New Clinic Operations

Starting in August 2023, the Memphis Speech and Hearing Center (MSHC) adopted MICA Information Systems for their electronic health record, scheduling, and billing system (EHR). “This change allows us to take ownership of clinical operations and clinical services as it relates to billing, scheduling, etc.” Justine Springs, Co-Director of Clinical Education in Speech-Language Pathology, explained. From choosing the new system to implementing it, the MSHC team of staff and clinical faculty has focused on the goal of providing excellent client care and outstanding clinical education.

“MICA has worked with both audiology and speech-pathology practices as well as with clinics in university settings,” Dean Linda Jarmulowicz said. It is a customizable EHR system that fits well with MSHC’s unique needs. “As a university clinic, we have lots of exceptions that may not fit in nicely to an EMR,” Dr. Hannah Beth Scott, MSHC Practice Manager, added. For example, group therapy sessions and the Client Assistance Program require customized billing procedures, and audiology requires specific features in order to track orders of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other devices. “IMS is so customizable that we can make everything work!”

The MICA system offers new features for improving communication and timely client care. “Overall, the entire process is streamlined,” Dr. Scott explained. “There are many automated features that we didn’t have before.” For example, business office staff used to spend considerable time on reminder calls for evaluations. "For evaluation appointments, the IMS system sends automated email and text reminders to every evaluation client,” Dr. Scott said.

“Likewise, our clients can log into their portal and see reports, update their demographics, upload insurance and ID, and soon they will be able to pay their bill via the portal,” Dr. Scott explained. Before the appointment, clients can complete consent forms on the portal which are automatically uploaded to their chart upon check-in. This process saves time and allows a quick start-time for appointments.

In addition to serving clients well, MSHC is dedicated to providing excellent clinical education to future SLPs and audiologists. “We can focus more on clinical education rather than managing a system and getting bogged down in operational concerns,” Dr. Scott explained. It also gives students more experience with an EMR system, knowledge they can bring to future jobs.

The transition to MICA involved coordination, training, and flexibility. The system got off the ground at the start of clinic this fall, but preparation for the switch started much earlier. This complex process required coordination and effort from MSHC, UofM IT Services, the UofM Bursar, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, and MICA. Many members of the CSD community worked diligently to prepare for the transition. In the break between the Summer and Fall semesters, clinic faculty and business office staff completed virtual trainings. All SLP and AuD students received MICA training during Fall orientation. As MICA continues to be customized for MSHC, training is ongoing.

In recognition of the tireless efforts of the MSHC office staff and transition team to improve operational efficiency, they received the Tigers Ascending to Excellence award from President Hardgrave, which was presented at the UofM football game, Saturday November 18th.

The MSHC administrative team would like to thank the following parties for their roles in helping us transition to MICA:

Clinic operations and client service:

Thank you to Hassan Saadat for working with MICA/IMS to set up AccessPad on all computers and laptops, helping set up scanners for insurance cards and IDs, and providing laptops and setting up for trainings.

Thank you to Joe Edwards for working behind the scenes with Dean Jarmulowicz to secure the contract with MICA and get it through the appropriate university groups and for helping set up the Cyracom contract for interpreting services.

Thank you to Marci Ingram-Jackson for diligently working on insurance credentialing with government and commercial plans for all clinicians.

Thank you to Carissa Richardson and Cathy McDonald for never missing a beat with answering the phone, responding to emails, sending faxes all while learning a new system, being very patient when not all answers were known yet, steadily being adaptable to changes, and always having a welcome smile and attitude to our patients and clinicians. We appreciate you both!

Thank you to Frances Breland for helping with hearing aid contracts and keeping everyone on track during MSHC meetings!

Thank you to Dr. Linda Jarmulowicz for overseeing the entire transition from a financial and legal standpoint, working with legal on how to separate from MLH, and explaining the situation and rationale for switching at this time.

Thank you to Dr. Jenny Taylor for updating all clinic forms and the HIPAA manual, redoing hearing aid contracts, and serving as communication lead with MLH re: data conversion from MLH to IMS.

Thank you to Katherine Mendez for overseeing screenings so that Justine could focus on the transition to IMS.

Thank you to Justine Springs for being the lead contact for all MICA communication during the transition, setting up meetings for all clinicians and students to ensure everything was ready to go, managing all clinicians’ and student schedules during the transition without fault, and ensuring all tasks were delegated and completed in a timely manner.

Thank you to Dr. Hannah Beth Scott for ensuring referrals were triaged appropriately during the transition and patients continued to receive services when needed, continuing to manage the waitlist for evaluation appointments in a timely manner based on insurance credentialing, and helping create protocols with the new system to ensure appointments and check-in/check-out run smoothly.

Thank you to the clinical faculty for being patient with all the change, embracing the challenge of learning a new system in just a few weeks knowing that they would then be working with students who were new to the system, and providing helpful feedback and suggestions along the way.

Thank you to the students for being flexible and open to ongoing learning.