Wellness Integrative Medicine Success Story: Reducing Stress for Patients and the Practice

By Alesa Lightbourne  |  March 4, 2019

Wellness Integrative Medical & Spa is a holistic medical center and spa committed to helping patients 'get off' or reduce their medication load by blending an array of options including acupressure/acupuncture, IV hydration including Meyer's, vitamin injections, cupping, vaginal steaming, and massage.

Challenge: Patient Complaints About Billing and Insurance Payments

Before starting Wellness Integrative Medicine, Dr. Rushia Butler, MD, spent 20 years in corporate medicine. She grew disillusioned with the emphasis on quantity, rather than quality, of patient care, which led her to chart her own course. Today her office looks like a house inside, surrounded by a healing herb garden and flower planters. She incorporates services like aromatherapy, Reiki, IV hydration, cupping and derm abrasion, growing organically over the past five years in response to patient requests.

Dr. Rushia Butler, MD, prides herself on running a patient-centric practice. Patients pay an annual membership fee at her Wellness Integrative Medicine center in Homewood, Illinois. In return, they get truly personalized care—longer appointments, holistic health and beauty services, spa amenities, monthly seminars, and even access to a community herb garden. So when patients complain—vehemently—she knows she needs to listen.

“Athena, our former management system, was messing up insurance payments and wouldn’t fix the problem. At least five patients bugged me about it every single week. I had no choice but to take time out to search for an alternative,” says Dr. Butler.

“One system was too bulky for a small boutique practice like ours,” she notes. “Another was too hard to learn. Yet another felt too impersonal. Thank goodness I found Kareo.”

Solution: Super Speedy Implementation

In less than two weeks, Kareo was up and running, handling everything from patient intake forms, appointment scheduling, notes, billing, patient communications and more. “Kareo is so intuitive that patients just jumped into the portal on their own. They started setting up appointments, reading notes, verifying insurance payments, and checking lab results. There was literally no learning curve,” Dr. Butler remarks.

She adds that after having Kareo for only five days, her practice was doing more with it than they had with Athena after two months. “Staff members were able to literally jump right in and open notes,coordinate insurance, and manage billing, even without formal training."

"My patients are over the moon about Kareo’s performance. Imagine my embarrassment when an older woman on Medicare asked why we’d waited so long to switch.”

—Rusha Butler, MD


Solution: Smart Phone Power

One of the most popular Kareo features is its mobile phone app. “I’m amazed at how patients of all ages use smart phones for everything these days,” says Dr. Butler. “Logging into a big boxy computer is so old school. Instead, patients click through the Kareo prompts on their phone with ease. Even elderly patients who aren’t especially tech-savvy will scroll through phone prompts, because it’s easy.”

When patients sent Dr. Butler a question on the old system, it would take at least an hour before she could reply. “Now I see their text instantaneously, and can answer from my phone right away," she says. 

"Kareo​ has cut our response time from hours to minutes. This has totally transformed our patient-practitioner relationships.”

Solution: Faster Check-In

When patients contact the office, they get a return call from the virtual receptionist. She invites them to join the Kareo portal, and walks them through the online intake form. After that, the patients do the rest, even setting up and booking their own appointments.

“Kareo’s intake process has streamlined everything. New-patient visits take a full 30 minutes less than before. That’s time we can spend with patients, rather than wasting on paperwork. We can actually do our jobs and provide optimal care,” says Dr. Butler. “And Kareo has streamlined the entire appointment system, with its automated reminders by phone, text and email. I couldn’t believe that the system even sent out birthday greetings on its own – a small but really nice touch that helps personalize relationships.”


Results: Reduced Stress

Even more important is the peace of mind reported by patients. “Before, our members were anxious and frustrated by Athena,” Dr. Butler comments. “Obviously, this was bad for holistic health. Kareo, on the other hand, gives them complete reassurance. If they experience any confusion about medical directives, their data is all there in front of them. They’re loving it because of the transparency.” In fact, some patients say they log in merely to demonstrate Kareo to friends and family.

Conclusion: Kareo Enables Closer Provider-Patient Relationship

“The bottom line is that our practice is a genuine partnership with patients,” she says. “We want them to be involved with every aspect of their care. Kareo empowers us to do exactly that, supporting the close, family-style patient relationships that we dreamed of when we established our practice. It has been no less than a lifesaver.”


To learn about how Kareo can help you run a more successful practice: 

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