The days before Radiology Imaging Associates (RIA) employed a comprehensive practice management solution were challenging, to say the least. Extracting billing data was a struggle for the community-based radiology practice in Englewood, Colorado, but much has changed since implementing Merge Financials™, especially when it comes to billing workflow.
“We had too many manual processes,” said Cindy Fisicaro, RIA’s director of business systems. “We were the masters of workarounds and finding creative ways to get the system to give us some of the information our organization and our C-level administrators needed. The whole process was very challenging for us, because those administrators wanted data, and in our legacy system, it was very difficult for us to obtain.”
In addition, said Fisicaro, RIA’s legacy system created frustrating limits to how much data her team could access. For example, information within the system had to be archived as RIA brought in new business. This created what the team described as a “reporting nightmare.” Archived data had to be saved in a different location than the current data, so it was always difficult to get a quick and clear picture of all the organization’s billing information.
“I don’t think we could have grown our business the way we are growing today with the system we had,” Fisicaro said. “There were several limitations, and we had reached the point where we couldn’t even retain 18 months of data on our system because of our organization’s size. And we do a lot of analytical reporting and comparisons, so to not even be able to look at two years of data was a real problem.”
Moving to Merge Financials quickly fixed this problem for RIA. New business could be added to the system without automatically archiving other information immediately just to make space.
Sheila Carroll, RIA’s lead business systems analyst, said the company tested Merge Financials early on by adding an entire new practice to the fold. Volume increased by 25 percent, but the system handled the influx of new information so well that no new staff were needed.
“We were able to absorb all of that volume and we didn’t have to do anything on our side to compensate for that,” Carroll said. “We’ve actually grown tenfold since then, and Merge Financials has been able to keep us at the same level with regards to staffing as we’ve grown.”
The benefits of strong working relationships
While statistics are perhaps the most concrete way to express the impact of implementing Merge’s solutions, RIA is also very pleased with their working relationship.
Fisicaro said she and her team have always emphasized the importance of establishing strong connections with vendors. After all, if you can’t depend on a business, why would you want to work with them in the first place?
“Having that solid working relationship enables us to reach the person we need to resolve any problem,” Fisicaro said. “When my team calls Merge and says there is an issue, they recognize the importance of the matter and escalate it to the appropriate individual. Overall, Merge has been willing to work with us, partner with us, and when we do encounter issues, they help us find a resolution.”
Carroll recalled one experience with Merge she’ll never forget. The company wanted to watch RIA use its solutions in person, so they sent representatives to RIA’s Englewood offices, asked for any and all feedback, and then used that feedback to redesign its system where necessary.
“I can’t say I know of another practice management software that would go to that extent, to come to the corporate office, meet with the users, and see how the users are responding to the product,” Carroll said. “That’s why we choose to work with Merge.”
Fisicaro was quick to add that as a rule, she does not believe in blind loyalty to any company. For each solution RIA has needed over the years, she and her team have weighed the pros and cons of every available option. And when it came to Merge Financials™, Merge RIS™, Merge Dashboards™, Merge’s iConnect® Network Services, and others, RIA’s evaluation pointed to Merge as the best solution available.
“We always do our due diligence to evaluate other products, but Merge has always been very competitive and solved our problems,” Fisicaro said.
The importance of flexibility and control
Another major benefit of working with Merge, Fisicaro and Carroll agreed, is that Merge’s staff makes them feel that they’re in