Medical Billing Made Easy: Getting Started with Kareo

March 28th, 2012 by Joann Doan

Learn how Kareo makes medical billing easy in this quick overview videoOur goal here at Kareo is to make medical billing as easy as possible. For us, that starts with the structure of Kareo. In this post we’ll walk through the major features of the Kareo program, following the format of the instructional video, Getting Started, by Mel Aclaro. For complete information, see your product documentation in our Help Center.

Let’s start by looking at the basics: the dashboard, the working environment, data entry and finding records.


The dashboard includes two sections: Navigation and Practice Home.

Within the Navigation section you’ll find Shortcuts and Open Windows. Clicking on a shortcut will take you directly to any one of the nine areas listed. Open Windows displays windows that are currently open, such as Practice Home, Encounters, etc. Clicking open windows items will make them appear in the main work area, and using the escape key will close them.

Working Environment

Labeled Practice Home, this area consists of four panes, including Workflow, To Do List, Payment Velocity/AR Aging and Key Performance Indicators.

  • Workflow is a diagram of icons representing the workflow for your particular occupation.
  • To Do List displays incomplete tasks and activities. Blue text indicates hyperlinks that will display more information.
  • Payment Velocity/AR Aging shows the time it is taking to be paid. Clicking the AR/Aging Snapshot radio button displays income collected for key periods of accounting activity.
  • Key Performance Indicators monitor snapshots of financial and operational health metrics of the practice.

Navigation and Searching Features

There are a number of ways to get around within the Kareo program:

  • Main Menu Bar displays labels that, when clicked, display submenus.
  • Tool Bar is a set of icons representing commonly used functions. These items are a subset of main menu bar items.
  • As noted above, Navigation includes Shortcuts and Open Windows you can use to move around in the program.

To search for data in a list view (Patients, Encounters, etc.) use the Look For and Search In fields. Enter a term to search in the Look For field, and in the Search In dropdown, select the name of the column under which you wish to search. Clicking Find Now will display all instances of your search term. Additional features include:

  • Tabs across the top of the data viewer represent either data filters or additional sections of information. As data filters, you limit your search to areas defined by the tab. Within a specific record, the tabs act as sections, providing additional detail for the record.
  • Page Indicators – Kareo shows only a few tens of records at a time. Watch the “Showing” number at the bottom left of list windows for total records showing, and total records found (showing 1-50 of 2,007). Note the page indicator shown at the bottom right. You may be viewing a page of 50 records, but there may be 41 total pages to view.
  • Task Buttons – This set of buttons along the bottom of the page (New, Open, Delete) changes according to the window you are viewing.

Entering Data

By entering data accurately, you can reduce claims rejections and maintain more consistent records. Follow these tips for better data entry:

  • Use upper and lowercase letters for proper nouns. Acronyms, such as AMA, should be entered in all caps, without periods.
  • Don’t use colons. Some claim submission systems have problems with this punctuation.
  • In the full name field, enter first name, middle initial and last name.
  • Use the tab key to move from one field to the next.
  • Use consistent abbreviations such as Ave., St., Pl., etc.
  • For dates and SSNs, use numbers only, such as 082975 (date) or 122121221 (SSN). Kareo will insert punctuation.

Finding Records

To find a record, identify the information you need, such as “find patient,” “find document,” etc. Use one of the menus or shortcuts to select the feature, and enter data as described above under Navigation and Searching Features. Try experimenting, using different selections in the Search In dropdown. Your results will change depending upon which areas you choose to search.

As you get to know the Kareo program you’ll find that your work becomes more and more efficient. Visit the Help Center on our website for downloads, guides, training, and more. To see a live demo of the Kareo system, join us for a demo webinar on Thursday, March 29. Register now.

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A Salute to Medical Billers on Medical Biller’s Day!

March 22nd, 2012 by Joann Doan

A salute to medical billers on Medical Biller's Day!Today is Medical Biller’s Day, and we want to say “Thank You!”

As the American Medical Billing Association (AMBA) posted on Facebook today:

“Medical billers perform thankless tasks all day, most days. They make crucial and important decisions that affect practice income and reimbursements daily, yet they are hardly ever praised or thanked for the important and professional work they do. It’s important to us that someone says THANK YOU to their medical biller today – and we are proud to say, THANK YOU and Happy Medical Biller’s Day!

We second that thought. Without medical billers, practices would go unpaid or at best, underpaid. They wield with ease codes and coding combinations that make mortal heads ache, because they speak the language of reimbursement. They learn new codes and modifiers every year without batting an eye. They leap tall denials in a single bound. And ICD-10? They’re not afraid—they’re too busy to be afraid!

Medical billers, we know you are the backbone of physician reimbursement, and without you healthcare would be extremely unprofitable!

So, thank you!

Read More | No Comments | Filed in Events

Should Medical Billing Software Cost Thousands of Dollars?

March 21st, 2012 by Joann Doan

The issue of cost is likely the rawest nerve in healthcare. Costs are and have long been rising. It is felt in every practice and by every provider, every staffer and every medical billing professional. Increasingly, cutting costs is essential not merely to growth but to survival.

So, how to do that? Where are costs centered? What costs can be cut? Can any be cut in a way that benefits the practice? These are important questions. So is this one:

Does medical billing software have to cost thousands of dollars?

In a word, no. A secure, web-based medical billing “software as a service” with just a simple, affordable monthly fee replaces the cost of expensive software and licenses… and the myriad other costs associated with implementing it. Site licenses. Floor space. Servers, hard drives and other hardware. Security and backup protocols. IT staffing. Power and cooling. Installation. Training.  With Kareo’s pay-as-you-go web-based software, these considerable costs disappear. But they aren’t the only ones.

In what other ways is your billing software costing you?

In the quest to cut costs, non-web-based medical billing software could be undermining your efforts in still other ways. Labor (also known as “time”) is at the top of that list, of course. Long-term contracts require time for review and consideration, and likely the valuable time of an attorney. Some billing software packages are more challenging (read: “time-consuming”) to learn than others. Also, not all billing software is designed for maximum efficiency of use… or for full utilization of time-saving electronic claims processes.

Kareo’s intuitive design, frequent upgrades (at zero cost!) and robust support for implementation, training and customer service all help reduce labor hours in the practice. Some practices report dramatic reductions in the their overall medical billing costs. Even streamlined reporting and seamless integration play a role, saving steps and facilitating easier and faster processes… with fewer time-consuming errors. Easy to learn, easy to use and designed for speed and accuracy, Kareo makes medical billing not simply easy but less costly.

Wendy Thacker of Dickson Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine says that she tried Kareo after using a billing service and Advanced MD, and found that Kareo was half the cost of other solutions.

So, how much should medical billing software cost?

Well, first and foremost, it should provide the maximum benefit for the barest minimum of cost. For this, thousands of practices have turned to Kareo’s web-based, monthly, affordable, sign-up-and-go, intuitive, robust and cancel-anytime software. In today’s healthcare environment, why would you work more efficiently and maximize collections while saving thousands in software and related costs?

To learn more about Kareo and how it can make medical billing easy for your practice, register now for our next demo webinar on March 29. You’ll see a full demonstration of the system and get answers to your questions about how Kareo can work for you.

Read More | No Comments | Filed in Features, Product

Vote for the April Medical Billing Tip of the Month!

March 20th, 2012 by Joann Doan

You are the judge for our monthly Medical Billing Tip of the Month contest!You are the judge for our monthly Medical Billing Tip of the Month contest! Listed below are the three top tips submitted this month (out of the many great ideas we received!). Just read them over and then post on our Facebook page which number is your choice for Medical Billing Tip of the Month. You can also post your choice in the Comments box here on our blog. Either way, be sure to vote before the deadline of Friday, March 30! The winner will receive a $250 American Express Gift Card and the acclaim of their peers. Here are the candidates:

#1 Use the “Patient Statements” Report to Correct Addresses

Our billing company uses the Kareo Clearinghouse Report “Patient Statements” to fix wrong addresses of patients that entered in the system.  To do this, click on the Patient Statements tab -> Select the PSC Patient Change of Address Tab.  Click on Update all records, and voila, all the addresses are updated.  This helps minimize returned mail, and in turn, increases our (and our client’s) bottom line. 

When we receive returned statements due to an incorrect address, we make an alert within Kareo, so we do not resend the statement again to the wrong address. 

#2 ERA Tracking for the Payment Method Code of “Check”

We receive ERAs from the carrier with the payment method code “Check.” We need to track this type of ERA to confirm the check has been sent to the provider’s correct address and to wait until the check was cashed by the provider. Here are the steps we follow to do this:

  1. We create a category in Kareo called “Insurance Pending Check.”
  2. While auto posting payments from Kareo, we select the above category to track this type of ERA. After we have received the EOB from the provider office, we need to confirm with the provider whether this payment has been cashed by the provider; after that we need to change it into the correct category.
  3. Once monthly, we run a report in Kareo called the “Payment Detail” report to see if there are any labeled “Insurance Pending Check” or go to the “Find Payment”(F10) screen and find the category of “Insurance Pending Check.” Then we will contact the carrier or provider about the status of the check.
  4. If the provider did not receive the check or it was sent to the incorrect “pay to” address, we contact the carrier to reissue the new check and void the previous check.
  5. This process insures you will avoid missing checks.


#3 How to Avoid Denials Due to a Name Change

If a patient is known in your office under one last name but their insurance company still has that patient listed under another last name, use the Medical Record field in the General Tab for local office use to record their last name. You can then submit the claim with the last name that matches the insurance information, avoiding a rejection, but still be able to search for that patient under the last name known best to the office/billing staff. This doesn’t happen often but sometimes insurances have other last names listed in their eligibility for various reasons. I have found that using the Medical Record field still allows me to search for that patient under the other last name. It helps to minimize confusion when searching for patients with multiple last names.

Which one is your top choice? Vote now on our Facebook page or in the Comments box on this blog. You have until Friday, March 30, to vote! We’ll announce the winner in our April newsletter.

Read More | 4 Comments | Filed in Events, Product

March Release Targets Claim Acceptance Improvement!

March 19th, 2012 by Joann Doan

On Friday, March 16th, all Kareo accounts were upgraded to the latest Kareo version. Several key improvements have been made to increase claims acceptance.

Increase Claim Acceptance

We understand how important it is for you to have as few claim rejections as possible. Through our recent research, we identified two changes we could make within Kareo to reduce common rejections. Hence, the following enhancements have been made for this release.

Built-in Field Logic. To avoid rejections caused by format issues, built-in logic has been added to Provider and Service Location fields to ensure proper formats are entered. Both address and phone number fields in these areas have been improved. As you or your staff enters information into these fields, the logic will make sure the format is correct before you move on.

Automatic Code Checking. Code checking will often catch code mismatches based upon coding and payer reimbursement rules. In this release, a code check process will automatically happen during charge entry without manually selecting the ‘Check Codes’ button to initiate the process. This is available with no additional charge for customers on the Plus, Complete, and Max monthly plans.

Additional Fixes & Enhancements

The following area enhancements have been made in this release:

  • Added a new installation alert when installing Kareo
  • Updated the Kareo minimum system requirements

Read More

Help Center Updates

Find helpful resources on this release and Kareo features in our Help Center

  • Updated ‘How-to’ Articles
  • Updated Training Videos

At Kareo, we continue working hard to make medical billing easy for you. Customer feedback drives our service and ensures we build the features that matter most to people like you, so your input is critical to us. Please email your suggestions, challenges and ideas for our next release to

Read More | No Comments | Filed in Product, Releases

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Welcome to Building Kareo, a weblog by the team at Kareo about our products, our partners & competitors, medical billing, healthcare information technology, and much more.


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