3 Ways Orthopedic Practices Can Build Economic Resilience  

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Blakely Roth | February 13, 2024

Rising costs, wage increases, dropping reimbursement rates and economic uncertainty are leading practices to reevaluate their revenue streams. In a recent article in Becker’s Orthopedic Review, Nicholas Grosso M.D. and President at The Center for Advanced Orthopaedics, a Clearwave client, recently discussed tips practice leaders can take to ensure profitability and economic resilience in 2024.  

Here are three top takeaways you can use to adjust course while still providing top-line patient care. 

1. Embrace Digital Healthcare Solutions

To circumvent rising costs, lean staffing numbers and increasing healthcare worker wages, practices must embrace automation. Dr.Grosso says, “Orthopedic practices striving for economic resilience must adopt new strategies, embrace the digital landscape and think outside the box.” 

One area orthopedic practices are focusing on is self-scheduling, which has become a deal breaker for today’s patients. Today, 82% of patients prefer a provider who offers online scheduling and 61% have avoided bookings altogether due to challenges, like being directed to make a phone call or being put on hold. By automating patient scheduling, you can redirect a heavy portion of phone traffic online and reduce staff workloads around scheduling management. You can also drop abandoned bookings. Calculate your call abandonment rate here if you’re curious! 

Yet, despite the benefits of self-scheduling for patients and practices, providers often become the roadblock to implementation. Debunk the top five patient self-scheduling myths that providers have. Then, get your providers to see the benefits of self-scheduling so you can embrace the digital solutions you need to boost patients and profitability this year! 

2. Prioritize Your Digital Front Door

Patients want convenience. No longer do they want to arrive 20 minutes prior to their appointment just to fill out paperwork at your office, especially when they’re already taking time out of their day to receive care. According to a recent Patient Experience Report, 79% of patients place a high importance on timeliness and wait times when deciding if they want to continue to see the same doctor. The report also highlights that 68% of patients considered a “fast check-in process” as important to their in-office experience. Your average wait times impact patient satisfaction and ultimately reviews, which could turn existing and future patients away, causing you to lose revenue opportunities — in a time where every patient counts. 

Of the changes in patient expectations, Dr. Grosso says, “It is also essential for orthopedic practices to establish a digital front door to ensure a steady influx of patients.” 

Today, two-thirds of practices are implementing patient self-registration options into their check-in process to speed up throughput.  These high-growth practices recognize that patients are accustomed to self-registration kiosks, from grocery stores to airports and even checking out at fast food restaurants. Beyond self-service registration at your office, nearly 50% of patients want the ability to check in or complete health forms before arriving. 

Establishing a digital front door can help your practice drop administrative registration tasks by 87%, meaning you can prioritize staffing headcount or resources elsewhere. Additionally, by dropping patient wait times, you can keep schedules on track and even increase the number of patients your physicians see in a day, boosting profits. 

Self-service, digital registration solutions directly address staffing challenges by reducing the manual tasks involved with patient check-in, like payment collection, data entry, clinical intake and more. Pre-check allows patients to complete forms in advance from home, saving them time by not having to fill out paperwork on-site and removing the need for staff to transfer data into their EHR/PMS. These actions have been proven to help practices drive immediate improvements to co-pay collections, claim submissions and patient wait times.  

CAO is a great example. CAO’s Orthopaedics of Central Marland Division leverages Clearwave Registration to provide a digital front door to their patients in the form of self-registration kiosks. Their practices see an average check-in time of just over 90 seconds, even with 10,000+ patient visits every month. The division reports that their patients are happy to pay right at the kiosk, which eliminates a tremendous burden on our front-office staff. No more manual processing and no more awkward conversations. Just profits back in their pockets! 

They’re not the only orthopedic practice seeing results. Similarly, Nebraska Orthopedic Center sees an average of 96% patient adoption of Clearwave self-registration and collects 81% of co-pays every month! Their Patient Access Assistant Manager, Sydnie Murphy, recently shared how they are increasing patient volumes by modernizing pre-registration and clinical intake processes.

3. Find New Opportunities to Engage Patients 

To inspire other high-growth practices to achieve success, Dr. Grosso shared that it’s important to, “Utilize new ways to engage patients.” 

With rapidly evolving patient expectations and economic strains, orthopedic practice owners and leaders must find new ways to leverage the technology at their fingertips. Today, 40% of providers say staff shortages have been offset by technological improvements. The opportunities are endless with the right solution, and patients are demanding more convenience and digital access so they can take ownership over their healthcare journey, which starts long before they enter the exam room.  

See how you can lean into automation to meet patient demands while optimizing your current staffing numbers to do more with less. Take advantage of technology to boost cash flow, patient acquisition and daily collections — all while engaging your patients with the convenience they expect from their healthcare providers. 

Top 7 Trends Impacting Orthopedic Practices + Steps to Take

Between inflation, economic uncertainty, rising staffing costs and Medicare payment reductions — orthopedic practices will need to find ways to get ahead this year. See the top 7 trends orthopedic practices are up against this year and how you can ensure profitability, despite external challenges! 

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