Most healthcare organizations today are using at least some automated solutions to reduce costs, improve net revenue, and relieve staff burdens. RCM orchestrates the administrative operations involved in eligibility verification, patient estimates, claims submission, coding, collections, reimbursement, and analytics.
Until 10 years ago, staff carried out revenue cycle tasks manually using paper ledgers and then, later, Excel spreadsheets. The big data era ushered in automated revenue cycle management where software used patient, payer, government, and practice data to orchestrate the revenue cycle. Automated RCM has proven to help organizations avoid new hires, improve upfront revenue collections and more. athenahealth is one of the nearly 300 RCM companies offering software and services solutions to automate the revenue cycle.
What Is athenahealth
One of the largest providers of healthcare software in the United States, athenahealth offers cloud-based solutions to manage electronic health records (EHR), revenue cycle, patient engagement, care coordination, and population health. It aims to streamline administrative and clinical processes, improve financial outcomes, and improve patient care delivery.
Initially launched as Athena Women's Health in San Diego, California, the company has evolved over the years. In 2000, it focused on healthcare technology, launching its first product – athenaCollector, a cloud-based revenue cycle and practice management service that laid the groundwork for its broader suite of services. In 2006, Athenahealth introduced athenaClinicals, pioneering service-based EHRs aimed at enhancing usability and reducing the administrative load on staff.
In 2019, athenahealth merged Virence Health, the former Clinical Business Solutions division of GE Healthcare, enhancing its technology and service offerings. This merger was part of athenahealth's journey toward creating a more interconnected and efficient healthcare ecosystem. In February 2022, athenahealth was acquired by Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman for $17 billion. This move further expanded its capabilities and reach in the healthcare technology sector.
Its products are:
- EHR platforms
- Revenue cycle management tools
- Patient portals and payment platforms
- Population health (records)
- Telehealth services
- Custom platform creation
- A marketplace platform (which lists recommended healthcare technology solutions)
- Advisory services
While athenahealth’s EHR and telehealth solutions target every organization from independent medical practices, hospitals & health systems, they limit their RCM, patient population, and platform solutions to large hospitals and complex healthcare organizations. Their marketplace provides numerous bolt-on or point solutions to help organizations build a variety of integrations to create the technology stack that will optimize their revenue cycle. All of these apps and services integrate with the software athenahealth offers.
What is athenahealth IDX?
athenahealth IDX is the company’s revenue cycle management solution. It consolidates hospital and physician group scheduling, billing, and balances into a central system. By developing custom solutions with the right workflows, it helps hospitals achieve financial outcomes like reduced costs to collect and denial rates. It also improves clean claims rates. These improvements reduce A/R days and drive down the cost of collections, reduce redundancies, and foster best practice workflows.
While athenahealth offers many healthcare technology solutions, it may or may not serve your organization’s unique needs.
Real athenahealth reviews from users
KLAS Research gathers comprehensive client reviews for more than 150 healthcare technology and service providers. Rather than relying on limited client interviews, KLAS contacts thousands of vendor customers for in-depth discussions about their experiences with products. These insights are synthesized into vendor ratings accessible online at no cost. Additionally, KLAS engages in extensive outreach, including user groups and exhaustive web research, before finalizing its ratings.
The annual Best in KLAS report highlights the premier companies in numerous healthcare IT categories, based on feedback from healthcare professionals throughout the year. Winners often display their accolades on their websites.
- Overall Independent Physician Practice Suite
- Ambulatory EHR, 11-75 Physicians, Independent
- Practice Management, 11-75 Physicians, Independent
- Small Practice Ambulatory EHR/PM (<11 Physicians)
In addition to the competition, KLAS also applies an overall score to the companies they examine. athenahealth scored 84 / 100 overall in services and 80.5 / 100 overall for its software. To compare, competitor Change Healthcare earned a 78.9 overall performance score for services and a 92.4 overall performance score for its software. Similarly, competitor R1 RCM earned an 80.1 / 100 overall in services and 82.4 / 100 overall for its software.
KLAS ratings for athenahealth
Specifics behind the ratings are only available with a KLAS subscription.
There are a total of 101 unique athenaOne reviews on G2. athenaOne encompasses all solutions offered by the company. The average rating is 3.5 out of 5. Reviewers praise its auto-filling capabilities and the presence of patient photos within the records. They say the navigation is straight-forward and the reports are well-designed.
Reviewers split, however, on customer service. Some say the software takes weeks of training to learn and when you ask the company to make any changes or updates, results don’t arrive for several weeks. One reviewer complained that athenaOne claimed it would handle all collections, but efforts stopped after sending just two emails to patients. The reviewer explained they needed to hire two new staff members to pursue payments more aggressively.
Finally, a common complaint is that the software within the athenaOne system is pricey and doesn’t deliver the functions promised by sales.
Software Advice & Capterra
Software Advice and Capterra review sites are both part of the research firm Gartner, but they retain distinct brand identities and operate under separate corporate policies. They draw from the same reviews, however.
These two have compiled 835 reviews earning AthenaOne an average of 3.8 / 5 stars. Reviewers here appreciate that fees are based on additional revenue collected, rather than a flat fee. They also like the online knowledge base. Several praise that the features and design allow different practices to see and edit patient information. Multiple staff members can access it at any one time.
On the other hand, reviewers find customer service reps to be unsophisticated and unhelpful. athenaOne doesn’t make a direct phone number available to clients, but instead pushes clients to email communications and chat. Reviewers are frustrated that payment processing is limited to US Bank, claiming that service is poor. One reviewer was frustrated because athenaOne wasn’t the end-to-end solution it said it would be, and the client had to bring in a bolt-on solution to solve additional problems that athenaOne couldn’t handle. Finally, some specialty organizations felt that athenaOne wasn’t skilled in helping them optimize their workflows. They speculated that athenaOne staff didn’t have enough experience in behavioral health or cardiology to provide support and guidance.
Best athenaOne client reviews
Most of the praise for athenaOne is related to its EHR, as reflected in this review. Reviewers like that the latest updates can get seamlessly integrated into patient charts, and that patient information is centralized. Finally, a few mention that the vendor’s inherent hosting makes it more affordable.
From Software Advice / Capterra
This review echoes the sentiments of many that athenaOne makes getting started with its platform affordable. With fees based on revenue recouped, investment in the technology can fit within organization budgets.
Worst R1 RCM client reviews
Nearly every negative customer AthenaOne review contained a mention of slow and poor customer service. Many clients claimed the reps were too inexperienced to help them with their challenges.
Software Advice / Capterra
This review voices the frustration that athenaOne is not the fully end-to-end RCM solution it claims to be. It also repeats the concern that athenaOne advertises billing services but doesn’t repeat its collections activity often or effectively enough. This is one of the few negative reviews of athenaOne on Capterra / Software Advice.
Overall, equal numbers of positive and negative reviews populated G2 for athenaOne. On Capterra / Software Advice, positive reviews far outnumbered negative ones.
Employee Reviews of athenaOne
Employee reviews reveal how companies treat staff, an indicator of overall company culture and efficiency. Reviews critical of company leadership, in particular, can serve as cautionary indicators. To gain insight into athenaOne, we’ve explored platforms where employees share their experiences.
First, athenaOne took the #73 slot on Glassdoor’s Top 100 Places to Work 2023 list. Nearly 1,500 reviewers rate it 3.9 out of 5. Specifically, 71 percent of employees would recommend the company to a friend, and 83 percent approve of the CEO.
On the positive side, most reviewers report a strong, devoted, and loyal culture on site, one that emphasizes hard work, but collaboration. Management encourages new hires to develop future career goals. Employees appreciate the unlimited time off and work-from-home flexibility. Many believe in the company’s mission and share that they’ve seen athenaOne’s positive impact on the quality of healthcare services.
athenaOne detractors, however, interpret the work-hard / play-hard culture as too intense. They mention that many burn out and leave within one year of employment at athenaOne. Another common complaint is that the sales team promises features that have not yet been implemented into the software. Customer service representatives are left with angry customers who feel they were conned. Quality of management is clearly uneven, with some managers acting more like micromanagers than leaders.
First, on an Indeed Work Wellbeing survey of 100 employees, athenaHealth scored 72 out of 100 or above average overall. The company earned a rating of 3.7 / 5 from 312 employee reviews. Just 66 percent have a positive impression of CEO Bob Segert.
Indeed.com reviewers left 312 reviews, rating the company an average of 3.7 out of 5.
As with Glassdoor reviewers, Indeed’s athenaOne split reviewers over whether company culture allows for a healthy work/life balance. Most agree that job satisfaction depends on the manager each employee gets, with some managers appreciative of employee efforts and others dismissive and critical. Several reviewers claim that leadership is reluctant to take responsibility for their decisions, pinning blame on employees for visions failures.
Positive athenaOne Employee Reviews
Again, positive reviews praise fellow employees and even leadership. You’ll see in the first review listed here that something of a culture change occurred with the Bain Capital private equity buy out in 2022. Also, several mention that the salaries are not as high as those at other RCM vendors.
Negative athenaOne reviews from employees
Again, athenaOne employees find management makes their job stressful and difficult. The worst review cites management’s repeated threats of termination.
Looking for an athenaHealth alternative?
MD Clarity is a cloud-based software solution designed for revenue cycle management, offering patient pay and good faith estimate automation and send, along with contract management. Via Clarity Flow, you can improve patient interactions by ensuring the provision of accurate estimates and verifying insurance eligibility – features that align with current patient expectations for transparency. Through its automated workflow for patient estimates, MD Clarity enables precise forecasting of patients' out-of-pocket costs, facilitates the automatic dispatch of estimates, and streamlines the collection of payments from patients. Your estimates can include options for payment plan options and the convenience of direct payment submission, enhancing the overall patient experience and ensuring compliance with the No Surprises Act.
Via RevFind, MD Clarity leverages advanced analytics to oversee contract efficiency, pinpoint trends in payer underpayments, and benchmark contract performance. These insights are crucial for negotiating more favorable contract terms and boosting revenue. Opt for MD Clarity to enhance your practice's profitability, expedite payment processes, and ensure regulatory compliance. Schedule a demonstration today to discover how MD Clarity can transform your revenue management process. Request a demo today.