A Discussion with Theresa Napierkowski, AZZLY Director of Implementation Services
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Tom Patton: Welcome to Talking Treatment™, the podcast that features healthcare experts, industry leaders, and treatment center providers from around the country. Presented by AZZLY®.
My guest for this episode is Theresa Napierkowski. Theresa is Director of Implementation Services at AZZLY. Before that, she spent over 25 years in healthcare spearheading Implementation Services teams for various Top-Tier EHR and Practice Management Vendors. She has successfully survived many EHR/RCM conversions, and training of hundreds of physicians, nurses, Counselors and support staff. Theresa applies a workflow-process analysis to the management of each conversion project, and adheres to a “train the trainer” protocol to make each super user a subject matter expert.
Theresa, we’re glad to have you on Talking Treatment.
Theresa Napierkowski: Well thank you, Tom. Glad to be here.
What Makes AZZLY Unique? | EHR, RCM, PM Platform for Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Providers
Tom Patton: Let’s talk about from your perspective as someone with this experience in implementation services, what makes AZZLY unique?
Theresa Napierkowsi: I think it’s all how we begin the process. We have a kickoff call where we set the stage for the expectation during the implementation. We also focus on who is our audience. They could be a treatment center, they could be in office, regardless. They can be also very unique from some of our other clients we work with. What are their needs? They all have an array of different needs based on either maybe how they’re currently conducting business, or maybe they’re a new venture. We also look at the size of the organization so that we can look at how we’re going to implement them. Are they a 40 or 150 user organization?
And from that we also look at the time frame needed to adequately implement them and get them going. And at the same time what are some of the tasks and milestones together with the project timeline so that our team meets according to what their team meets.
We also ask the question, “Why?” Why are they choosing AZZLY? Are they looking for an electronic health record because they’re on paper? Are they unhappy with their current vendor and looking for other opportunities that we may be able to offer?
We also focus very much on the accomplishments and the goals and objectives that we set during that call. We also look and make sure that not only AZZLY team members but the client team members are very well engaged. They have access to the project management tool we use so it’s open communication. We’re not sending multiple emails. We’re working on an application where we can instantly correspond back and forth, upload forms, and really make it easier for them to do that. And it also keeps them apprised of actual due dates and deliverable due dates so that we stay within the time frame.
How to Overcome Challenges While Switching to a New Electronic Health Records
Tom Patton: So then what are some typical struggles that come up when assisting clinicians change from one EHR to another, and how have you at AZZLY been able to overcome those challenges?
Theresa Napierkowski: One of the biggest challenge we have is when we have a client that’s on paper and now they’re moving to an electronic. So it’s a skill set. It’s a different way it impacts their workflow. You know they’re used to looking right at their patients or clients, however they refer to them, and now they may be on a device, so they have to be able to use a different skill set.
We really look at it in developing that skill set and getting them to sell on the point that it is a change, but with change we welcome opportunity – opportunity to streamline their workflow, maybe to identify gaps that they don’t even realize they have. Because they’re spending so much time on the paper, usually after the visit, now their day’s longer.
So we really try to make them more efficient. We have a belief that we want them to work smarter, not harder. So we train them to be able to document at the same time that they’re actually visiting with their patient, so that this way they’re not spending extra hours to do the documentation. So we find that that’s very successful, regardless of the of our audience and clients’ ages. Some, you know, it can be a young therapist to a middle age, regardless, but going from a paper to an electronic is definitely a skill set that they have to learn.
Or maybe they were with an electronic health record that wasn’t meeting their needs and maybe they had a negative experience. So we try to show them and to buy in that this is going to be a better experience with them joining AZZLY.
How AZZLY Lowers Stress for Clinicians Changing EHR Systems
Tom Patton: Now change usually means there’s some stress. People don’t like change. So how do you lower the stress for the people that you’re working with?
Theresa Napierkowski: You know, they’re definitely engaged. They give us a group of their implementation individuals, be it leadership, management, or those worker bees, and we work with them and guide them through the implementation.
We also introduce them pretty early to our e-learning platform. They have open access. They get to see the documentation, so that this way they can start to get familiar. You know, we all learn differently as adults. Some have to read, some have to do it at the same time, some have to be instructed. So we offer them the opportunity to learn in different ways.
We also keep and encourage open communication. I talked about the project management tool. At any point they can converse with us versus picking up the phone, getting our voicemail. Our eyes are always on the project timeline to ensure that we’re efficient in getting back to them.
So we find that all of these different things that we try to implement really helps with the stress.
Another thing is I have staff that have worked in facilities and provided either behavioral, mental, and/or addiction assistance with their clientele, so they can bring an actual user experience and win that respect level with the client. So that’s also a plus for us as well.
Unique Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Features in AZZLY Rize
Tom Patton: What are some features unique to AZZLY that benefit behavioral healthcare and addiction treatment providers?
Theresa Napierkowski: You know, we have a wonderful master library of forms. These forms are very much in detail. There’s different ways that they can fill the forms out within AZZLY. There’s either they can type their text, they can select drop downs, check boxes. So we try to configure it to make it very user friendly, but they have open access to it. That’s one very important one.
We also have some self scoring assessments, either those that we have found that we’ve gotten permission to use that we can build a configuration in and/or those that are open game for any EHR that we can implement which really helps them in giving better assessments and/or treatment plans for their clientele.
We also configure the forms based on their specific needs. So if we go into a new state where we have not been before, we utilize what they have to give us and/or because we’re in multiple states right now, we also have a very good part of the library that has those forms that are required by state.
We also work very closely with the Joint Commission and CARF programs, and a lot of our clients are encouraged and/or they get monitored by these two entities, so we have them look at our forms to ensure that we’re keeping up in our assessment tools that we actually offer to our clients. And then multiple criteria matching so that they’re better matching their patients to their needs in the clinician training, focusing on the workflow and making sure that they understand how to better utilize some of the important features that AZZLY has to offer.
An Implementation Process Designed to Make it Easier to Switch EHR Systems
Tom Patton: What then specifically about the implementation process itself at AZZLY do you think benefits providers making the switch from another system to AZZLY?
Theresa Napierkowski: Now the first thing is we’re an all-in-one. From your registration to your scheduling to your documentation in the EHR to billing. So they don’t have to have multiple vendors. They can just do everything they need with AZZLY or within AZZLY.
We also really focus on conducting a true work analysis. We need to understand how they’re currently doing business and/or how they envision them to do business and provide services. And also to keep them enclosed and improved efficiency, working outside of the HIPAA-compliant closed system.
So it’s very important that we know their workflow. And we train them by workflow. We don’t just say, “Here’s everything AZZLY has to offer” and they use it. We try to show them how they can implement those features within their daily routine.
We’re very intuitive. It’s one of the most intuitive products out there. We support as i said the workflow of that department. We want them to tell us how they’re doing business and assist them on either doing it better and/or maybe they are better and we’re just going to show them an easy way to use AZZLY to get and continue.
We also have a solid implementation and onboarding plan. As we talked about the project management tool, and that’s so important. You know, a lot of our clients are trying to manage the business and they’re also providing services, so they need the tool to be able to to manage that part of a business. And that’s what we can provide them. They’re designated an implementation specialist. We have people that support them, you know, during normal business hours, after business hours.
So i really think that we offer one of the best opportunities for clients and the willingness that we want to succeed as well as we want them to succeed at what they’re trying to do.
Advice for Treatment Centers Evaluating Electronic Health Record Systems
Tom Patton: What advice would you give to a treatment center owner or executive considering implementing a new electronic health record and practice management solution for their business?
Theresa Napierkowski: You have to evaluate the vendors and software products that you’re viewing to make that decision. Especially what is your current – if you have a paper process what is it? What are some of the reports that maybe you capture today on Excel spreadsheet and it’s manual because that’s the best way you know how to do it?
Is the vendor offering the ability to upgrade your way of doing your business and running it successfully? And also is it going to support your staff for the day-to-day operations that they have to be able to do and provide services to their clients? That’s very important. So they have to do their homework to find the vendor that fits them best.
Tom Patton: Is there any other information, Theresa, that you think would be valuable to the listeners of Talking Treatment?
Theresa Napierkowski: You know, as I mentioned a couple of items: I believe that we are well organized, streamline the process that it takes and makes it easy to convert either from paper to electronic or from one EHR to AZZLY.
The heavy burden, really, it shouldn’t stop with moving from whatever modern technology platform to supporting their current business. And also we as i mentioned earlier we provide off hour support. You know, we have a rotating schedule that as we’re going through the implementation they can at least reach out and and make contact with us. And even after their live, we still support them so we provide that support.
We are true, our department is true Client Services. You know, we want them to be successful to make their jobs easier, so that eventually they end up maintaining their own system and have and need very little support from us, because it’s so intuitive.
Tom Patton: That is all the time we have for this edition of Talking Treatment. Theresa, thanks again for joining me.
Theresa Napierkowski is the Director of Implementation Services at AZZLY.
Talking Treatment is produced by Broad Reach Communications and AZZLY. AZZLY offers an all-in-one solution for behavioral healthcare and addiction treatment providers. Visit azzly.com to schedule a free consultation with an AZZLY expert today. And be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. I’m Tom Patton, thanks for listening.