Each specialty brings a distinctive set of challenges and, therefore, requires different software capabilities. So PYP has focused special attention on certain specialties by publishing a series of articles that concentrate on the current state of each specialty and the functionality they demand from health IT software.
In the sixth installment of our specialty snapshot series, we take a look at the field of orthopedic surgery.
The State of Orthopedic Surgery
Orthopedic surgeons diagnose, treat, and prevent injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. This involves performing both minor procedures and major surgeries.
Although most orthopedic surgeons work in private practice settings, they also spend a large portion of their time performing procedures in hospitals and ambulatory care centers. Due to the financial pressures of private practice, though, a growing number are turning to hospitals for full-time employment.
Even with increased financial burdens, orthopedic surgeons are still the highest-paid U.S. doctors, bringing in an average of $405,000 a year according to a 2013 Medscape report. However, declining reimbursements and rising costs are still a primary concern when it comes to their financial viability.
What Type of Functionality Do Orthopedic Surgeons Need
Seeing how most orthopedic surgeons split time between practice and hospital settings, they should consider cloud-based EHR solutions. As opposed to client-server software, cloud-based EHRs can be accessed anywhere with an Internet connection, giving orthopedic surgeons the option of taking their patient information offsite.
Customizable templates should also be high on any orthopedic surgeon’s checklist of essential EHR features. Because they see patients during all stages of the treatment cycle, orthopedic surgeons must be able to create templates that work equally well for all types of care situations.
When it comes to administrative duties, orthopedic surgeons need practice management software that will battle the declining reimbursements and rising costs that threaten their revenue.
PM software must get orthopedic surgeons’ revenue cycle in peak working condition through code scrubbing, rules checking and patient eligibility review capabilities. By reducing errors, PM software lessens the financial blow inflicted by denied claims.
Orthopedic surgeons will also need to see more patients as a remedy to any incoming financial hindrances. A practice management solution with real-time patient flow charts will pinpoint where bottlenecks occur, allowing orthopedic surgeons to distribute resources more effectively.
While orthopedic surgeons are the highest-paid specialists, they are going to have to take action if they want to remain at the top. EHR and PM systems are their best shot at increasing productivity and maintaining profitability.