Inefficient, paper-based business processes have become incompatible with today’s demanding healthcare environment where practices face massive complexities, ranging from reimbursement challenges to compliance hurdles — and this was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the average physician, paperwork and administrative tasks take up about 15.6 hours per week, according to nearly 17,500 physicians Medscape surveyed from Oct. 4, 2019, to Feb. 10, 2020. It has long been clear that devoting so much time to paper-based processes isn’t sustainable — excess administrative burden is among the leading causes of closure for independent practices, according to a 2017 report by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
A year into the pandemic, as practices reel from elective case delays and higher COVID-19-related inventory expenses, the imperative to eliminate costly administrative inefficiencies is stronger than ever.
“You have regulatory changes, price transparency rules, stretched labor, the challenge of remote access,” said Steve Ingel, Executive Vice President of the Healthcare Solutions group for DJO® Global. “Cash is even more king today than it was yesterday when you add all those things up, especially following a year when the patient population was visiting their physician less frequently.”
That’s where DJO’s Healthcare Solutions platform, MotionMD®, comes into play. Installed in over 2,500 facilities, across 28k providers, the software is designed to streamline various functions throughout the continuum of care, from patient selection to claims processing, thereby helping providers save valuable time and energy.
“We’re trying to solve real problems through automation,” Mr. Ingel said. “Automation takes a lot of burden off of already- strained resources.”
Solutions for every business scenario
With a flexible development cycle, DJO continuously updates and expands MotionMD’s software platform to meet practices’ ever-evolving needs. For instance, in response to COVID-19-related restrictions on elective cases in March, DJO pivoted efforts and created a telehealth program to help customers deliver products to patients remotely.
“We developed on the platform a compliant way for providers to prescribe products and have patients sign off on a telehealth visit,” Mr. Ingel said. “We’re able to deliver products right to the patient’s home, so we don’t have any breakage in that continuum of care.”
While responding to unexpected disruptions in healthcare, DJO® is also keeping an eye on major trends such as the migration of total joint replacements to outpatient settings. The share of knee replacements performed in ASCs is expected to hit nearly 30 percent by the mid-2020s, according to a September 2019 Bain & Co. report. DJO wants to help providers shift these procedures safely and with more certainty.
OaraScore®, a predictive arthroplasty risk assessment tool on the MotionMD® platform, evaluates medical history to indicate whether a patient is well-suited for rapid discharge. A predictive guide based on nine comorbidity cohorts, the module addresses one of the most critical components of any successful outpatient total joint program — patient selection — and it can be customized to a practice’s existing protocols.
“All this has been peer-reviewed and validated,” Mr. Ingel said. “It’s going to enable even more practices to confidently migrate a good portion of these patients to an ASC setting.”
Mr. Ingel’s confidence in OaraScore is backed by studies showing its effectiveness. In 2017, the Journal of Arthroplasty published a retrospective study of 1,120 primary total joint arthroplasty patients, which concluded “the OaraScore for primary TJA has more precise predictive ability” than either the ASA Physical Status or the Charlson Comorbidity Index.
In 2018, a study of 332 patients who underwent primary total hip arthroplasty at an academic medical center came to a similarly promising conclusion: that OaraScore screening “was a highly predictive tool” in helping to identify next-day discharge patients.
Recognizing that this kind of technology can help steer healthier patients away from hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, DJO in May 2020 announced that a six-month free trial of OaraScore would be available to all new users — yet another way the company has prioritized customers’ and patients’ needs during the crisis.
“For the foreseeable future, it may be more realistic and appropriate for relatively healthy patients to avoid inpatient hospital stays,” said Michael Meneghini, MD, a knee surgeon at Indianapolis-based IU Health and a paid DJO consultant. “It’s reassuring for surgeons to have a tool like OaraScore that can help safely transition many total joint arthroplasty patients into a more appropriate outpatient or same-day discharge pathway.”
Shoring up finances with upfront collections
It’s not just clinical and care delivery trends that DJO is staying ahead of — the company also has a pulse on mounting challenges when it comes to insurance coverage.
The share of workers enrolled in high-deductible health plans at large employers reached 47 percent in 2019 — an all-time high, according to the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Moreover, the pandemic caused as many as 7.7 million workers to lose jobs with employer- sponsored insurance as of June 2020, The Commonwealth Fund estimated.
Up against these obstacles, Mr. Ingel said, practices with outdated insurance verification processes are likely to waste valuable time chasing down payments and miss out on revenue that’s especially critical amid volume downturns. For that reason, MotionMD’s VeriPro® application helps provide patients and providers with a cost-of-care estimate at the time of service and enables practices to collect estimated patient responsibility with confidence upfront.
“With VeriPro, we are able to be transparent and up front with our patients about the cost of durable medical equipment,” said Cristy A., RN, the clinical nurse manager of Longview (Wash.) Orthopedics Associates. “This allows us to spend more time on patient care and optimize our patient’s clinical experience.”
Not only does VeriPro help patients to make informed decisions about their care and improve their overall experience, it also addresses the critical need for practices to collect payment quickly and in full. Longview Orthopedics Associates has experienced first-hand the benefits of automating financial processes. After installing VeriPro, the practice recorded a significant improvement in upfront cash collections.
“We are no longer chasing the money since we collect prior to patients leaving,” said Wanda R., Longview’s business office manager.
Making the long-overdue investment
Seeing the need to streamline core practice functions — and the clear advantages of doing so — DJO has equipped MotionMD with VeriPro for cash collections and OaraScore for preoperative patient screening. The platform also features solutions for long-term patient outcome tracking, remote patient monitoring and more, and its modules will continue building as DJO anticipates future challenges.
Even with these customized, forward-looking solutions on the market, practices may be reluctant to initiate change, according to Mr. Ingel. Modernization can seem daunting and it takes work, but he contends that a practice’s viability depends on it.
“Those who haven’t gone down the path of automating are still having to deal with those inefficiencies that existed yesterday, only they’re even more of a challenge today with all of the things coming your way,” he said. “Labor, preparing personal protective equipment — all these things are making it tougher to keep practices open.”
For practices that do turn to automation for help solving inefficiencies, engagement from staff and administrators is essential to successful adoption. To facilitate a smooth integration, MotionMD® customers help design their own automated workflows in close coordination with DJO®.
Collaborating with a proven partner was a top priority for Erik Frazier as he transitioned into the role of CEO at Orthopedic Partners, which has offices in North Franklin, Conn., and Niantic, Conn.
“I wanted to make sure that at Orthopedic Partners, we replicated some of the previous successes I had experienced with workflow efficiency and profitability,” Mr. Frazier said. “The MotionMD software enables our doctors to easily set up their individual pathway protocols. It also addresses clinic pain points like keeping billing organized, managing inventory and helping make the overall process easier for my staff. This is the second time I have implemented MotionMD at a large practice, and the DJO Healthcare Solutions Integration, Implementation and Customer Success teams have ensured it has run smoothly for all.”
With MotionMD up and running, Orthopedic Partners and other customers are promised data security within the HITRUST certified platform. To date, MotionMD has been successfully integrated with 47 EMRs, delivering the kind of compatibility modern practices need.
At the end of the day, “the clinic staff doesn’t have piles of paperwork to process,” Mr. Ingel said. “Between electronic ordering, clean-claim technology, early-warning notifications, real-time benefits verification and patient responsibility, it’s a better patient experience and a better financial outcome for the practice. No one can afford to waste money, time or personnel on outdated, manual or inefficient systems.”
This article is sponsored by DJO.