2018 NARA Innovation Award Winner - Checkmate

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2018 NARA Innovation Award Winner - Checkmate

Celebrate Innovation...it’s just one of the many advantages of NARA membership… Checkmate is the 2018 NARA Innovation Award Winner!   Checkmate is a Documentation Chart Review Software developed by NARA member First Choice Physical Therapy…


Dennis and Kathy Venvertloh, owners of First Choice Physical Therapy, had been conducting audits using a paper checklist, manually computing scores and entering results into an excel worksheet for several years, like hundreds of rehab providers.  Manual audits, like many of us know, are a very time-consuming and inefficient process, for both the reviewer and the clerical staff involved in data entry. The output data can be less-than-effective, producing confusing and non-definitive results.  As business owners, Dennis and Kathy were looking for a more effective, time-efficient and green way to collect, scrub and store their documentation review data while providing their company and therapists with more substantive information.


The result of their search and efforts produced Checkmate, an electronic chart review application that promotes a more effective, efficient audit tool.   This product has a staff focus and is critical in different ways for 3 staff groups (management, compliance team, providers/therapists).

  • Management is able to use tracking within the reporting portion of Checkmate to monitor employee growth and award therapists’ financially during annual reviews.
  • Checkmate completely eliminated the manual task of collecting the scoring and compiling of data into an Excel worksheet. Checkmate shaves off an average of 16.25 minutes per chart review for compliance audits.  The Compliance team is also more easily able to identify areas of risk for the company and provide immediate education to therapists.
  • Therapists are able to see their own audit results and review all comments made by the compliance team.   They can modify behavior quickly based upon the feedback presented so transparently.
  • From a financial perspective, the time savings per review multiplied by the number of chart reviews at the reviewer compensation rate, plus the savings of eliminating the need of clerical staff for data input amounted to $1,713.40 per facility. 

Checkmate was tested in-house by First Choice’s Compliance Staff.   The beta testing consisted of conducting documentation reviews on charts that were previously reviewed under their manual review process. The summary results of both systems were compared to validate Checkmate’s ability to demonstrate a legitimate scoring and summary system. After a number of modifications, they conducted a time study comparing the old manual review system to that of Checkmate.


After the beta testing was completed, the Compliance Staff began conducting all chart reviews using Checkmate. The results of the reviews were closely monitored to validate Company-established quality standards and the overall effect of risk in the area of documentation. Input from the reviewers has been collected for potential improvements and inclusions of additional tools that may be added to newer versions of the software.


Simplify your business practices – consider Checkmate!  Any questions regarding this Innovation, contact Dennis (denven3@sbcglobal.net) or Kathy (kvenvertloh@firstchoicetherapy.net) at First Choice.