Leading orthopedic surgeons into a value-based world — Ortech Systems' VP of sales & marketing Michael Barr on patient-reported outcomes

Practice Management

Twenty years ago, two orthopedic clinical research associates were assisting orthopedic surgeons in analyzing data. Utilizing paper forms and Excel spreadsheets, Jeff Guerin and Sean Volkaert sought a better way to perform this data analysis.

So, they created it.


"[Ortech] was originated based on a validated need as seen by orthopedic surgeons," says Michael Barr, vice president of London, Ontario, Canada-based Ortech Systems. Ortech co-founders Mr. Guerin and Mr. Volkaert created a straightforward and simple way to self administer patient-reported outcome surveys.MB profile


Ortech created phiDB, a data registry system that captures intraoperative and implant data so orthopedic practices could establish a robust amount of owned data. About 200 clients currently use phiDB. Building off this foundational product, Ortech recently introduced phiDB lite, a patient-reported outcome model.


"Existing systems inside of hospitals and clinics do not collect patient-reported outcomes, and that component is the most critical component as the industry moves toward quality," says Mr. Barr.


Driven by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' recommended metrics on patient-reported outcome data, Ortech sought to create a streamlined way for orthopedic practices to easily gather this data. "We applauded [AAOS'] efforts, because often times it's hard to get surgeons to the table," says Mr. Barr.


The phiDB lite package offers:


  • Outcome questions aligning with CMS CJR and AAOS criteria 
  • Clinic module for patients to self administer patient-reported outcome data at the clinic
  • Patient self-serve module gathering patient-reported outcomes at the patient's home
  • Automated patient-reported outcomes summary for providers to share with patients 
  • Automated site benchmark report


With phiDB lite, orthopedic practices can begin data collection within two weeks of implementation. Mr. Barr highlights orthopedic practices own all of the data, as Ortech holds no commercial or intellectual property rights to the data.


"One of the strongest benefits that [Ortech] provides is the ability to gain access to real-time data," Mr. Barr explains. "It gives surgeons the ability to move toward evidence-based medicine."


Mr. Barr adds Ortech has been in the data collection space for two decades, and with that "comes a certain level of expertise."


"We think [phiDB lite] is a great fit for surgeons in all orthopedic sub-specialties," he says. "The spine surgeons have seen their peers in total joints have to comply with CMS regulation. What they're seeing now is the writing-on-the-wall, and phiDB lite represents an excellent opportunity for folks to get ahead of the game."


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