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Opportunities to Improve and Implement Patient Access Points in an Independent Orthopedic Practice

Fellowship Paper - August 4, 2020

Business Strategy

Jeff McPherson FACMPE
PROJECT SUMMARY

In 2014 the practice realized the outreach options of direct patient messaging, scheduling, and patient reminders for appointments currently being utilized had become limiting in potential.  It was also discovered that patient/referring office surveys documented a growing decrease in satisfaction of service, and lower scores both in patient response time to phone calls, and delayed scheduling of patients from referral sources.  Around that same period in 2014, the group began experimenting with an Urgent Care option for immediate treatment of orthopedic injuries, but it did not have the desirable response and volume expected.  That same year the practice experienced one of the worst losses of revenue since inception relating to the purchase of an EHR and bringing on four new providers that were slower to establish their practices compared to physicians in prior years.  The physician owners and administration noted the increased risk and unsustainable pattern of not correcting these issues along with the risk and the possible loss of reputation to service and desired growth in the community.  

There are many opportunities for quick access to orthopedic care.  Online scheduling, Urgent Care Clinics allowing walk-in appointments, specialized scheduling and triaging of appointments, and portals for referring offices to track their referrals are just a few options.  The practice was the first in the area to implement many of these different services.  They have attempted to utilize several patient access opportunities to leverage technology and convenience to become a leader in patient response, and service to referring offices.  The plan to improve these access points would be directly measured through an increase in office visits, revenue, and patient/referral satisfaction surveys.

This plan outlines the process of evaluating and implementing options to increase the availability, and ease of making appointments.  The goal of the practice is to be more readily accessible to patients and referral sources the practice is currently serving, but also to increase market share where the practice has not reached patients and referral sources while maintaining and further improving on its efforts of customer service and patient care.  It will be the Administrator’s responsibility to develop a plan of action with the management team to evaluate all options that provide the Practice the best plan to improve access to the physicians along with the least amount of risk.


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About the Author

Jeff McPherson
Jeff McPherson FACMPE
Chief Operating Officer Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinics PC Knoxville, TN
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