Orthopaedic surgical practice is rapidly becoming more and more complex as new techniques and technologies continue to shape and change the relationship between the physician and the patient. The pressure to compile reports and complete necessary forms for meaningful use, insurance compliance, Medicare regulations, and the Affordable Care Act all add to the complexity. Growing costs, and the growing gap between costs and reimbursements for orthopaedic surgical procedures, often creates tension between hospitals and physicians regarding expenditures. This balancing act requires orthopaedic surgeons to find cost effective ways to simplify their practice. The unique nature of an orthopaedic surgery practice means that hiring a medical scribe can quickly deliver a significant return on investment (ROI).
Medical Scribes and the Orthopaedic Practice
Orthopaedic surgeons often maintain a crowded clinic schedule. It’s not unusual for physicians to see as many as 50 patients a day. With the push toward electronic health records (EHRs) to meet the need for more detailed documentation, many orthopaedic surgeons find it difficult to keep up with the fast pace of their practice. Surgeons have been challenged to be proficient in all aspects of these new technologies. Yet, time spent entering data rather than moving to the next patient costs money. One solution gaining popularity is the use of orthopaedic medical scribes. Ortho medical scribes are trained individuals dedicated to the collection and recording of patient and visit records. Typically, a medical scribe follows the physician throughout the patient interaction, recording the details required for accurate medical records. This frees the physician to concentrate on providing quality healthcare while maintaining a hectic schedule. It also means scribes need to be knowledgeable and proficient in the specific details of orthopaedic surgery. Hiring a well-trained, professional medical scribe costs money, and the question at the forefront for most providers is one of cost effectiveness.
Doing the Math
By employing medical scribes to significantly reducing the amount of time spent on administrative tasks between patients, we have seen surgeons see five to ten additional patients per day. As for the profitability of seeing more patients, the math is clear. Every minute a physician spends recording patient data, they are not seeing patients and billing for their time. A medical scribe frees up that precious time and allows the administrative end of record keeping to be performed more efficiently. Seeing more patients and generating more billable services is a benefit across all medical fields. In orthopaedics, perhaps a greater consideration are downstream revenue opportunities created by performing additional surgical procedures.The time saved allows for additional new patient visits driving scheduling of surgical procedures. By helping orthopaedic surgeons fill their surgical schedules, medical scribes provide an additional ROI that can significantly increase profit margins.
The Question of Cost
The bottom line is, if an orthopaedic surgeon sees more patients, they generate additional revenue that more than covers the cost of a medical scribe. If a surgeon fills their surgical schedule by seeing additional patients, the revenue generated pays the scribes’ average hourly rate and beyond, increasing profits. The complexity and rapid pace of an orthopaedic practice can seem overwhelming. Working with a medical scribe can simplify the process, expand both the clinical and surgical schedule, and provide a significant ROI eliminating concerns over cost effectiveness. Meta: New techniques and technologies continue to change the relationship between the orthopaedic surgeon and the patient. orthopaedic medical scribes can help.