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Kareo Review

Leah Zitter
Leah Zitter
business.com Contributing Writer
Updated Nov 01, 2022

Opening a medical practice is a significant undertaking. The best medical software can make it easier, and that’s particularly true of Kareo. This software won’t add to the daily stress of physicians and other medical professionals. Rather, because it’s so straightforward to use, staff members can learn the system quickly and boost their productivity, thereby setting up new practices for success from the start.

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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 Editor’s Score: 8.7/10

Ease of use9.3/10
Pricing8.7/10
Consultation8.0/10
Customization8.5/10
Patient portal9.0/10

Why We Chose Kareo for New Practices

Kareo’s medical software helps you start your practice off on the right foot with an integrated platform that streamlines care delivery, patient engagement and billing workflows. Featured resources for new practices, like a “new practice startup checklist,” help you cover your bases, and a dedicated success coach gives you helpful support every step of the way. These benefits make Kareo stand out as the best medical software for new practices.

Kareo can refer you to trusted third-party vendors for outsourced billing functions, and its mobile-based capabilities help you manage your practice on the go and improve your communication with patients. With a user-friendly cloud-based platform that aids with clinical tasks, billing, telehealth and even marketing, your team can be up and running with this software in minimal time.

Kareo mobile service

Kareo offers mobile service for doctors, but the app is available only for Apple devices.
Source: Kareo

Bottom LineBottom Line: Kareo promotes itself as a “one-stop shop for your new healthcare practice,” designed so a medical office “can thrive – right from the start.” We found that to be largely accurate, apart from the requirement to use third-party partners for revenue cycle management (RCM).

What We Like About Kareo

  • Kareo is easy for new users to learn, with seamless integration and little instruction needed.
  • The software has an intuitive and flexible dashboard, making patient encounters simpler.

What We Don’t Like About Kareo

  • The Kareo system can be slow, especially when documents are being uploaded.
  • Kareo has a reputation for poor outsourced customer support.

Ease of Use

Kareo’s medical practice management features and electronic medical record (EMR) tools are some of the most intuitive and user-friendly we reviewed. The interface is clear and straightforward, and readily available tools – such as custom templates, text shortcuts, “Same As Last Time” charting functionalities 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 one click. New appointments can be set directly from the dashboard, and you can run a batch eligibility verification check to determine patients’ insurance status.

Another feature that makes Kareo easy for recently opened practices to use is its robust library of automated messages. These include appointment reminders and post-visit communications encouraging 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 new practices don’t have to worry about doing this marketing research themselves.

Did you know?Did you know? Kareo’s implementation specialists can help you customize templates before your go-live date. This will allow you to test any customizations before relying on them when seeing patients.

Features

Like many of its competitors in the medical software space, Kareo has a plethora of features that allow providers and their staff to access the medical practice management and EMR tools needed to do their jobs well. With Kareo, you can get almost all of it in one system, making this software all the more appealing.

Medical Practice Management Features

As you get your new practice off the ground, your team will appreciate how easy it is to use Kareo for essential day-to-day tasks. Here’s a closer look at the software’s key features.

Appointment Scheduling

We like that Kareo’s one-click intuitive scheduler revolves around a calendar view. You can 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 100% 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 rival products.

To set a new appointment, just double-click an open time slot, enter patient information, and assign them a provider or exam room. You can also set recurring appointments. Once the appointment is made, you can attach patient intake or consent forms for patients to fill out before their initial visits, and the system will auto-populate the necessary fields when the patient arrives for their appointment.

FYIFYI: Kareo offers telemedicine capabilities – a must-have feature for the best medical software.

Kareo billing

In the billing module, users can get a detailed look at patient charges and insurance claims.
Source: Kareo

Billing

Kareo uses a soft-client download called Parallels to collate and store data in a typical billing workflow. The software pulls information from the superbill generated during the clinical encounter and allows billers to review information from one screen, such as insurance providers, claim dates, diagnosis, and CPT and ICD-10 codes. Surprisingly, this invaluable feature was scarcer than we expected in the medical software we evaluated.

We also like the TriZetto-integrated Check Codes tool, which allows billers to scrub claims for coding errors before submitting them. The Track Claims Status tool helps billers track pending claims by prompting them to follow up on unpaid or outstanding claims and identifying rejected or denied claims that need additional work. Kareo maintains a rejected-claims list dedicated solely to the denial management process.

The Apply Payment button applies reimbursements to patients’ ledgers. If there are any outstanding patient balances, the system will automatically generate those patient statements. This is a time-saving feature we missed on other medical software platforms. However, it’s important to note that you’re ultimately relying on a third-party service, TriZetto – and not on Kareo itself – for revenue cycle management.

TipTip: If you want to avoid the expense of an in-house billing department, consider outsourcing billing to one of these top medical billing services.

Kareo patient portal

The patient portal allows users to schedule appointments at different locations with the provider of their choice.
Source: Kareo

Patient Portal

Kareo Engage, the vendor’s patient engagement module, has stellar marketing tools (see below) to increase the visibility of your healthcare organization. On the patient side, you can send secure communications, appointment reminders, forms and surveys. Patients can also use the portal to pay their balances and schedule appointments by provider, location and specialty. You can even automatically send patients “happy birthday” messages.

Kareo reports

Kareo’s reports provide a deep dive into accounts receivable and many other financial measurements. Source: Kareo

Reporting

Kareo’s system includes a real-time reporting engine that provides a clear picture of your practice’s performance at the click of a button. Most reports can be filtered by custom parameters, while shortcuts enable you to drill down into specific metrics. You can download and print reports in Microsoft Excel or Adobe PDF formats. A helpful Reports Guide provides descriptions and links to each report. In addition to having the ability to view these reports for a different date or date range, you can customize most reports through filters that display data for providers, patients, service location, payer type, payer scenarios and other parameters.

Kareo comes with more than 200 templates for reports, charts and automated emails. These include reports on practice financials, productivity, and claim rejections and denials. The software’s 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.

EMR Features

Kareo’s EMR system makes charting easy for providers, which is a big advantage. These are the key features we found in our review.

Dashboard

Kareo’s central dashboard displays your patient appointments for the day and allows you to manage the entire appointment workflow, from check-in to checkout, including running insurance eligibility checks and collecting patient payments. The clinical workflow displays three buckets: Scheduled, In Office and Finished. We enjoyed the simple and utilitarian design that helps team members monitor and process the flow of patients throughout the day.

Clicking a patient’s name brings up their “face sheet,” which contains information about their medications, allergies, complaints, vitals, medical history and recent lab results. Kareo integrates with Surescripts to populate prescriptions from the past 12 months. Kareo also maintains bidirectional interfaces with LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics for lab results.

The Quality Measures dashboard enhances quality measure reporting to ensure that electronic clinical quality measure (eCQM) reporting is intuitive and optimized for maximum reimbursement. Providers can clearly assess quality measure performance, view industry benchmarks and drill into patient details.

The Insurance Companies page, also known as the Enrollments dashboard, provides visibility into insurance information as it applies to your practice. Here, you can view the insurances on your account for the practice or an individual provider, add new insurance companies, and enter and edit plans. Billing module subscribers can enroll in electronic services with insurance companies to submit claims, check patient eligibility and receive electronic remittance advice.

Did you know?Did you know? Kareo’s most recent product updates include telehealth functionalities; managed billing, in which you outsource your billing to a Kareo partner; and tailored templates for mental health and physical therapy providers.

Kareo charts

Patient charts are set up for providers to quickly review information and take notes during appointments. Source: Kareo

Charting

Kareo’s charting features are among the easiest to use of all the medical software we reviewed, helping providers move through clinical notes during a patient encounter in minimal steps. This simple navigation lets the provider focus 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 most of the other medical software we reviewed; we found one notable exception in our review of AdvancedMD, which was particularly easy to use.

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 adjustable, allowing you to add or remove sections. You can even access previous notes in a pop-up box without closing your current one. All notes can be modified with free typing, voice dictation using Dragon, or text shortcuts within templates.

Templates

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

E-Prescribing and Labs

We loved that Kareo’s e-prescribing (eRx) capabilities are simple to set up and integrate with First Databank, which is an extensive database that can check for the most up-to-date medication information. Like some other medical software, Kareo can also double-check for patient allergies and possible drug interactions as you draft a prescription.

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 to discontinue their use. This user-friendly feature isn’t common among rival vendors, making it another way Kareo sets itself apart. You can also add new prescriptions, which are automatically sent to the patient’s preferred pharmacy. 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.

Kareo online directory

Kareo’s online directory manager lets providers update practice information in just one location; the system then ensures the details are synced on various healthcare websites.
Source: Kareo

Marketing

Kareo Engage comes with SEO tools to promote the online visibility of your practice; patient-facing systems, such as the patient portal and mobile applications; and online provider profiles. This is a tremendous advantage for new practices that need to establish an online presence. There’s also an online directory manager that automates information updates across dozens of health care sites, saving you from having to manually update each one yourself. Shortcuts like these mean you can focus on patient care but also rest reassured that your recently opened practice is getting the marketing exposure it needs.

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 and Medicaid Services’ Promoting Interoperability and Advancing Care standards. The reports identify areas where your practice falls short and offer recommendations to help you hit those targets. Many other medical software providers feature this kind of MACRA/MIPS monitoring, which is essential for avoiding reimbursement penalties.

FYIFYI: Kareo’s MACRA/MIPS assistance 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 process. However, the medical software (including the integrated EMR system and medical practice management software) reportedly ranges from $125 to $500 per provider per month. This is a fairly typical range and, on the low end, quite cost-effective. However, Kareo also charges $150 to $350 per month for its marketing features, depending on practice size. For medical billing, the company deducts 4% to 9% of collections.

Implementation/Onboarding

Costs for basic implementation and training are included in Kareo’s subscription price, whereas some other vendors charge additional fees for support and onboarding. We really appreciate that the company also provides a dedicated account representative who guides your team through the process and makes sure you hit certain benchmarks, like setting up e-prescribing and registering patients.

Before implementation, the vendor schedules an initial kickoff call with your practice, during which all users are set up in the system. Then, each staff member undergoes one-on-one training aligned with their particular role. Courses in Kareo University include training for healthcare providers, clinical assistants, office managers and billers. Kareo also offers webinars and online guides, and implementation really only takes as long as your staff needs to learn the easy-to-use system.

That said, the e-prescribing function can take up to a week to launch because the software must be configured to interface with the proper pharmacies. Insurance billing for Medicare and Medicaid can take up to six weeks to activate. To help you meet your launch deadline, Kareo implements all other aspects of the software four to six weeks before launch, giving ample time for insurance billing to go through on time.

Premium implementation and onboarding add-ons include data services to migrate any existing data to the Kareo platform, customized training, and recommendations from a success coach to ensure your practice is getting all it can out of the system.

Customer Support

Kareo’s customer support is available by phone, and the company also maintains an online help center with self-guided educational materials, including how-to guides, video tutorials, webinars, FAQs, and a community forum where Kareo users can ask and answer questions.

While we appreciate those efforts, we couldn’t help but notice a surprising number of negative online reviews, many of which the vendor hasn’t responded to. That’s disappointing for a company that seems to promise a lot of guidance and customer service.

Limitations

Some Kareo users have expressed frustration with sluggish onboarding, delayed customer support and a slow system (especially for document uploading). 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 an alternative vendor, like athenahealth, instead. Our review of athenahealth found that the company takes a highly consultative approach to growing practices and has stellar customer service.

Another possible limitation is that very large practices or enterprise organizations may find the software too basic. Bigger healthcare organizations may need additional features and tools, such as those described in our review of CareCloud’s medical software, which we found to be best for large practices.

Methodology

To find the best medical software, we spent hours researching, analyzing and reviewing a number of platforms, including Kareo. This process entailed participating in software demonstrations, phone interviews and customer service calls. We also reviewed both positive and negative customer comments, including those shared on the Better Business Bureau website.

When determining the best medical software for new practices, we examined the user interface and user experience, including the navigability of the software and tools, to ensure offices could get up and running quickly with the features they need to successfully operate a new healthcare organization. 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 offer telemedicine services to their patients. However, you also may want to compare top telemedicine software to see if an alternative pick better suits your needs.

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, so this is a great upside.

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, or check out CareCloud for a vendor that offers both medical software and RCM.

Bottom Line

We recommend Kareo for …

  • New practices or small practices that want easy-to-learn software.
  • Practices that want minimal training and maximum implementation support.

We don’t recommend Kareo for …

  • Very large enterprise systems or hospitals.
  • Practices that need regular customer support.
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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.

Leah Zitter
Leah Zitter
business.com Contributing Writer
Leah Zitter PhD is a trained journalist who covers emerging technology across more than 60 industries. Her PhD is in Behavioral Neuroscience which beautifully intersects with the AI/ ML topography. Clients include Google, AWS and Microsoft.