Kareo is a more recent entry than some other EHR’s, going back to 2004 with Dan Rodrigues, a family medicine physician, setting out to build a better platform.
Today, over 50,000 current providers use Kareo, and for a total of 75,000 active users. At five US locations, with 545 employees, Kareo processes $18 billion in insurance claims, and secures 60 million patient records in 45 different specialties. Kareo serves to transform a paper based medical office into a digital enterprise.
Playing to its roots, namely that it was designed by a family medicine physician, Kareo focuses its efforts on independent practices, and not large hospitals and institutions, and even now is managed by a team of doctors, with an emphasis on ease of use.
At the core of any EHR is the EMR, and at the center of that is electronic charting, a burdensome task to clinicians, that weighs down the flow of patients in a busy office. Kareo is set up to make it simpler, and faster to create these notes, and get back to patient care. This is also supported by a robust Patient Portal, to share important medical and billing information with patients at any time- for secure communication, which automatically integrates into the electronic chart.
Telemedicine is an emerging technology, allowing for physicians to conduct visits remotely with video and voice for a sort of “Virtual housecall.” Done correctly, this is fully reimbursed by private payers. Kareo is on the forefront of technology as its Kareo Telemedicine module that provides the tools for this type of visit.
Workflow also gets enhanced. The Agenda Overview serves as a to-do list, which keeps track of items that need to be completed each day. The staff is also supported, with functions to upload documents, and transmit secure messages.
Billing is another core mission of Kareo, and is ICD-10 compliant. There is a module that supports electronic superbills that can be created with just a few clicks. The billing is entirely paperless, with electronic charting and billing, and charges can be directly entered into Kareo. Tools are also provided to help create “Clean claims,” that get paid faster, and with less rejections, thereby enhancing the practice’s cash flow.
Kareo does have some shortcomings, although less than some other platforms. One issue found is that while the administration of a vaccine in the office automatically brings up an automatic template for ancillary info to be entered, such as the lot and expiration date of the vaccine, this does not come up for other medications administered in the office. This should be streamlined to include any and all medications given in the office setting, and not just for vaccines.
Another gripe focuses on the ICD-10 code. Clinicians have been often confused with these codes, which grew to include approximately four times the codes of the former ICD-9 system. When choosing a code in Kareo, the most often used codes are not highlighted, or brought to the top. Nor do they automatically populate based on the clinician’s note, but rather the clinician is forced to wade through a multitude of codes just to locate the one that applies to their encounter.
The difficulty in saving Progress Notes has proved to be another vexing issue. While documents on other platforms get auto-saved to the cloud platform, Kareo does not do this. Therefore, if the clinician switches screens before manually saving the Progress Note it gets lost, creating a frustrating and time wasting situation that then the note has to be newly created from the start.
What is too commonplace in this industry, the pricing is opaque, and not upfront. It requires company contact to get any idea of the costs, making it burdensome to cross shop EHR vendors.
Annoyingly, when we filled out the information requested in order to obtain the pricing, and clicked on the “Get Pricing,” button, we again did not get a price, and only a canned response that “Someone from Kareo will be in touch soon to schedule a meeting. We look forward to helping you build a customized solution for your practice.”
Elsewhere, we gleaned that the starting price for Kareo is reportedly $80 (£63) per user per month.
There is a free demo, but no free trial.
Initial setup and onboarding gets handled via “Free 1-1 Success Coaching.” This serves as a single point of contact for a successful transition, to make sure enough support is provided to get things underway.
Afterwards, there is a choice of options. Live help can be obtained via Live Chat, and phone support possibilities, but it is restricted to business hours of 5 AM to 5 PM, Pacific Time. The other option, which is not time based is email support, which targets a 2 day turnaround time. Also available are webinars and documentation for reference as well. All of this support is included in the price without additional charge.
Kareo works as a SaaS through a web browser, with storage in the cloud. There is also software for installation on a computer platform, although only Windows, and not Mac. Similarly, a single mobile platform is supported, iOS, leaving out users of the Android platform. A key advantage of a SaaS is that the software updates happen on the back end, and not at the physician’s practice.
Kareo is an EHR built by physicians to streamline the workflow of a busy outpatient practice. Highs include electronic superbills, the telemedicine module for virtual housecalls, and the well done Patient Portal. Kareo’s misses focus on the difficulty in obtaining pricing, the challenges with entering non-vaccine office medications, and problems in entering ICD-10 codes for clinical encounters. For practices focused on outpatient, primary care, Kareo is a modern, and clean choice for clinicians.
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