Coastal Orthopedics Conway, South Carolina

An orthopedic practice thrives after a smooth IT transition

At a Glance


7 Physicians
4 PAs
1 NP

Serves mainly Medicare-age patients and younger patients with sports injuries

Established in 1984


  • Separate EHR and practice management systems
  • Staff overwhelmed with software updates and patient phone calls
  • Lack of transparency into billing
  • No platform for growth
  • Unprepared for population health management and value-based care


  • Single integrated system for EHR, practice management, and patient engagement
  • Streamlined workflows reduce work for providers and staff
  • 66% same-day encounter close rate
  • Complete visibility into billing
  • Confidently prepared for evolving quality programs

Before: Multiple systems and excess work

Coastal Orthopedics was struggling to make their EHR and practice management systems work together. As interfaces grew unwieldy, staff became tied up with trouble-shooting. They knew they needed a single, integrated system that reduced the administrative burden on staff and allowed for easy exchange of data. 

“Before athenahealth, it took a lot of resources to get patients through our practice,” says Andrew Wade. “Our system wasn’t efficient. It took an enormous amount of data entry across two separate systems to create the outcomes we wanted for our patients.” 

“Kudos to the training team and account managers who spent the time with us to get us off the ground and running. We are doing very well today because of our strong start.” Andrew Wade, Coastal Orthopedics

After: A single, optimized system that puts patient care first

Coastal Orthopedics chose athenahealth because of its unique combination of a connected network, expert knowledge, and ability to perform burdensome work on behalf of clients. With athenahealth’s cloud-based network, always up-to-date and accessible from anywhere, the practice can focus on optimizing patient care instead of maintaining software. 

In addition, athenahealth’s support means the practice is future-proof. “With athena’s experts continually working on new reimbursement requirements, we are prepared to meet whatever regulatory changes are coming—including population health,” says Mr. Wade. “We are well positioned to meet any future payment scenario.” 

Mr. Wade says that open communication, a clear project plan, and hands-on training from athenahealth helped get Coastal Orthopedics over the hump of change. During the first week of using the new system, he says, “We had experts on site to answer questions, do training, and spend extra time with providers who needed to get used to the EHR,” he says. “We were able to put an implementation team member in each one of our pods at 8 a.m. when the rubber hit the highway.”

Less work, greater access

Just 30 days after going live, the practice noticed significant improvements. “One of the biggest things we noticed right away is the amount of work that athenahealth took off our plates,” says Mr. Wade. “Thanks to the Rules Engine, we are getting cleaner claims out the door. That’s given us the best claim-to-cash conversion ratio we’ve ever had.” 

The clinicians are happy with athenaClinicals®, the EHR component of athenaOne. “Our providers recognize that athenaClinicals is much better than what we were doing before,” says Mr. Wade. “They see their staff working with better tools, so they can all be more responsive and more available to patients, instead of spending too much time at the nurses’ station in front of a computer.” 

athenaOne has also given the practice 24/7 access to the system from anywhere. “We have infinitely better access than we had before. Combined with our potential for growth, and being prepared for the future, athenahealth is the right partner for us,” says Mr. Wade. “They support us in a thousand ways every day, enabling us to do what we’re best at—not worrying about technology, but taking care of patients.”

1 These results reflect the experience of one particular practice and are not necessarily what every athenahealth client should expect.

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