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Kareo Review

Adam Uzialko
Adam Uzialko

Learning a new medical software platform can be a challenge for many users and thus significantly hinder productivity. In a time when healthcare provider burnout is a big problem, it's important to ensure that software doesn't add to the daily stress of physicians and other medical professionals. Training can help reduce the learning curve, but truly intuitive software is an even better solution. 

Kareo

Kareo

The Verdict

Kareo offers an intuitive user interface and enables users to complete most tasks in just a few clicks. Minimal training is required to get new users up to speed with Kareo's medical software.

Kareo is our pick for the best electronic medical records (EMR) system for ease of use because it offers easy-to-navigate, cloud-based software that gives users straightforward options for completing most tasks. It is also a scalable platform that is suitable for small practices with one location as well as growing practices. Many features are automated, which streamlines regular processes such as appointment reminders and post-visit communications with patients.

Kareo Editor's Score: 8.8/10

Ease of use 10/10
Pricing 9/10
Consultation 8/10
Customization 8/10
Patient portal 9/10

Why We Chose Kareo for Ease of Use

Kareo offers a streamlined product that is neatly organized and intuitive to navigate. A new user can take the software for a spin without prior instruction and find many of the key tools simply by clicking around. 

Charting, in particular, is extremely easy with Kareo, allowing providers to navigate within a single window during the entire patient encounter. Many of the top medical software platforms we reviewed require users to click in and out of multiple windows during a patient encounter, which could take providers' attention away from their patients. With Kareo, a single, scrollable screen displays the provider's chosen template, which guides the encounter and allows the provider to make on-the-fly additions as needed. 

Bottom LineBottom Line: We chose Kareo as the best medical software for ease of use because it is intuitive, particularly when it comes to filling out a patient's chart during an encounter.

What We Like About Kareo

  • Kareo is easy to use, even for new users. Minimal training is required to get started.
  • Based on the quotes we obtained, Kareo is competitively priced.

What We Don't Like About Kareo

  • Customer support reviews are mixed.
  • Pricing requires a quote from a sales representative.

Ease of Use

Kareo, including both the medical practice management software and the EMR system, is the most intuitive and user-friendly EMR system we reviewed. The interface is clear and intuitive, and tools such as custom templates, text shortcuts, Same As Last Time charting and centralized screens for most tasks significantly reduce the need to click or type within the system.

The dashboard presents a checklist of providers and locations that can filter the calendar view in the middle of the screen. Based on these selections, the calendar displays daily appointments, their statuses and the insurance eligibility verification status of each patient. It shows alerts from various parts of the system, such as lab results and messages, which are accessible with a single click. New appointments can be set directly from the dashboard, and once an appointment is scheduled, you can run a batch eligibility verification check to determine all scheduled patients' insurance statuses.

Kareo's interface was designed to reflect aspects of familiar social media platforms. For us, this design made navigation seamless and reduced the need to click into new windows and close old ones. It is easy to separate medical practice locations that might operate under separate employer identification numbers, because the software gives single accounts multiple logins to focus only on the medical practice groups they need to.

Another feature that makes Kareo easy to use is a strong set of automated messages, including appointment reminders and post-visit communications that encourage patients to update their information or participate in polls and surveys. Although the branding on the reminders is customized to each practice, the content is hard coded and thus not customizable. This is because Kareo has performed research on messaging that increases open rates and patient engagement, so practices don't have to worry about doing this marketing research themselves.

TipTip: Work with Kareo implementation specialists to tailor your custom templates to your workflow before your go-live date. This will allow you to test any customizations before relying on them when seeing patients.

Kareo Medical Practice Management Features

Of all the medical platforms we reviewed, Kareo's medical practice management software was among the easiest to use. Here's a closer look at the key features it offers.

Appointment Scheduling

We like that Kareo's scheduler primarily revolves around a calendar view, though it's accessible through the dashboard as well. It is intuitive and takes only one click to view calendars by provider or location in a daily, weekly or monthly format. That wasn't the case with some of the other medical software we reviewed. 

We also like that Kareo's calendars are fully customizable, allowing you to color-code appointments and modify durations based on your preferences. The calendar has drag-and-drop functionality, making it easy to rearrange your schedule; this feature was common among the best medical software we reviewed. 

To set a new appointment, you begin by double-clicking an open time slot. A new appointment window opens, where you enter information – such as the patient's name, the reason for the visit and the service location – and assign them a provider or even select an exam room. You can also set recurring appointments.

The software has a telemedicine module, which is quickly becoming a must-have feature for the best medical software. Once you've set the appointment, you can email the patient any required intake or consent forms for them to fill out before the visit, and the system will auto-populate the necessary fields when the patient arrives for their appointment.

Kareo
Kareo lets you review upcoming appointments and run batch eligibility tests, or click to view a patient's records and medical history

Billing

Kareo uses a soft-client download called Parallels for a practice's billing department. It is a useful tool that organizes information in a typical billing workflow. The software pulls information from the superbill generated during the clinical encounter and allows billers to quickly review information such as the insurance provider, claim dates, diagnosis, and CPT and ICD-10 codes easily and without an extensive search through a coding library. This was a less-common feature that we liked to see in the medical software we reviewed. 

We also like the Check Codes tool, which allows billers to scrub claims for coding errors with an integration through the TriZetto clearinghouse. Error messages populate, identifying any errors, so billers can revise the claim before submitting it. After submission, the Track Claims Status tool allows billers to keep tabs on pending claims by prompting them to follow up on unpaid or outstanding claims and identifying any rejected or denied claims that need additional work. Kareo maintains a rejected-claims list dedicated solely to the denial management process. 

When electronic remittance advice comes back from payers after claims are accepted, billers can simply click the Apply Payment button to accept the reimbursement and apply it to the relevant patients' ledgers. If there are any outstanding patient balances, the system will automatically generate those patient statements. This is a time-saving feature we didn't find in every medical software platform we reviewed.

TipTip: If you don't want to maintain an in-house billing department, consider outsourcing billing to one of these top medical billing services.

Reporting

Kareo comes with 75 canned reports – fewer than those included with some of the other medical software we reviewed. Each report can be filtered to display the data in different formats. These include reports on practice financials, productivity, and claim rejections and denials. The business intelligence tool, Kareo Analysis, takes reporting to the next level, allowing practices to build 100% custom reports to review any data collected by the platform in any format.

Kareo EMR Features

Kareo's EMR system is also incredibly intuitive and makes charting easy for providers. These are the key features we found in our review.

Dashboard

The clinical workflow in Kareo begins with the central dashboard and displays three buckets: "scheduled," "in office" and "finished." We like that the software organizes appointments this way, which helps staff keep tabs on the flow of patients throughout the day.

Clicking a patient's name brings up their "face sheet," which contains information about their active meds, allergies, complaints, vitals, medical history and recent lab results. Kareo integrates with Surescripts to populate any medications filled in the past 12 months. Kareo also maintains bidirectional interfaces with Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics for lab results.

Kareo
Each patient's record displays their medications, vitals, labs, complaints and recent history.

Charting

Kareo's charting features, in particular, are among the easiest to use of all the medical software we reviewed, helping providers move through clinical notes during a patient encounter with minimal interaction with the software. This simple navigation helps providers keep their attention on the patient rather than on the computer screen. 

Charting can be performed almost exclusively in a single window, and when another window is necessary, it can be displayed alongside the patient's main chart in one click. This single-window view makes navigating Kareo's clinical tools easier than with virtually all of the other medical software we reviewed. You can access clinical notes from the dashboard or the patient's demographics page. Simply select the desired note for the appointment type from the drop-down menu. Notes are fully customizable, allowing you to add or remove sections. You can access previous notes in a pop-up box without navigating away from your current note. 

If a patient is coming in for a complaint similar to earlier ones, you can pull in data from previous visits and then edit that information manually. Kareo implementation specialists can build custom notes for your practice. All notes can be modified with free typing, voice dictation using Dragon, or text shortcuts within templates.

Kareo
The Encounter screen offers every component of the template in one window. The Same As Last Time feature lets you copy identical information from the previous visit with just one click.

Templates

To expedite the note-taking process, Kareo comes with more than 200 templates, a decent number compared with the other medical software we reviewed. Templates are customizable to suit your practice's workflow and include whatever information you'd like.

E-Prescribing and Labs

You can use Kareo's e-prescribing tool directly within a note. When you click Medications, a pop-up box allows you to select the patient's active medications for renewal or discontinue their use. This extremely user-friendly feature wasn't common among other medical software. You can also add new prescriptions, which are automatically sent to the patient's preferred pharmacy. Kareo flags any potential medication interactions or conflicts with patient allergies. Lab orders work in much the same way: When you click Labs and Studies in the note, a pop-up box allows you to order a new lab test for your patient.

MACRA/MIPS Assistant

Kareo includes a Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA)/Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) reporting dashboard that tracks your practice's progress toward its goals under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Promoting Interoperability and Advancing Care standards. The gap reports identify areas where the practice falls short and offers recommendations to help you hit those targets. Many other medical software providers also offer this kind of MACRA/MIPS tracker, which is essential for avoiding reimbursement penalties.

FYIFYI: The MACRA/MIPS assistant can keep your practice on track to avoid reimbursement penalties from public payers such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Pricing

Kareo representatives declined to provide pricing for us during our review. However, the medical software (including the integrated EMR system and medical practice management software) reportedly ranges from $300 to $850 per month, per provider. This is a fairly typical range and, on the low end, quite cost-effective. Considering Kareo's ease of use, small practices that need an effective solution on a budget will find Kareo's price point competitive.

Implementation

Implementation and training costs are included in Kareo's subscription price. Many other EMR vendors charge additional fees for support and training, but every Kareo account comes with a dedicated account representative from the company who guides your team through the process and makes sure you hit certain benchmarks on time, like setting up e-prescribing and registering patients.

At the time of account creation, the company schedules a kickoff call with the practice, during which every user will be set up in the system. In the next step, each staff member undergoes one-on-one training specific to their role in the practice. Courses in Kareo University include training for healthcare providers, clinical assistants, office managers and billers.

Beyond this one-on-one training, Kareo maintains recorded webinars and helpful materials online that staff can access for a refresher or further information. Typically, scheduling and clinical EHR features can be used the same day the account is activated and are restricted only by how long it takes the staff to learn the system.

The e-prescribing function can take a bit longer – up to a week – to launch because the system must be configured to interface with the proper pharmacies. Insurance billing for Medicare and Medicaid is often the longest feature to get off the ground, sometimes up to six weeks. To hit your intended go-live date, Kareo implements all other aspects of the EHR four to six weeks before launch, giving ample time for insurance billing to go through.

Customer Support

Kareo's customer support is available by phone at 888-775-2746. The company also maintains a help center that includes self-guided educational materials like how-to guides, video tutorials, webinars, FAQs, and a community forum where other Kareo users can ask and answer questions. 

Limitations

One possible downside of Kareo is that the customer support team has mixed reviews. Customer support is sometimes a crucial part of adopting medical software, so practices that anticipate needing a lot of assistance or those that work with highly customized solutions might want to consider athenahealth instead. Our review of athenahealth found that the company takes a highly consultative approach to growing practices. 

Another possible limitation is that very large practices or enterprise systems may find the software too basic. Larger healthcare organizations may need additional features and tools, such as those described in our review of AdvancedMD's medical software.

What Is Medical Software?

Medical software is the combination of EMR systems, medical practice management software and medical billing tools. The best medical software offers useful features for every member of a medical practice, from the front office to billing. 

Medical software also includes clinical platforms that help healthcare providers engage with their patients while also taking detailed notes in the way that is most comfortable for them. Additionally, it enables patients to engage with their healthcare providers directly via secure messaging inboxes and to update their insurance information before their next visit. Medical software is an increasingly important part of modern healthcare and a prerequisite for success as a healthcare organization.

Methodology

We spent hours researching, analyzing and reviewing medical software, including Kareo. Our research included software demonstrations, phone interviews and customer service calls. We also analyzed customer service reviews available online, including those listed on the Better Business Bureau website. When choosing our best pick for ease of use, we examined the user interface and user experience, including the navigability of the software and tools. We chose Kareo because it excelled in those areas.

FAQs

Does Kareo have telemedicine?

Yes. Kareo Telehealth is an add-on that enables practices to extend telemedicine services to their patients. Compare top telemedicine vendors on our best picks page.

Does Kareo charge implementation fees?

No. Implementation is included with a Kareo subscription. Most other medical software vendors we reviewed charged implementation and/or training fees in addition to the base subscription price. 

Does Kareo offer a medical billing service?

No. Kareo can connect its medical software users to third-party billing companies, but the company does not provide its own revenue cycle management services. See our review of Kareo's managed billing program for more information.

Bottom Line

We recommend Kareo for …

  • New practices or small practices that want easy-to-learn software.
  • Providers who want software that supports a face-to-face patient encounter.
  • Practices that want minimal training and workflow disruption when implementing medical software.


We don't recommend Kareo for …

  • Very large enterprise systems or hospitals.
  • Practices that rely heavily on customer support.

 

Image Credit: Lordn / Getty Images
Kareo

Kareo

The Verdict

Kareo offers an intuitive user interface and enables users to complete most tasks in just a few clicks. Minimal training is required to get new users up to speed with Kareo's medical software.

Adam Uzialko
Adam Uzialko
business.com Staff
Adam Uzialko is a writer and editor at business.com and Business News Daily. He has 7 years of professional experience with a focus on small businesses and startups. He has covered topics including digital marketing, SEO, business communications, and public policy. He has also written about emerging technologies and their intersection with business, including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain.