Description

BiotechNC is a regional leader in providing individually designed and fitted prosthetics and orthotics for patients in North Carolina and several neighboring states. SciMed Solutions created PandoNet to help BiotechNC streamline operations, improve the customer experience, and save money. With SciMed Solutions, BiotechNC found an ideal partner whose commitment to finding the right solution matched their own.

Challenges

As a growing practice with many offices, BiotechNC faced several logistical challenges:

  • Calendar management was increasingly difficult, particularly because many appointments required matching a patient with multiple clinicians in a single visit, and because clinicians needed at-a-glance scheduling reports that involved multiple practitioners—a feature not available in existing software packages.
  • BiotechNC needed to share patient data among multiple practitioners and clinics in multiple locations, while complying with complex federal HIPAA regulations that govern healthcare data security.
  • Off-the-shelf medical software packages were also unsuitable for BiotechNC because prosthetics and orthotics clinics have billing systems and workflows that are distinct from all other medical practices.

The Solution

To meet the customer challenge, SciMed Solutions created PandoNet—a practice-management system that addresses virtually all of BiotechNC's scheduling and reporting needs in a way that saves time, increases accuracy, and improves data security. Process automation and strong, web-accessible reporting are at the core of PandoNet's design. Through a robust development process, SciMed ensured that BiotechNC staff could gain efficiencies without changing their established workflows or preferred documentation formats.

With PandoNet, BiotechNC is now:

  • Saving dozens of hours each month through reduced data-entry time for clinician and administrative staff.
  • Improving client satisfaction by reducing the client's need to provide their patient data multiple times and by speeding the process of managing appointments.
  • Ensuring higher data security and HIPAA compliance while simultaneously enjoying faster access to patient data via an easy-to-use interface.

Project Details

In recent years, BiotechNC has grown into an industry leader in prosthetics and orthotics. Naturally, this growth has created management needs and driven management approaches that stretch beyond existing industry practices. As CEO Mike Astilla describes it:

Compared to our industry peers, we are a larger-than-average practice with a leaner-than-average staff. We are always trying to create efficiencies as we serve approximately 200 patients each month. As the practice grew over the last decade, we found that logistics management - particularly around scheduling and billing - needed improvement.

The challenge was to find or come up with an application that worked the way our industry worked. Most of our industry was working with packaged software that was not designed for our industry and failed to work without an excessive number of tweaks or sacrifices. We also needed a web-based application that we could use across our multiple sites.

As SciMed began the PandoNet needs analysis, they took BiotechNC through a rigorous process that looked at both (1) their big picture desires and (2) their detailed constraints. As CEO Astilla recalls:

When we began the PandoNet development project, SciMed literally said, "Let's pretend it's software Christmas - you tell us the process and how your ideal software would work." We responded with some broad strokes and they peppered it with more questions to get into the detail. I remember saying "that's a very good question" to so many of their follow-up questions, which were always on point.

Process automation was one of the biggest levers for making PandoNet a success in managing calendar and patient data. Says Astilla:

Before PandoNet, our calendar, patient intake and patient management data were scattered across multiple software packages. The same data would routinely need repeated entry in different databases, and could not be accessed in more than one system until it was transferred manually.

Now, each piece of data is entered only once, and is immediately available across the office network. Multiplied over 200 patients per month, the efficiencies have added up quickly. That's a ton of time saved, and that's a big benefit in our industry. We've also reduced our legal risk under HIPAA by keeping all our data in one safe place. Before, we had our patient data in one software package for scheduling, and another for operations, and all hosted in different locations. Now it's all under one roof, under one protected server with a company that has a proven record of safely handling patient data. So that's another big benefit. Our next step will be to make PandoNet available to our network of offices in multiple cities and states, using a secure, web-enabled system.

To minimize the disruption of new technology adoption, SciMed also designed PandoNet in modules, with scheduling and reporting among the first to go live. Now that PandoNet is a solid success in these areas, SciMed and BiotechNC are ready to begin Phase II—a new billing system that will reduce both management time and errors (and their accompanying costs), while also making it easier to communicate with doctors and insurers about their shared patients. Says Astilla:

We are in a competitive market, and PandoNet will help us become the first-choice prosthetics and orthotics provider to many more doctors, payers, and patients. Reputation is everything, and ours will only get stronger as we become more efficient and more capable of communicating our value.

Testimonial

SciMed Solutions has always put us at ease. They have been approachable and have always listened with care. We never felt like a conversation was wasted, though they sometimes left us fatigued because we got so much work done!

Beyond the process of building software, SciMed also put us at ease about getting the project done on a timeline and budget that would make sense to us. After the first few meetings, they built us a plan and a list of options, with clear expectations of how much time things would take and how much the whole project would cost. Everything was out on the table, and that was pretty comforting as well.

One of the great things about SciMed is that they are big enough to get the job done, but not so big that they forget how to take care of their clients. They've been impeccably responsive whenever I've called with a question or concern. Really, the way they do their work mirrors the way we do ours - focused on taking care of customers, and doing things with higher quality and greater efficiency, all the time.

Mike Astilla, CEO, BiotechNC