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AppleCare Immediate Care was founded in 2004 in Brunswick, Georgia by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Melvin Deese. It is a one-state, private investor-held immediate care serving patients in middle and southern Georgia and is the largest operator of urgent care clinics in Georgia.
In 2011, Dr. Deese partnered with Med Equity and Greenridge Investment Partners. This partnership has provided AppleCare with additional leadership, infrastructure, and financial support. It also led to tangible results. AppleCare has more than quadrupled clinic locations in four years. In 2014, AppleCare entered into a joint venture partnership with Memorial Health to manage urgent care and occupational medicine services for the health system.
AppleCare Immediate Care was experiencing massive growth, but its previous EMR limited that progress as it could not handle all the clinics’ needs.
The previous system lacked an easy way to edit options or set permission levels, so standardization of care was a constant issue. It was also clear the old software was not designed with the needs of an urgent care facility in mind. Also, varied and inconsistent documentation meant patient and procedure information went missing or wasn’t documented correctly.
“When the company launched in 2004, there was an obvious need for on-demand care providers that could treat non-emergent health issues quickly and efficiently,” said Brittany Palardis, patient services manager at AppleCare.
“We had to act quickly to grow and meet that demand, but in order to achieve the operational excellence necessary for success we needed to find a true technology partner with scalable software solutions.”
AppleCare knew what it needed in an EMR: scalability, customization, and the ability to set documentation standards. Reviewing their options, AppleCare visited with Experity in Birmingham, Alabama. After their on-site visit, they knew the platform was the answer to their problems.
“Experity’s platform is a very user-friendly system,” AppleCare’s Shannon Phillips said. “We found that by improving the user experience, we also improved the patient experience. Having software that is easy to navigate and clearly provides all the information I need makes it easier for our physicians to treat our patients. The software also has made it easy to train staff and acclimate them to the system because it is so user friendly.”
Using Experity’s platform, AppleCare has standardized care, reduced wait times, improved chart documentation, and now reach correct E/M codes–passing internal chart audits with flying colors.
AppleCare took a phased approach to implementation, launching its new EMR with the help of super users who would staff each clinic location during the “go-live” phase and help the staff feel comfortable with the new technology.
AppleCare has seen a noticeable increase in efficiency since switching from the generic EMR to an urgent care-based platform. Wait times have dropped by 15 to 30 minutes per visit and the clinics reduced documentation times by an average of 20 minutes per chart. Additionally, Berry notes staff are completing documentation and leaving work on time, which was less common prior to the switch.
One of the biggest challenges AppleCare faced with its previous EMR was a lack of standardization. No user control settings existed, so templates didn’t have a standard base of information. Now AppleCare can choose which users have specific permissions–and can set template standards to a specific provider or even by location if desired.
Best of all, internal chart audits prove that with providers are reaching the correct documentation level to accurately reflect chosen E/M codes. This means AppleCare is receiving timely, correct reimbursements for the services they provide.
According to staff, control over our system settings and synchronizing it across all of our clinics has made expanding easier. “This platform has allowed them to build a template for opening new clinics, the foundation of which is the software platform.
They also appreciate their lab interface, which pulls results directly into the EMR, reduces paperwork and saves staff from scanning results.
In five years since AppleCare implemented Experity, the company has seen tangible results in speed and efficiency, while also streamlining documentation and billing.
Most importantly, AppleCare has built a relationship with a trusted business partner they feel comfortable growing and evolving with as a company.