Athenahealth suffered a $1.4 million net loss in the first quarter of 2017, stemming from sluggish claims and collections volume and other issues.
The cloud-based services company blamed its first-quarter drop on slow client onboarding into its network as well as lower claims and collections volumes than expected, according to Karl Stubelis, Athenahealth's chief financial officer, on Friday's earnings call.
"We are not satisfied with our performance in the first quarter," Stubelis said, "and we are challenging ourselves to set expectations that we are confident we can deliver on this year."
The company said its "more aggressive" sales efforts also contributed to the sluggish first-quarter earnings. Although the company didn't meet expectations, its revenue was up 11.4% over the previous year.
Implementation of Athenahealth's products—especially with ambulatory clients—was slower than expected in the quarter, hurting growth. The company said it does not expect that slowdown to resolve.
Athenahealth also said the continued uncertainty over healthcare reform in Washington and the rise of high deductible health plans factored into its disappointing quarter. Patients have become more "sheepish about going to the doctor thanks to the added costs of high-deductible plans.
That's led to a "decline in visits per doc and decline in payment per visit," Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush said, and put pressure on claim volume and collections.
In response to the quarter's financial performance, Athenahealth lowered 2017 guidance, with a new expected revenue goal of $1.21 billion to $1.25 billion. Revenue in the first quarter was up 11% over the year-before quarter, hitting $285.4 million.