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Optimize your EMR for Orthopedics: Essential Strategies that Drive Physician Happiness


By this point in time, approximately 80 percent of orthopedic practices and health systems have made conversions to electronic medical records. Regardless of the vendor, the change is always …

By this point in time, approximately 80 percent of orthopedic practices and health systems have made conversions to electronic medical records. Regardless of the vendor, the change is always challenging, and creates problems that are magnified in high volume and high margin specialties like orthopedics. The implementation of an electronic medical record should drive your practice or department to adapt, and subsequently adopt new mechanisms of service delivery. These changes not only help your practice or department meet the challenges created by the electronic medical record, but will also help prepare you for the challenges of tomorrow.

About the Speaker:
Joe Greene is currently the Program Manager of Outreach and Development for the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation. In this role, Joe coordinates business and philanthropic development activities for the UW Hospital department and University of Wisconsin Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation. He represents the needs of all orthopedic subspecialties and has worked for the UW since 1991 when he initiated his career there as an athletic trainer and clinician. He has worked in management and administration across the Department since 1997.

In addition to his role with the UW Hospital, Joe also is the CEO and Owner of OrthoVise. OrthoVise is an Orthopedic advisory firm that assists orthopedic practices of all types with operational and business development needs. His experiences have allowed him and his advisors the opportunity to consult formally with orthopedic practices since 2010. He has particular areas of interest that include Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Program Business Development, Service Line Development, Health Information Technology and EMR Operational Optimization for Orthopedics, Innovative Service Delivery Implementation, Smart Staffing, and Workflow Enhancement.

Published in Health & Medicine
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  • Introduction
  • MU: Vendors want to slow down
  • I believe that EMR transitions have forced the need to make substantial changes in orthopedic service delivery.
  • The Guided CarePathhelps create a single streamlined patient experience through the entire journey of a total joint replacement.It creates a continuum of connection between patients, their families, and their providers.
  • Smart checklists and reminders are delivered just in time as patients progress through their care plans. The information is always there for reference when needed in case preparation or follow-up instructions are forgotten. This helps reduce patient anxiety and improve outcomes.


  • 1. Optimize Your EMR for Orthopedics Essential Strategies that Drive Patient Engagement, Financial Success and Physician Happiness S
  • 2. Joe Greene University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Program Manager, Outreach and Development OrthoVise, LLC CEO and Owner S
  • 3. Objectives S Appreciate the current EMR landscape S Philosophically discuss the EMR and orthopedics S Appreciate the continuum of EMR adoption S Learn specific operational and IT optimization strategies S Understand opportunities to leverage your EMR and your Healthcare Information Technology investment
  • 4. The EMR Landscape S
  • 5. Today S The implementation environment is stabilizing S At least in the United States! S Incentives will diminish S 19.2 billion disbursed by CMS to 440,998 registered providers S Attrition and consolidation of vendors S Shift to enhanced support and service S Shift to an international focus S At least with large vendors
  • 6. “We are at about 50% EHR adoption and about 5% workflow adjustment.” Farzad Mostashari MD Former National Coordinator, Health Information Technology U.S. Department of Health and Human Services S
  • 7. "The systems on the front line have to be usable so that doctors actually want to interact with the electronic health record, or [so that] nurses or others can access critical information that will eventually not just save money or improve the quality of care but save lives," Karen Desalvo MD National Coordinator, Health Information Technology U.S. Department of Health and Human Services S
  • 8. US Hospital Implementations 2012 and 2013
  • 9. Leveraging your Investment S Clinical and Business Analytics S Reporting S Quality and Safety S Outcomes S Population Health S Interoperability
  • 10. "Simply implementing computer systems won't dramatically improve quality overnight. Very careful system design and configuration, along with a lot of thoughtful human process improvement, are necessary in order to make the technology truly helpful” S
  • 11. The EMR and Orthopedics S
  • 12. Sound Familiar? “The system is great for a family practice doc – it just isn’t set up for an orthopedic surgeon. We have very different needs.” “I’m spending an extra 3 hours every clinic day completing my documentation and orders” “I’m an orthopedic surgeon, I want to be in the operating room, not spending all of my time documenting in the system”
  • 13. Sound Familiar? “My staff can’t do what they used to be able to do for me once we moved to this EMR” “I’m seeing 25% less patients than I used to be able to” “I’m not happy, and my life outside of work is being affected.” “I’ve just decided not to see as many patients as I used to”
  • 14. Orthopedics is Different S High Volume S High Margin S Highly Competitive and Driven Physicians S Increasingly Specialized “Specialty clinics have many unique workflows – these require specialized tools. Like all specialties, orthopedics must be treated uniquely”
  • 15. “There are three key elements of success. The first is opportunity The second is recognizing it and the third is the effort to make it happen.” S
  • 16. The EMR: A Necessary Sense of Urgency? S We view the EMR as an opportunity S For driving service delivery changes that may have been indicated for a long time S Staffing, Workflow, Access, Triage, Quality, etc.
  • 17. “An EMR implementation magnifies the need for changes that are indicated to meet the future needs of healthcare service delivery.” S
  • 18. The Continuum of EMR Adoption S
  • 19. Stages of EMR Utilization Implementation Stabilization
  • 20. Implementation and Stabilization S Implementation and Stabilization Focus is on addressing key issues and establishing a baseline of user productivity and happiness. During this phase, solutions tend to be technical in nature and operations are dependent on the implementation team for guidance.
  • 21. Operationalization S Operationalization Shift in governance and accountability to operational groups. Clinical operations begin to reduce their reliance on the implementation team for guidance and focus turns to using the system to support operations and operational goals.
  • 22. Optimization S Optimization Longer-term efforts to extract business value from your system, increasing alignment between system and organizational objectives. System enhancements are driven by operational priorities and clinicians and the IT team moves into a supporting role.
  • 23. Operationally Driven Project Why Shift? S Patient Centered S Changes are Physician and Clinician Driven S Local Ownership of Issues S Facilitate Business and Operational Processes S To Utilize Available IT Resources More Efficiently
  • 24. Stages of EMR Utilization Implementation Stabilization Operationalization Optimization
  • 25. Specific Optimization Strategies S
  • 26. Specific Strategies S EMR Specific Enhancements S Staffing and Workflow Enhancements S Orthopedic Service Delivery Innovation
  • 27. EMR Specific Enhancements S Security assignments S Documentation strategy S Optimization team formation S Order Handling S Reporting and Analytics S Content Build
  • 28. Staffing and Workflow Enhancements S Workflow Philosophy S Eliminate all physician non-value added activity S Optimally this means the physician: S Maximizes face time with patients S Sees patients that they convert to surgeries S Performs essential orders and documentation only
  • 29. 2012 AMSSM Poster The Impact of Athletic Trainers in a Sports Medicine Practice Improving Efficiency and Productivity
  • 30. To Scribe or Not to Scribe? S Joint Commission and CMS recognition S High volume surgeons S Technologically challenged surgeons S Orthopedics : Ideally you have someone who can document for every 20-22 patients daily S Formal Scribe vs. Fully Enabled Allied Health Provider
  • 31. The Impact of Scribing S Improved patient satisfaction S Improved provider satisfaction S Documentation is enhanced from a content and billing standpoint S Don’t stop at just scribing!
  • 32. A Note on HPI Documentation S A 1997 CMS Rule (Pre EMR) that defines HPI (History of Present Illness) documentation as the responsibility of the provider. S Check with your Medicare Carrier (Novidien, WPS, etc.) on their interpretation of this rule. S Scribing is allowed if the scribe is in the room and records the information in the presence of the provider. S Even with conservative interpretation, don’t lose sight of the overall value.
  • 33. Step One S Chief Complaint S Pain Scale Rating S Vitals S Past Medical History S Medication Reconciliation S Allergy Review S Education Preferences
  • 34. Step Two S Brief History S Physical Examination S Order Radiographs S Start Documentation S Present Case to Physician
  • 35. Step Three
  • 36. Step Three The Extender Role S Documentation of HPI S Order Entry S Billing/Charges S Start/Finish Documentation
  • 37. Step Four S Patient Education S Exercise Prescription S Letters S DME Fitting S Billing/Charges S Follow Up Instructions S AVS Preparation
  • 38. Surgical Conversion Rate The most important ambulatory metric? S The percentage of available new appointments that are converted to surgery within a given time frame. S Exceptional global overall measure of: S Scheduling and registration S Access programming S Triage and patient placement S Ancillary staff utilization S Physician utilization
  • 39. Canadian Study: PLOS ONE July, 2013 S Surgery or Consultation : A Population-Based Cohort Study of Use of Orthopaedic Surgeon Services S October 2004 – September, 2005 S 477,945 patients visited an orthopedic surgeon in Ontario, Canada S 79.3% of patients did not receive surgery after 18 months S 20% surgical conversion rate
  • 40. Cost Containment or Revenue Generation A Balancing Act
  • 41. Staffing and Workflow Enhancements: Takeaways S Fully enable your extenders S Maximize surgical conversion rate S De-centralize build S Create an “Optimization Team” S Integrate your IT Analyst : Teach them about what you do and what you need. Don’t assume they know.
  • 42. Orthopedic Service Delivery Innovation is critical! S Smart Staffing and Workflows S Access, Triage, and Patient Placement S Immediate Care Clinics S Post Surgical Care S Bundling and Analytic Utilization S Care Management
  • 43. Leveraging Your Investment S
  • 44. “I am becoming increasingly convinced that what is truly important in healthcare is inversely related to what is easily measurable.“ Vernon Weckerth PhD Professor Emeritus University of Minnesota Masters of Public Health ISP Executive Study Program S
  • 45. Leveraging Your Investment S Registry Reporting S Functional Outcomes Reporting S Quality and Safety Reporting S Business and Clinical Analytics Reporting
  • 46. The AJRR Registry S Sponsored by the AAOS and Industry S Knee and Hip Arthroplasty S 235+ Institutions and Growing Quickly
  • 47. Own the Bone Registry S Sponsored by the AOA S Fragility fracture prevention S Reporting and Education Components S Requires cloud data entry by clinicians S EMR should facilitate
  • 48. NASS Spine Registry S NASS Sponsored S In development
  • 49. Patient Reported Outcomes S Getting Data In and Data Out S Very Challenging IT and Operational Workflows S Tablet vs. Kiosk vs. Portal S Real Time Access to Outcomes Data S Copyright and Cost Implications
  • 50. Quality and Safety Reporting S Surgical Site Infections S AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators S SCIP Measures S Readmit Rates S Hospital Acquired Conditions
  • 51. Business Analytics S Volume and Access Measures S Surgical Conversion Rate S Revenue by Procedure Code S Volume by Zip Code S Referring Provider Volume S Key Indicators: ie. Charges, Payments, Days in A/R, Adjustments
  • 52. “Having what you want is a function of letting go of what you have” Anonymous S
  • 53. “Problems cannot be solved with the same level of awareness that created them.” Albert Einstein S
  • 54. Thank You Time for Questions S
  • 55. The Patient Journey The Guided CarePath helps create a single streamlined patient experience through the entire journey of a total joint replacement.
  • 56. Guided CarePath Smart Checklists for Patients Delivered online and available 24/7 from home