5 effective ways technology can help grow your practice and maintain quality care

Jason Weisstein, MD, MPH -   Print  |
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As orthopedic physicians, we spend most of our day examining patients, treating their conditions and identifying ways to improve their health and quality of life.

Ironically, we may not take the time to identify ways to improve the health and longevity of our own practices, or we may delegate that to our practice administrator. Like most professionals, we have a tendency to become entrenched in the routine of our daily work, and certain tasks may fall by the wayside. While we must remain passionate and focused when it comes to the clinical side of care, putting the business of running a practice on the back burner can negatively impact your practice’s - and your - ultimate success.


Sustaining your practice’s future is critical in the current competitive healthcare climate, yet growing it in a time of increasing regulations, billing challenges and decreasing reimbursements can feel challenging and daunting. With the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and value-based care increasing the focus on patient outcomes, many surgeons struggle to balance quality care with sound business practices. They worry that retaining new customers, driving new business and expanding their services could lead to a decline in quality and overall performance.


While these are legitimate concerns, they can be alleviated with the right technology and strategies. For private, specialty practices with unique clinical, financial and operational processes, a concentrated effort will need to be made in order to increase patient numbers and improve the bottom line, while also maintaining high quality care.


If you plan to scale your practice in 2018, consider these five effective tips that can help put your team on track for growth this year and in the future:


Create an orthopaedic-specific plan. Take the pulse of your practice, identify the clinical, financial and operational areas you want to improve and implement a growth strategy that fully aligns with your needs. Don’t try to implement a plan designed by or for primary care; it’s just not the same. Furthermore, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), 71 percent of orthopaedic surgeons work in a private practice, so you need to implement strategies built on established best practices, while setting you apart from other providers.
Invest in a data-driven system. Implement an electronic health record (EHR) system that can capture structured data at the point of care and leverage it for multiple purposes such as assisting with improving billing accuracy, reporting your composite MIPS score and others. Structured data is mineable and can be uniquely identified retrospectively. Such data is crucial for group analytics, research and the imminent obligations. Orthopedic surgeons should not lose productivity on data entry or have to hire more people to input and report on such measures. Your EHR system should not increase the staff needed but rather make your current team more efficient.
Access real-time comparative benchmarking. Real-time comparative benchmarking of both quality and cost data can show you individual clinician performance and practice performance, and also where you fall short when compared to other orthopedic surgeons. Your practice can thrive and grow by adapting and utilizing technology that helps you understand how you perform in real time, both within your own practices and compared with yours peers nationwide. With access to this information, you can easily distribute resources and strategies to emphasize the areas where you perform well or reallocate resources where you might not stack up as well to your peers.
Participate with specialized health registries. The ability to easily participate with orthopaedic-specific health registries will be invaluable moving forward. Active engagement with a clinical data registry falls under the Advancing Care Information (ACI) component of MIPS. In general, having access to such specialized health registries can help make MIPS compliance easier and also help you earn bonus points, which can help you to avoid penalties or revenue loss and may even increase your income through incentives for upward adjustments.
Manage your reputation by building trust. As more and more of your prospective patients turn to online reviews to guide their decision making, you want your current patients to advocate for your services. To boost loyalty and referrals, it’s critical to strengthen the relationship you have with each of your clients. One way to do this is to implement patient engagement tools such as a patient portal and electronic kiosk technologies. These tools help create secure communications between you and your patients, and deliver seamless experiences that make patients feel like an integral part of their healthcare conversation. Not only does this involve patients in their own care and make them more engaged, but it also builds trust by showing patients that you’re on the leading edge of technology. Tools that make life better or easier for your patients can be positioned as differentiators for your practice. As patients have an increasing number of options for how they access care, customer service and patient satisfaction gain importance.


These five tips can help you refocus on practicing medicine, and can also expand your practice to reach higher levels of production and profitability, while providing exceptional patient care. At the end of the day, any good physician, orthopedist or otherwise, simply wants to take care of people and practice medicine. The right technology can help grow your practice, make your life easier and maintain and even elevate quality of patient care.


Author Bio
Jason Weisstein, MD, MPH, is the medical director of orthopedics at Modernizing Medicine. A native of southern California, he graduated Valedictorian from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City in 1998. Simultaneous with his medical education, Dr. Weisstein received a masters of public health at Columbia University in New York, NY. He subsequently completed his surgical internship and orthopedic surgery residency training at the University of California, San Francisco, and then went on to receive fellowship training at the University of Washington. Dr. Weisstein specializes in joint replacement and limb salvage surgery. His interest lies in the restoration of function in limbs that are in jeopardy, either from arthritis, tumors or other diseases. He currently serves as the Director of both the Center for Joint Preservation and Replacement and the Center for Musculoskeletal Oncology at the Paley Institute in West Palm Beach, Fla. He also serves as an Affiliate Assistant Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine. Connect with Dr. Weisstein on LinkedIn.


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