the future where insurance companies will be utilizing them to quantify quality. If Athena continues to ignore this gaping lack of service, they will lose clients to other programs (i.e. Epic) which have integrated this process more fully. Athena could benefit from not just listening but acting on what FQHCs have been telling them for years as ultimately this will put them ahead of the game and prepare them for the future of medicine.
5 years ago, during the quality reporting for reimbursement, Athena made it so simple and easy that i was shocked to learn that it took a fellow friend 2 months to complete her reporting where it took me 30 minutes. providing patients with detailed information on their insurance benefits and the life of claim creates better communication and cohesion for the clinic/patient relationship. as a provider, the easy customization for templates, use of templates and the ability to actively follow medical orders (referrals, lab orders, pharm scripts) and their order created-results received "circular completion" making quick response corrections easier as well. having online doctor information, calculating by type of physician, practice, distance from your location and easy searches is a delightful feature for scribes and physicians alike. i have used an number of EMR systems, web-based and online, and this is by far the best i have ever used.
from the clerical input, insurance checking/info response, patient input, dx order features, sign off and the visual, detail of the LIFEspan of a claim, orders require "circle completion," the ease of quality reporting requirements...i could go on an on with the amazing functionality features of this program.
it is expensive, but it eliminates the need to hire for areas of administration. what I would pay for 1-3 people to do, Athena provides an entire team of people, thus creating a quicker turn around time for appeals, the need to call insurance companies. the implementation period is overwhelming, and going live will make you question yourself and your desicion. but, so worth it.
I like the fact you can Athena fax records but you can only fax 10 pages at a time through it. More than that it said it was to large to Athena fax. I like that it uses a scanner for ID cards and ins cards. Just keeps a pic of it, does not upload info from the cards while scanning
Most everything! Still need a biller! I don't know what really I am paying for with this large % they are taking from me.. We work most claims our self. When they say you have a manager to help, they just refer you to the csc.. Which is the 1800 hotline help. Most times they don't know the answer and 1 question takes 15 min to solve. They always say "let me put u on a 5 min hold while I find an answer"
When I need to schedule it is not user friendly. I have to delete an apt to reschedule. Not a good flow.
Now about refunding overpayments. The office has to do it! Again! This is the help Athena states.... When a claim develops a credit balance, the OVERPYMT kick code is applied and the claim moves to OVERPAID status. Then I need to review the claim and investigate whether a payer intends to recover the funds and then determine the appropriate response.
Clients are responsible for working claims with insurance credit balances (overpayments). This includes contacting the payer, reviewing EOBs, and initiating takebacks or refunds.
There is no support at all!!! Everyone points the finger. Manager says call csc.. And csc cannot get answers.
We did not get paid for 3 months when we started back in December 2015. And once I can actually get money and fill my savings again for my business I will be finding a new Emr! The worst financial decision I ever had was going w Athena and believing they are good with billing.
Once you start with Athena you feel trapped because you have to stick it out or you could go bankrupt. I will be glad to talk to anyone wanting to go with Athena and tell you about all my documented problems.
I started working w/Athena in Aug 2016. Since then our Admin has been advising me to call or web chat, search online & use the search features Athena has to offer. I have NEVER gotten a question resolved by calling. I end up walking the "helper" through the features & page. This was very upsetting. I've been put on hold for 20 minutes at a time while an "advisor" looks up a solution in their manual. As a result, I hung up in frustration. I then received an e-mail confirming my problem had been resolved. What a joke! That seems like it is just to appease the numbers needed. There are no training manuals, no courses to take & definitely nobody to teach a person how to use this program. A rep. who no longer works for Athena set us up years ago. This is not geared towards a specific practice, which is even more frustrating. Hopefully, you can respect the time I took to write this review & improve your program. It would be great to receive training as well, or at least an instruction manual.
billing features are simple; insurance program automatically runs insurances to see if they are active
I've been in Ophthalmology for over 15 years. As a scheduling manager, the features are not user-friendly, as I have worked with 4 different programs. Look to NextGen for template applications & features. It would be great to implement them to Athena. There are color coded columns, ability to apply templates over templates without taking out exception days, ability to write a VISIBLE book note at the top of the doctor's schedule to alert the schedules, etc. Also, the features include looking a multiple doctors schedules at a time and even ability to view several different books or multiple doctors!
I have been with AthenaHealth for 5 years, and it has been significantly better than my previous system. Very robust system, but takes time to learn the functions. Transition to streamlined version was difficult at first, but actually does save time and makes sense, and is mirrors the actual patient encounter better.
It has taken away the work of the office for attaining Meaningful Use. Report creation allows you to drill down on clinical information or financial information easily. Patients love the ability to communicate with the office on their time. Much less time calling patients to remind them of their bills or appointments. Athena does your filing for you, or you can barcode documents and they automatically get filed correctly.
System takes a long time to master. Sometimes have to wait on hold for support (not in India). Billing and follow-up still needs to be done by office, even though the bills go out electronically by athena. Athena does not do very much to follow up on the problem bills, and will not contact patients, other than to send reminders of bills due.
Our office has been using Athena since 2007. We first started with the collector ( billing and scheduling) it made the entire process easy with the ability to see if there were any mistakes before the claim was sent out. In 2011 we started in the clinical (EHR) and I can say without reservation that it is by far the most user-friendly system I have ever worked with. From the management point of it there is nothing better than getting a bill and knowing that there are no hidden fees. Also, it was a revelation to finally get an upgrade without having to pay extra for it.
I wish there was just one thing that I can say sticks out in the pro column however that would not be true. Everything about Athena is a pro. From the way you can depend on the system, and how easy it is to use. To the people who work there. I have never had a bad experience when dealing with the customer service center.
Sometimes it does take a few minutes to get to the customer service center. There may be times that you may need to be transferred to someone else but for the most part that does not happen often.
I work in an internal medicine office. We deal with any and all kinds of medical issues. We also deal with any and all kinds of insurances. We have an integrated Athena product of scheduling, clinical and billing. I can navigate from billing issues and re submissions, to finding when a patient had his last tetnus shot, to printing out an order for a mammogram. The ease, fluidity and quality of the electronic medical records is unsurpassed only by the customer service. I thank God everyday for Athena because my life as an office manager is made 200% easier by Athena.
Just today I had a patient who needed his medical records for a specialist. I was able to fax his records within ten seconds to the other doctor and didnt miss a beat. I also can make reports on any number of issues that are important to the practice. The clinical part of the EHR is practical, intuitive and gives you access to so many aspects of the patient's needs; from quality updates on preventive care, current meds and history.
Athenahealthcare makes practicing medicine less stressful and more productive.
Easy to learn and easy to work with. Billing is great and the rules based system is so helpful and our errors are less than 1% because of it.
That my internet is not as fast as the capability of the EHR.