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athenahealth Review

Adam C. Uzialko
, writer
| Updated
Feb 08, 2019
> Human Resources

athenahealth offers a solid practice management software application that has one of the most effective billing tools among the platforms we evaluated. While athenahealth's software application, as a whole, is effective, the billing module was particularly impressive. athenahealth is our pick as the best practice management software for medical billing.



The Best Medical Practice Management Software 2019

The Verdict

athenahealth's network of 100,000+ healthcare providers contributes to a billing rules engine that learns from common mistakes that cause claims to be rejected. athenahealth is our pick for the best practice management software for medical billing.

To see all our recommendations for practice management software, visit our best picks page.


athenahealth does not post pricing on its website. You will need to contact the company and provide information about your practice, total revenue, etc. to obtain a price quote specific to your practice.

We were told by a company representative that athenahealth charges a percentage of total monthly collections. While this pricing model was unusual compared to the other practice management software providers we reviewed, companies commonly employ this pricing model for revenue cycle management services, and so the model itself is not unusual in the healthcare services industry. 



Billing is where athenahealth's practice management software stands out. It checks all the major boxes we looked for with practice management software and maintains one especially unique feature: a collective billing rules engine. This engine draws on the experience of athenahealth's network of healthcare providers, which numbers more than 100,000 practices, to more accurately flag errors that cause insurance companies and payers to commonly reject submitted claims. The result is a higher first-pass claims approval rate and less denial management work for your staff to manage. Here's what you can expect from athenahealth's medical billing features:

  • Patient insurance eligibility verification: Staff can verify a patient's insurance provider and information prior to their appointment, speeding up the patient intake process and reducing wait times.
  • Collective rules engine: athenahealth monitors its network of more than 100,000 providers to determine the common reasons behind medical claims being rejected. The company then implements strategies relating to those reasons to catch mistakes before you submit a claim.
  • Custom benchmarking: The company also leverages its network to set benchmark goals for your practice based on similar-sized practices (and with the same specialty) so you can compare how well your practice is doing.
  • Central dashboard: From the dashboard, staff can get a quick overview of your entire practice and jump to various billing functions. Further, you can customize the dashboard's appearance to match the workflow of your practice.
  • Claims management: All details from a patient encounter are displayed when creating a claim, so it is easy to code claims and ensure all charges are captured. athenahealth's rules engine double checks the claim prior to submission and alerts staff to any errors. More than 40 million rules have been established by athenahealth's denial monitoring team, which continues to review denied claims and add new rules to the system, constantly improving the accuracy of its claims scrubber.


athenahealth offers several helpful tools for busy practices. Here's more about athenahealth's scheduling features:

  • Central dashboard: The dashboard displays scheduling alongside billing information and allows staff to make updates to patient information directly in the dashboard. The software can also be modified to support custom workflows.
  • Patient check-in: Patients can check themselves in prior to an appointment by using athenahealth, streamlining the patient intake process and reducing wait times. Patients can also pay co-payments or outstanding balances through the patient portal via a credit or debit card. Payment plans are also available.
  • Appointment-setting: To help staff quickly and efficiently schedule appointments, you can set appointments according to several criteria, such as type of appointment, provider, location and time. You can also send automated email, text and phone reminders to patients, which reduce no-shows and last-minute cancellations and save your office staff valuable time.

Implementation and Training

athenahealth's implementation period depends on your practice's needs. For new practices that don't need to migrate patient data, the implementation period is typically one month, while existing practices with extensive records and data should expect a somewhat longer period. The average implementation period for practice management software is 90 days.

During athenahealth's implementation process, your practice is paired with a dedicated account manager who acts as your liaison. athenahealth will configure the software to suit your workflows, establish any custom templates on both the clinical and administrative side, and build any desired integrations.

The company provides training in the form of one-on-one calls, conference calls and self-guided materials like videos and literature. Training is fully included in the cost of the system, and the dedicated account manager will continue to serve as your direct contact with technical support. In addition to your personal rep, you have access to a general customer service number as well.

athenahealth has a high level of interoperability. Not only is an athenahealth-associated practice interoperable with other medical practices operating on the company's platform, but it also benefits from hundreds of thousands of integrations with other systems and applications that have been built since athenahealth was founded. Moreover, athenahealth will build any desired integration on behalf of their clients, meaning that even if the connection does not already exist, it could with a simple request.

Customer Service

Our customer service experience with athenahealth was satisfactory. The rep we spoke with didn't provide many detailed answers to our questions, and there were some questions he was not able to address. Even though the representative didn't have all of the information we were looking for, such as ballpark numbers for pricing, he sincerely tried to answer all of our questions. He also followed up with his contact information and some additional materials.


athenahealth's biggest limitation is its user interface, which is somewhat outdated and cluttered for some screens and functions. At times, the interface feels text heavy and difficult to navigate when you want to quickly jump from function to function. However, like many other practice management software applications, a learning curve should be expected.

We were also somewhat disappointed in the customer service. While it wasn't poor, we would have preferred speaking with a representative who could have answered our questions in more detail.

Editor's Note: Is your business looking for practice management software? Click the Compare Quotes button below to have our sister site BuyerZone connect you with vendors that can help.



The Best Medical Practice Management Software 2019

The Verdict

athenahealth's network of 100,000+ healthcare providers contributes to a billing rules engine that learns from common mistakes that cause claims to be rejected. athenahealth is our pick for the best practice management software for medical billing.

Adam C. Uzialko
Adam C. Uzialko
Adam C. Uzialko, a New Jersey native, graduated from Rutgers University in 2014 with a degree in political science and journalism and media studies. He reviews healthcare information technology, call centers, document management software and employee monitoring software. In addition to his full-time position at Business News Daily and, Adam freelances for several outlets. An indispensable ally of the feline race, Adam is owned by four lovely cats.