Success Story: Building a Dream Business with Kareo

Kevin Kunz’s mother and brother suspected they had obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and paid thousands of dollars for hospital-based testing. A seasoned sales manager in durable medical equipment, Kunz recognized an important unserved niche – providing the same tests in clients’ homes, for a fraction of the cost. It took guts to break into the market, as Kunz was disrupting a lucrative business model dominated by hospitals. But the concept was wildly successful, in part because people sleep more comfortably at home than in an impersonal facility, and thus are happier with the process.

Results tend to be more accurate, too. Kunz’s company grew rapidly from a one-room office with no heat to three locations at present, and was named Emerging Business of the Year for the City of Topeka in 2016.

Challenge: Start-up Decisions
When Kunz started Sleeptopia, he found tackling billing requirements to be his biggest headache. “We outsourced at first. That proved to be inconvenient for our customers, who often wanted to pay in person. So we searched for a system that allowed us to bring billing in-house,” he explains.

“Our main criteria were security and cost. Many of Kareo’s competitors looked like they might be susceptible to hacking or security breaches. Kareo, on the other hand, had multiple levels of security built in, and was HITRUST certified, so we wouldn’t need to hire an IT guy to protect our records,” Kunz notes. "On top of that, doing our own billing with Kareo’s billing software cost about half of what we’d been paying to outsource, and the software was much more affordable than any of its competitors,” he continues. “Apples to apples, there was no comparison. Going with Kareo was a no-brainer.”

Solution: End-to-End System
Today, Sleeptopia uses Kareo to manage its entire business. Staff members run all day-to-day functions within Kareo, including inputting prior authorizations for patients, scheduling and appointment reminders, tracking durable medical equipment sales, generating patient statements, tracking receivables, and housing patient files. “Before, we had cumbersome paper charts, so Kareo’s electronic charting is a huge improvement,” says Kunz.

Solution: Remote Access
One of Kunz’s favorite features in Kareo is its cloud-based technology. “When our techs are out in the field, they can upload data immediately, without coming into the office. This means that our records are maintained in real time, and I can easily oversee all of our operations from headquarters.” He appreciates Kareo’s clearinghouse services, too, integrating electronic claims and remittances. “It’s one less thing for me to worry about,” he says.
Solution: Seamless Integration Kunz was delighted to learn that Kareo interfaces with Stoneware, the platform his company uses for sleep studies. “Kareo wasn’t specifically designed for sleep labs. But by altering a bit of  terminology  and some simple customization, we’ve been able tomake it do exactly what we need. Any company dealing with durable medical equipment could easily do the same.”

Solution: Quick On-Boarding

At one point Kunz had to change about half of his staff, including most of his billers. He reports that he was able to train their replacements without missing a beat. “Our Kareo rep introduced us to Kareo University, which has been an incredible resource with free training via live online sessions, recordings, eLearning and a great self-help knowledge database. We use it both to instruct new hires, and to increase our depth of knowledge of the software. We try to keep learning about ways we can become even more efficient with it.”

Results: Data at His Fingertips
Kunz feels that the reporting features built into Kareo have made him a better executive. “I can pull up reports during a board meeting, and instantly explain our revenue stream and profitability. I can tell at a glance whether one of our billers is slacking and needs further coaching. I also know exactly how long it’s taking us to get paid, so we can predict cash flow. Everything is there in Kareo.”It was during the staff turnover that Kunz discovered just how important business insights could be. “Many of our former employees had not been doing timely billing. We had no idea this had been a problem. We had to write off a lot of receivables, which proved to be very costly – more than $10,000 in one instance alone. Now I know the value of all the checks and balances Kareo gives me as an owner.”

Results: Robust Features for Future Growth
Kunz says that he uses only a small fraction of Kareo’s capabilities so far. “When you’re a start-up, you often don’t know exactly what you need in a business solution. So it’s a good idea to invest in infrastructure that you can grow into. As we continue to expand, we keep discovering new business benefits that Kareo can provide us. I can’t imagine us ever outgrowing it.” Kunz recently showed Kareo to a representative from one of the largest medical billing firms in the country. “He called it a very slick system, and was amazed at how affordable Kareo was. It made me realize just how lucky we were to have found it.” Sleeptopia has doubled in size in its four years of doing business. “You can’t grow unless you get paid,” he says. “Kareo is so user friendly, and contains such detailed reports that it’s easy to stay on
top of our finances.”

Conclusion: The Right Fit
Would Kunz ever consider switching from Kareo? He laughs. “When you’ve found ‘the one,’ you know it. It’s like my dedication to my wife, the most amazing person I’ve ever met. Why would I even think about leaving either her -- or Kareo?”

About the Author

Alesa Lightbourne is a prize-winning author, professor and former dean of an international business school. As a freelance writer, her clients have included Fortune...

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