Despite dealing with supply chain challenges and staffing issues amid COVID-19, EmergeOrtho has continued to grow its practice with new services and technology.
Allison Farmer is the CEO of EmergeOrtho, a Durham, N.C.-based orthopedics practice with more than 46 locations in the state. She spoke with Becker's about how her organization is adapting to COVID-19, the biggest trends in orthopedics and opportunities for growth.
Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity.
Q: What do you see as the most pressing issue facing independent orthopedic practices?
Allison Farmer: As an independent orthopedic practice, we continue to face ongoing supply chain and staffing challenges from the pandemic. These challenges not only influence our patient care but also our growth and expansion. Despite these challenges, we continue to expand our integrated services to patients like MRI and physical therapy. Additionally, we strive to deliver comprehensive orthopedic care through our ASCs and physician-owned hospitals to open rooms in the traditional hospital setting for COVID-19 patients.
Q: What are the top three healthcare trends you're following?
AF: We are following proposed cuts to the Medicare physician fee schedule, various technological advances in data collection and management and COVID-19 trends across the state of North Carolina. Responding to COVID-19 trends helps us provide a safe environment for our patients and staff. It has allowed us to expand among our telehealth and video conferencing services for not only orthopedic appointments, but also physical therapy visits.
Q: What skills are critical for healthcare leaders to thrive in today's environment?
AF: Successful healthcare leaders must be open-minded, adaptable and foster a collaborative and cooperative environment. As leaders, we must balance our emotional intelligence with the drive to overcome unforeseen obstacles. A strong leader has the ability to grow a personal and professional relationship with team members, like-minded organizations and the community to achieve objectives.
Q: What are your practice's goals for 2022?
AF: To continue offering innovative, comprehensive orthopedic care to our patients by expanding our resources. Externally, we hope to solidify network opportunities. Also, we will continue to improve our "new normal" for patient care, staffing and scheduling to keep our patients and employees safe during the pandemic. Our ultimate goal is to help our patients emerge stronger, healthier and better.