Top Challenges in Orthopedic Practice Management

Orthopedics practices are only one of many that are struggling to keep up with today’s healthcare crisis. Many practices are struggling to meet patient demand with a dwindling workforce. On top of that, practices are still facing many pre-COVID challenges. For healthcare practices to maintain patient care and overcome daily business challenges, they must look to new solutions. 

Fortunately, developments in telehealth can help orthopedics practices to overcome many challenges - new and old. To demonstrate how we will discuss the most pressing challenges faced by orthopedics practices and how telehealth can help them prevail. 

1. Meeting Patient Demand


When the pandemic began, many patients could not get the healthcare they needed. In order to reduce exposure to the virus, practices were forced to postpone services to non-emergent patients. Without proper remote care available, patients were left without care for a great deal of time. As patients had gone without care for so long, they were eager to meet with their provider. Now that patients can return to their providers’ offices, practices are suddenly overwhelmed with patient demand. 

To make matters worse, many orthopedics practices are struggling with a diminishing workforce, one that cannot accommodate the number of patients needing care. Between the labor shortage and healthcare workers being overworked during the pandemic, practices have been struggling to obtain new physicians. 

So, with the growing demand for healthcare and a limited supply of providers, how can orthopedics practices keep up? Telehealth can help practices meet patient demand through several means. One of the most obvious ways is by providing a platform for remote healthcare. Today, many patients are still uncomfortable coming in for in-person visits with their physicians. With telehealth, patients can get the care they need virtually. As such, patients do not have to commute to their doctor, saving them significant time and potential exposure. 

While virtual visits can definitely help to better accommodate patients during these unprecedented times, there is still a matter of patient demand and volume. Fortunately, telehealth can address these challenges as well. With more patients receiving care virtually, care can be expedited. Remote visits tend to be much more efficient than traditional in-person visits, allowing practices to work with patients more efficiently and thus manage greater volumes of patients with ease. 

With greater access and efficiency, telehealth can help orthopedics practices to easily accommodate a growing patient demand, even with a dwindling workforce.  


2. Limited Face-Time with Patients


Very few practices had the proper resources to offer remote healthcare when the pandemic unexpectedly hit. As a result, patients couldn’t get the care they needed, and their health suffered as a result. While patients are able to meet with their providers now, many practices are staying playing catch-up with their patients. Even if they are able to meet with a patient briefly, they feel as though they cannot accommodate the face-time needed to catch up with patients thoroughly. 

With video conferencing supported by telehealth platforms, providers and patients can get the “face-time” they have been missing without actually meeting in person. Still, some practices fear that virtual meetings aren’t enough to deliver the same value brought by in-person visits. Additionally, as telehealth visits increase the efficiency of visits, providers fear that this will reduce the time of their meetings, thus compromising the quality of care. 

While telehealth can expedite visits by making them more efficient, they do not limit face-time with patients. With traditional visits, a patient spends much of the time in their provider’s office filling out forms, waiting, or interacting with secondary physicians - not much is spent by actual face-time with their provider. But, with telehealth, all of those other interactions are already taken care of through the provider’s platform. As a result, almost all time spent during a patient’s virtual visit is direct (virtual) face-time with a provider. 

Ultimately, more face-time with patients results in better care. Providers have the time to get to know their patient and their medical history, and patients have time to open up about their concerns. 


3. Outdated Imaging Systems


Medical imaging is a significant component of patient care, particularly for orthopedics practices. For patients to be accurately diagnosed and treated, providers need to review recent medical images in addition to previous ones. Unfortunately, many orthopedics practices struggle to manage their imaging departments effectively between storage and sharing. Still, this is not entirely the fault of the practice. 

Traditionally, medical images were stored on CDs, which are highly susceptible to being lost, damaged, or forgotten. These issues are eliminated using a telehealth platform as all medical records and images can be easily uploaded to the platform. Once uploaded, images can be quickly accessed, viewed, stored, and shared. 

As such, patients are no longer responsible for the safekeeping of their records, and practices can ensure their safety and security. When records are easier to access, providers can quickly pull them up for reference and treat patients accordingly. 

Furthermore, as images are better organized, providers can ensure that they refer to the correct patient’s images and the most recent ones. In doing so, providers can minimize the risk of medical errors and improve the accuracy of patient care. As orthopedics practices heavily rely on the use of medical images, such capabilities are essential. 


4. Managing Administrative Tasks


Beyond patient-centered challenges, every healthcare practice faces challenges regarding administrative tasks. While often overlooked, administration is a significant aspect of healthcare as it ensures that payment, insurance, and scheduling are all managed. Unfortunately, administrative tasks are time-consuming and can take time away from patient care, but they must be done accurately. 

With the help of a telehealth platform, administrative tasks are easily manageable. Telehealth platforms consolidate all of these tasks, ensuring that they are completed fully and accurately. Patients can easily manage and conduct payments online, ensuring they pay for their services to keep orthopedics practices up and running. 

Furthermore, patients and providers can easily schedule and manage appointments online, avoiding tedious games of phone tag. With administrative tasks automated and organized, providers can spend more time focused on patient care while still ensuring that their business is running smoothly. 


Solve Your Orthopedics Practice Challenges


Maintaining a balance of running your business while providing high-quality services is no easy feat. Doing so has only become more challenging in recent years as patient demand grows and the healthcare workforce diminishes. Still, patients require orthopedics care, and providers need to keep their practices running. 

Even before the pandemic, orthopedics practices struggled to meet patient needs in tandem with business ones. Once the pandemic hit, these challenges only grew, leaving practices in need of a new solution. By adopting a telehealth platform, you can future-proof your orthopedics practice, improve patient care and overcome business challenges.

Telehealth platforms help practices handle their business and administrative needs, allowing them to focus on what matters most - patients. As a result, orthopedic practices can provide enhanced patient care through increased accessibility, efficiency, and convenience with one overarching solution - telehealth.


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About the author - Mircea Popa

Mircea Popa is the CEO and co-founder of Medicai. Mircea previously founded SkinVision, a mobile app designed to detect melanoma (skin cancer) through ML algorithms applied on images taken with smartphones. He believes that a multidisciplinary approach to medicine is possible only when everyone has access to a better way to store, transmit and collaborate on medical data.