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Video Spotlight (transcript): OrthoSC

I’m Andrew Wade, I’m the Chief Operating Officer for OrthoSC. we’re a fairly new group, we merged three practices together this past August 2018. A couple of the legacy groups were using Epion before then and we decided to bring all that together into the new group so that the efficiencies and the cool things that we achieved at a using the tool came with us. Size of our group, we are 32 docs and 44 providers in total.

We serve the majority of the Eastern counties of coastal South Carolina. Primarily orthopedics, we do pain management. Of course, we have the full suite of MRI, physical therapy and all the other services. We’re attempting to be a one-stop shop, if you will, from orthopedic problems. If a patient has an issue, they’re able to come, we’re able to take care of it full circle right here so they’re not having to go all over the place to have things taken care of.

I think one of the biggest things that we’ve seen Epion do and this is one of the things that’s so important for us, for OrthoSC. We’re here to take care of patients. I mean, we’re like every other practice that there is. We’ve got to keep the lights on, we’ve got payroll to make. At the end of the day, what we’re really here for is to take care of our patients, the people that are coming through our doors every day. They’re our friends, they’re our family, they’re our community, so we want to take care of them well.

What Epion has helped us do in that is it’s helped us remove some of the burdens and some of the clicking and some of the additional steps that our industry has seen over the last 9, 10 years now that have taken us away from the patient and driven us more towards the technology to wear that we’ve had to put more hands on the keyboard, more clicks, more boxes, more steps, more forms.

Epion has given us the ability to turn back around and focus on the patient, have the conversation with the patient, talk through what’s going on in the patient’s life, which in turn gives us the ability to make a better decision about what’s going to make the best sense in solving the problem that these patient is here to see us for today. I mean, that’s one of the biggest things that comes to mind.

I can talk to you about the reduction in time that our staff spend in the room. I can talk to you about the better data that we get now because it’s coming directly from the patient, instead of it being handwritten on piece of paper, and then manually keyed into the EHR in the room. I can tell you about all the situations where our staff have discovered a medication that they didn’t list that they were taking, that makes a decision now and it’s going to impact what we do with this patient for surgery.

I can tell you about how that we’ve caught other issues that might say maybe we don’t need to go to surgery just yet. There’s a lot of different things along the episode of care that Epion’s really just clicked right into and again, helped us turn back around away from the computer and focus more on our patient which gives us the ability to give better patient care and do a better job of taking care of our community.

I think the biggest impacts that we’ve seen to clinical and administrative burden in the clinics has been that again, the technology is helping us gather data from the front end with the patient. We’re reducing the burden of gathering and entering that data. Pre-Epion everything was being written on a sheet of paper. We handed out this very thick stack of paper to every patient that came through the door. They would then write all in hand all the stuff that they can remember.

Oftentimes the spelling was horrible, the handwriting was terrible and I can’t make fun of anybody because mine’s horrible. There’s a reason why I work with a keyboard for a living. What would happen is all that would filter back to the exam room with the patient as they were being checked in and intake was being done. Our medical assistant staff would have to go through and decipher what had been written on their sheets of paper and then manually key it into the software, into our EHR. 

There was honestly a lot of duplication that was happening where the patient was writing it and then we were writing it. The MAs are trying to move swiftly so that they can keep the clinic flow going. There were entry errors, spelling errors. It’s just made it a lot more concise when the patient comes in the door, we’re handing them an iPad, they’re walking through a simple, easy-to-use interface. It’s walking them through the process of selecting the medications that they’re taking and helping with the spelling errors and that sort of stuff because it pre-populates for them.

It ends up getting them to the room and again, the patients in the room with the medical assistant staff and the medical assistant staff are reviewing the information now, they’re not entering the information anymore. They’re having a conversation with that patient and they’re talking through, “Are you sure you’re still taking these medications,” or “did you stop that one?” Again, that all plays back into what we’re going to do surgically or non surgically to take care of that patient and it’s a huge detail that we catch those things on the front end so they will make the best decision for them.

I could share hundreds of stories to where we’ve caught medications that would change what we were going to do surgery wise for a patient. These are situations where it’s just so important to get the right information on the front end because it’s going to affect everything that we do from that point forward. Every preoperative and postoperative protocol that we use is going to pivot based on those medications that those patients are taking and the other issues that they’ve got going on in their overall healths with their care team around the community.

We’ve caught a lot of stuff where that we’ve either decided that we needed to back up and make sure that we were consulting another specialty to make sure that this patient was truly ready to go to surgery. We’ve had multiple places where we’ve been able to catch things in that patient’s history that we were able to look at them and say, “Hey, you might consider going and getting this checked out with your primary care provider or with this other specialist that we could refer you over to if this is being a problem for you.

We’re really lucky in that our docs care about our patients, is what it is. They want to see them live a great life. They want to see him live their best life, and they’re not just transaction, they’re not just punching them out and moving them through. They’re trying to take the best care of that patient and return them to the quality of life that we want them to enjoy. Onboarding / Implementation quote:  If I were going to describe it beyond onboarding process, I think I would say that I wish other vendors had the same level of coordination and skill that was being used for Epion. Honestly, I’m not on the payroll.

They don’t pay me to say these things but it’s true. I’ve dealt with a lot of different implementations from EHRs and financial management systems and PAC systems. There’s this entire gamut of technology that’s filtered into the process of doing patient care today over the last 10 years. I’ve touched just about all there is to touch now. I’ve seen just about every great experience all the way to the horror stories that go through with the process of bringing that stuff in and figuring out.

We figured out that this is the piece of software, the piece of hardware that we want to use. Now we have to figure out how to wrap that around the workflow of our practice. In some places and in some situations that means that the flow of the practice moves and in other situations that means we customize the software. One of the really neat things that I’ve seen Epion do a couple of times now is that they’ve come in and they’ve really dug in to figure out what’s going on in our practice.

What do we need to have happen here. They’ve put the right people on the ground. They’ve put the right people on the phone calls. I just can’t say how much I appreciate that they’ve done the work to understand us before that they’ve helped deploy their software to us. I’ve been on the other side of implementation before where we were really just another account number on the roster that was being pushed along and the people really didn’t do the work of understanding us. It created downstream problems that we didn’t had to turn around to go clean up.

We haven’t had that experience with that beyond. We’ve had exceptional people from the start of the process to supporting process to the training in the process. It means a lot. Our staff still remember some of the staff that were on site training with them to this day just because we’re just nice people. They were fun to work with. They were easy to work with and they did a really good job of breaking it down and helping them understand not just, “Here’s the steps that you’re going to take, but here’s why.

Here’s what it’s going to do for you on the back end, inside your EHR. Here’s what it’s going to do for the patient and here’s how that is all going to fit together so that we do a better job of taking care of our people that are here to see us.” Once you get to the point where implementation is done, you’re actually live and everything is going along, support is fantastic. Again, I’m not on the payroll. It’s the fact that I send an e-mail and I have a response minutes later. I makea phone call and I have a response minutes later.

I literally did this yesterday. We’re getting ready to bring on a new department. We’re getting ready to expand physical therapy into another location. I emailed support asking if I could get a copy of the packet of data that’s being collected in the check-in process to see how I could fit that into our PT department that we’re bringing on. Literally within minutes, I had a response back from one of the support staff not with just a flippant, one-off answer, but with a detailed listing of, “Look, here’s how this works. Here’s where it’s going to go.

Here’s where you can go within your EHR if you want to adapt it or change it.” It’s clear that whoever is running the support department, back at the home office understands that I as a client don’t have time to figure this stuff out. We don’t have time for that. We’re trying to take care of our patients. We need somebody to help us with quick answers, concise, and thorough answers and they provide it every time.

It’s unheard of and it’s unfortunate, but it’s not common in our industry to find support that does as good of a job of supporting a product once it’s live as they did and the energy that they put into selling it in the first place. I would say that that’s amazing. Is what it is. We’re very thankful for it. Yes, there is. There’s a report if I’m not mistaken. I think it’s a monthly report, I believe, that comes out that Troy was sending us showing us our efficiency, which has been pretty awesome.

Being able to see that on a recurring basis, watching the amount of time that a patient spend using the iPad, watching the amount of time that our actual check-in process is taking from start to finish. It’s huge for us to be able to see those metrics and then measure what we’re doing. Is what we’re doing effective? Do we need to adapt somewhere along the lines to make sure that this is moving smoothly? What can we do to continue making it easier for our patients to get through the check-in process there, so that they’re not wasting their time and their life sitting in our waiting room?

That’s huge to us. We don’t want to be the traditional practice where you, unfortunately, plan to spend all day here because it’s going to take forever to get through the process. We want it to be quick and efficient. We want you to be well taken care of, and well respected while you’re in here with us. We want you to feel like you’re welcome here and we appreciate you here. Then we want to get you out of here and get you back to your life. I think if I were going to use just a word to describe Epion, I would call it efficient.

They’re effective, they’re on it, they bring excellence to the table and that’s all I could ask for in a vendor partnership, is somebody who’s going to bring excellence to the table.

I appreciate the fact that I feel like whenever I say the word excellence, I see a picture in my mind and I feel like the Epion team sees a really similar picture. If we’re going to give someone a word of advice or if they were asking me what I thought of Epion Health, I would tell them that that’s going to be one of the easiest signatures on a contract that they’ll ever place and it’ll be one that they wish they had done earlier.

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