InnoCare offers EMR plus modular business services

By Rosie Lombardi

Heather ShantoraInnoCare Healthcare was recently launched in Canada to offer a novel combination of EMR software and administrative services to rehabilitation and medical clinics. The Hamilton-based company is a spin-off from PT Health, one of the largest national rehabilitation companies in Canada, which spent years perfecting its EMR software and business model. “Innocare is actually EMR software plus business process outsourcing for all backend administration like call centres for reception, payroll, HR, and so on,” says Heather Shantora (pictured), CEO of InnoCare.

“Now that it’s an independent company, InnoCare provides these services to any independent clinic, and not necessarily rehab or physiotherapy clinics. Any kind of healthcare clinic – medical, dental, midwifery – can use our services.”

At present, there are about 300 clinics operating in seven Canadian provinces that use the InnoCare EMR software component, and another 250 that use InnoCare’s business process outsourcing services.

Shantora points out that InnoCare is flexible enough to allow clinics to pick and choose whatever combination of software and services they need. “It’s modular. If you only want online booking and call center services, for example, we would tailor a package for that.”

On the software side, InnoCare’s EMR component has been designed specifically for rehab clinics – but could be used by any type of clinic that needs basic patient record-keeping and other generic features typically found in most EMR systems: charting, billing, online booking, scheduling, reporting, and so on.

However, InnoCare is not attempting to compete with the mainstream EMR systems most physicians use, explains Shantora. “There are many great EMRs out there designed specifically for them. We’re not trying to compete in that space, however, there are a lot of surgeons, in particular, orthopods, who practice at physiotherapy and rehab clinics, so it would be appropriate for them to join our EMR.”

InnoCare has unique features not found in other EMR systems designed specifically for allied health, says Shantora. “In our sector, you may need to bill several entities for services: OHIP, the employer’s insurance company, a private insurance carrier, and out-of-pocket. We have a billing integration feature that can do all that with one click to process the claim.”

The feature also tracks the insurance coverage offered by various company plans, she adds. “If, for example, the patient has an employee health benefit, the system would tell us right away if it’s a 20% copay, and whether it is approved. InnoCare is actually the only rehab EMR in Canada that does that.”

Shantora points out this is a major benefit for rehab clinics. “At the end of a therapy session, billing typically involves a 15-minute phone call to insurance carriers, and the patient has to hang around until it’s all sorted out. We offer a much better experience.”

Beyond software, InnoCare also offers a wide variety of outsourced business processes in another business line called InnoCare Assist. Small clinics that can’t afford receptionists, bookkeepers or other administrative support staff can avail themselves of these services to manage their practices.

“We have a centralized call center, billing department, payroll services and other business processes that independent clinics would have to do themselves. We have so many clinics in our InnoCare system that it ends up being much cheaper than if everyone did it themselves.”

This aggregate power also brings another huge benefit to clinics: the ability to get group insurance for all the clinic’s employees.

“It’s extremely expensive to get employee health benefits. But we’ve leveraged the group buying power of all our clinics to let them buy in at a fraction of the cost. That’s really important, because therapists are on their feet all day, lifting, pulling and doing physical labour. They’re really at risk for injuries, and they should have coverage in case they get hurt.”

Most clinicians want to focus on providing great patient care, not on administration. And even clinics that can afford support staff would prefer they focus on patients and not paper work.

“With InnoCare, clinics can have a smiling receptionist at the front, and she won’t be too busy processing invoices to attend to patients. It really increases customer satisfaction when all the staff focus on patients instead of administrative work. And we can answer their phones in the evenings and weekends, so patients can always reach a human being.”

The company also offers more complex human resources services. “Most clinics don’t have a HR specialist but they do need help. We can help with training and keeping them up-to-date in terms of legislative changes, policies and procedures. If there were a complex termination or just an incident you weren’t sure how to handle, we could offer expert advice.”

Clinics that sign onto InnoCare’s services also get marketing help via a listing on the company’s website. “Our clients get listed on our website, which gets 30,000 unique visitors a month to our website. That helps them get visibility and new patients.”

InnoCare’s customers can pick and choose the services they want, which are all reasonably priced, says Shantora.

“We have different structures for different services. For billing, for example, we take a small percentage of total billings. Call centre services are about $250 to $350 a month, depending on the number of hours covered. Marketing’s included – if you buy our software, which costs $59.99, plus one other service, then you get automatically listed on our website.”

There are about 9,000 rehab clinics across Canada, and about 90 percent of these are small independent clinics that struggle to make ends meet. “We’re hoping to expand InnoCare by getting these companies to sign onto our services and implement our software.”

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