How Texas' largest orthopedic group plans to grow in 2022: Q&A with Dr. Bryan Williamson

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OrthoLoneStar will celebrate its one-year anniversary in January and has plans to capitalize on the current healthcare climate by adding more clinical locations and bolstering its value-based care strategy.

The Houston-based practice, which has more than 150 physicians and 40 locations, launched at the beginning of this year through the merger of six independent orthopedic groups.

J. Bryan Williamson, MD, medical director of OrthoLoneStar, discusses the biggest challenges and opportunities for growth for the practice in 2022.

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for style and clarity.

Question: What do you see as the most pressing issue facing independent orthopedic practices?

Dr. Bryan Williamson: The most pressing issue for independent orthopedic practices is navigating the rapidly changing healthcare environment. Hospital employment, private equity consolidation, diminishing reimbursement and increased regulatory oversight are just a few of the issues challenging the ability of orthopedic practices to remain strong and independent. Fortunately, we believe independent orthopedists are in the best position to thrive in this dynamic healthcare market.

Q: What are the top three healthcare trends you're following?

BW: The top three trends that we are following are the availability and use of data and analytics to improve patient care, the progression of payment models toward value-based care and the importance of maintaining an empowered, healthy and motivated healthcare workforce.

Q: Where are the biggest opportunities for growth in orthopedics?

BW: The biggest opportunity for growth in orthopedics is to guide the patient journey through all primary musculoskeletal-indicated issues, enabling the complete cycle of care with control of the cost and quality of delivery. In a value-based care environment, the orthopedist will be able to provide better outcomes with lower overall cost while being in the position to benefit from that work. This requires the practice to be able to vertically integrate access to the full range of treatment options with a complete overview of what will work best for each individual being treated. If done well, it's the rare opportunity for patients, physicians and employers all to benefit while providing higher-quality and lower-cost healthcare.

Q: What skills are critical for healthcare leaders to thrive in today's environment?

BW: Today's leaders need to have the tenacity and grit to advocate for their patients and for themselves in the face of the rapidly changing healthcare delivery system. They must have the flexibility to adapt to new care models and courage to make the difficult choices to ensure future success. Finally, they must have the vision to see where and how they can meaningfully improve patient care while making sure the patients' well-being and the physicians' ability to provide care for them is their top priority.      

Q: What are your group's goals for 2022?

BW: We are planning to grow and expand access to our services through opening additional sites of service, bringing on new providers, expanding into adjacent geographies and adding integrated treatment options. We will launch orthopedic bundles and institute value-based pathways. We plan to create a workplace environment for our employees and orthopedic partners that puts the patients' interests first.

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