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Orthopedic practice remains hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The health crisis continues to affect patient-to-provider relationships and put pressure on practices to expand reach, enhance the patient experience, and improve operations and efficiency. What health IT and practice management (PM) solutions are essential for orthopedics now?

Focus on integration

Orthopedic practices can no longer afford the inefficiencies of running a medical office on disparate health IT systems, which decreases security and convenience, overcomplicates the IT environment, and leads to inefficient workflows. 1Your practice needs to be supported by an integrated platform designed for musculoskeletal care. 

For example, you practice can enhance the patient experience by incorporating patient self-scheduling and telehealth in a single, integrated platform. Information flows directly into your practice's EHR and PM system. This reduces paper, increases accuracy of documentation and charges, and can help get claims out, post payments, resolve denials, and report end-of-month numbers with greater speed and efficiency. 

Get the most out of telehealth

Demand for virtual care skyrocketed during the COVID-19 health crisis. Once federal and state regulators lowered restrictions, making reimbursement from Medicare and other payers more readily available, practices rapidly adopted this approach to care delivery. Benefits of a telehealth solution which integrates with your health IT platform include:
  • Virtual visit scheduling in the PM system 
  • Automatically generated appointment reminder emails and SMS notifications 
  • Notifications in the HER and PM when the patient is ready 
  • Flow of Information—such as visit duration, intake responses, still image capture, and consent—back to the patient’s chart 

To meet the challenge of an unpredictable healthcare marketplace, practices must keep pace changes regulations and payer guidelines. Your practice must put processes in place to ensure reimbursement for specific types of claims, such as telehealth claims.

Resilience in turbulent times

Coastal Orthopedics is the largest orthopedic group in Bradenton, Florida. In March 2020, collections for the month were the highest in the history of the practice. COVID-19 began its surge in their region. The following month, as cases soared, collections were the lowest in the practice’s history. 

Coastal Orthopedics formed a partnership with NextGen RCM Services so they could stay on a steady path to growth despite the challenging circumstances. They continued to stay open during the pandemic even though their in-person appointments were reduced. NextGen RCM Services:

  • Proactively followed up on accounts receivable (A/R) 
  • Helped the practice put a denial management process in place to balance the decline in collections
  • Provided support for managing Medicare billing, including determining whether the practice should participate in Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Accelerated and Advanced Payment Programs

IT changes on the back end enabled the practice to accommodate telehealth billing without requiring additional clicks in the EHR.

Find a trusted partner

Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Center, a premier orthopedic center in northeast Kansas, also selected NextGen Enterprise as its core EHR and PM solution during the height of the pandemic. A key reason—NextGen Enterprise offers greater access, speed, and convenience for orthopedic providers to communicate with patients. Plus, the workflow is tailored to the needs of the specialty.

Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Center will enhance their services by offering their patients telehealth availability, an enhanced patient experience platform, and mobile capabilities. I will share more about the practice's experience in an upcoming blog. 

Partnering with a trusted vendor is imperative for smooth implementation, realization of potential new revenue streams, and delivery of a seamless patient experience. Click here to learn more about NextGen Healthcare’s orthopedic solutions. Learn more about how Coastal Orthopedics survived and thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

1Dr. Tom Giannulli, "Integrated Platforms Are the Future for Healthcare Providers," TechnologyAdvice blog, May 27, 2016.

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Molly Van Oordt

Director, Specialty Solutions