Orthopaedic Practice: 4 Ways to Increase Revenue

In-house imaging provides orthopaedic practices with ancillary revenue stream

“Where you win or lose the game in a medical practice is on the revenue side of the balance sheet.”

Orthopaedic practices, like all medical practices, are feeling the pinch of increased costs, reimbursement pressure, and time-consuming administrative procedures. But on the positive side, there are many opportunities to increase revenue to make your orthopedic practice not only more Chart shows revenue increasingprofitable, but more efficient, for and more satisfying for your patients.

The AAOS created a useful 45-page guide, Enhancing Your Practices Revenue: Pearls and Pitfalls (A Primer for Orthopaedic Surgeons (1). It gives excellent recommendations for adding services, staff, and equipment that are likely to generate incremental revenue in an orthopedic practice.

These suggestions include Non-Physician Extenders (NPEs) such as Physician Assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs), and Athletic Trainers (AT/ATCs), who can “increase physician productivity, patient satisfaction, quality of care, and physician revenue.” Another idea for ancillary revenue generation for orthopedic practices is to add non-surgical physicians who can provide coverage when the surgeon is in the OR. Urgent care centers are another opportunity to make use of your physical set-up and location to build revenue after hours or on weekends.

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Diagnostic Reading #33: Five “Must Read” Articles on HIT and Radiology

The role of imaging in stress tests and MTBI; and the cost of health IT are in the news

Articles include: zero-gravity treadmills beneficial for stress tests; plans that don’t require pre-authorization for radiology imaging are a worst-case scenario; a type of MRI might be effective in assessing mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI); healthcare IT systems and technology cost physicians anRunning on treadmill average of $32,000 a year; and seniors are not embracing digital technology for healthcare management.

Study uses NASA technology for heart health tests – Health Imaging

A new study could give physicians a better understanding of patients’ cardiac health. To combat the burden that traditional treadmill exercise places on patients, physicians are using zero-gravity treadmills in stress tests. The treadmills can reduce patients’ weight by 25 to 50 percent, making it much more comfortable for them to walk for the amount of time necessary to reach a stress test-level heart rate. Then doctors can use normal imaging techniques to take pictures of the heart and its blood supply to determine the patient’s condition.

How to improve patient care and get paid for it too – Health Imaging

It’s a paradox. Procedures listed by payers as “no pre-authorization required” are among the most commonly denied for payment after they’ve been completed. Part of the problem is the general unwillingness of payers to authorize procedures they’ve listed this way. The radiology stakeholders on the short end of this stick include referring physicians along with patients and radiology services providers.

Imaging Predicts Long-Term Effects in Veterans With Brain Injury – Radiology Today

A type of MRI – diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) – might be able to predict post-deployment outcomes for veterans who sustained mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) or a concussion during combat, according to a study. Current assessment of MTBI remains challenging due to the difficulties in separating the effects of MTBI from other conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. DTI uses measurements of water movement in the brain to detect abnormalities, particularly in white matter. Previous studies have linked DTI metrics to neurocognitive function and short-term functional outcomes in groups of patients

Health IT now costs $32,000 per doctor, annually – DotMed Healthcare Business News

A new survey reveals that the move to digitization costs more than $32,000 per doctor per year. Physician-owned multispecialty practices spent more than $32,500 per full-time physician on information technology equipment, staff, maintenance and other related expenses in 2015. That’s a whopping 40 percent bump up for IT costs for doctors since 2009 – the last year before new regulations ushered healthcare into the digital era.

Digital health technology not popular among seniors – Health Data Management

Seniors might be the sickest, most expensive and fastest growing segment of the U.S. healthcare population, but they are not embracing digital technology for healthcare management. A new study of Medicare beneficiaries over age 65 is underway to gather data about how seniors are using digital health.

#HIT #Radres

Diagnostic Reading #32: Five “Must Read” Articles on HIT and Radiology from the Past Week

In the news: medical devices might pose HIT risk; increase in radiology jobs

Articles include: medical devices offer risks for authorized access; ACR projects 16% job growth for radiologists in 2016; Stanford’s radiology department uses patient input to improve processes; FDA issued updated requirements Image of Healthcare Network Access

regarding 510(k) submissions for medical devices and software changes; and RSNA teams with The Sequoia Project to support the electronic exchange of medical images and related diagnostic reports.

Medical devices offer new risks for network access – Health Data Management

Hospitals typically have hundreds of medical devices, which represent an easy gateway for hackers. Newer medical devices might be more robust in the types and amounts of data they collect, and they might connect not only to the core network but also through Wi-Fi networks. A security consulting firm recommends healthcare facilities use “network segmentation,” so that devices are linked to a separate network.

ACR projects 16% job growth for radiologists in 2016 – Auntminnie

The number of new jobs available for radiologists in 2016 will be 16% higher than those available in 2015, according to the fifth annual workforce survey by the Commission on Human Resources at the American College of Radiology (ACR). The study was published online August 3 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Continue reading

Columbus Regional Health Gets Creative When 3 RAD Rooms are Eliminated

Reliability, redundancy and mobility help provider keep pace with imaging needs

Many radiology departments are feeling the pressure of “doing more with less”. For Columbus Regional Health in Indiana, the pressure was literal: the medical provider had to eliminate three RAD rooms yet maintain the same Bill-Algee-Columbus-Regional-Healththroughput. The hospital is meeting the challenge by transitioning to DR and adding mobility to the modality mix.

The provider started by converting its CR mobile X-ray equipment to DR with Carestream’s mobile retrofit kit. That retrofit was followed by the purchase of a Carestream mobile DRX-Revolution.

“Mobility is essential to bringing imaging to where we need it,” said Bill Algee, Radiology Manager at Columbus Regional Health. “Our staff drove it around for a little bit and fell in love with the product.”

Next, the hospital outfitted its imaging room in the emergency department with a DRX-Evolution Plus. The product’s high level of reliability is critical to meeting the needs of the busy ED, which was relocated a considerable distance away from the imaging department.

“It absolutely has to be reliable because it’s the only imaging solution in that area of the hospital,” said Algee. “The reliability factor was really important to us.”

Also, the product’s extended tube column and wall stand provide make it flexible enough to meet the varying imaging needs of patients coming in to the ED.

The hospital has an added level of support from Carestream’s DR Detectors. The wireless DR detector can be used with imaging systems throughout the facility.

“Having uniform detectors gives us an added layer of redundancy. If a cassette goes down in emergency, we can replace it with one from diagnostics,” explained Algee. “And the software is always the same no matter what room we go in to. The technologist doesn’t have to take the time to figure out what to do in different rooms.”

The combination of retrofitting existing equipment and purchasing new products helped Columbus Regional Health transition from CR to DR to meet the U.S. Consolidated Appropriations Act at their own pace.

“We kind of took it in baby steps and that worked well for us. Our staff didn’t feel overwhelmed,” said Algee. “Carestream was the right partner to help us through it; they had the right methodology.”

Watch the video interview with Bill Algee to learn more about Columbus Regional Health’s transition to DR. #radiology #AHRA2016

Erica Carnevale

 

Erica Carnevale is a marketing manager at Carestream Health in the United States and Canada Region.

Three Must-Dos for Health Imaging Providers to Remain Vital

Advisory Board Company’s Imaging Performance Partnership research offers insights for imaging leaders

Recent years have seen transformational change occur in the American health care market. Keegrowth-strategies-for-imagingping up with each development is daunting, but equally challenging is identifying the implications of these changes on the future of health care delivery and payment. Below are three major takeaways for imaging leaders, courtesy of the Advisory
Board Company’s Imaging Performance Partnership research team. This outlook can serve as a guide for forging a successful radiology strategy in 2016 and beyond.

  1. Explore screening and interventional radiology programs as growth opportunities

Recent years have seen low-dose CT (LDCT) lung cancer screening and CT colonography (CTC) receive approval from the United States Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF) as essential health benefits. These decisions open the door for radiology providers to provide these potentially life-saving services to patients in an affordable way, while also demonstrating radiology’s value proposition as a gateway to the health system. Many providers also are exploring mobile mammography and partnerships with employers as a way of growing their programs. In order to ensure the success of these new initiatives, it is vital to deploy marketing strategies to referring physicians about the benefits and potential harms of these services.

Similarly, interventional radiology (IR) has had new life breathed into the specialty as pioneers advance the list of procedures outside of vascular services. Additionally, IR is attractive to both patients and health systems due to its noninvasive nature, its low cost compared to surgical approaches and the great outcomes results. Institutions with existing IR programs should align their growth with non-procedural specialties like oncology, pediatrics and primary care. Several programs have also seen success marketing IR directly to patients who are seeking an alternative to invasive surgeries.

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AHRA 2016 Keynote: The Campaign to Stop Global Whining

Image of Carestream’s Dan Monaghan

Dan Monaghan, Carestream Health, Introducing the AHRA Keynote Speaker

Before introducing the keynote speaker Monday at AHRA 2016, Carestream’s Dan Monaghan asked the radiology administrators in attendance three questions:

  1. Do you need more hours in the day?
  2. Do you wish you had more time and more energy?
  3. Could you use less stress and more fun in your life?

With hands raised and heads nodding, there was agreement that medical imaging directors are feeling the pressure of increased demands from hospital administrators, reimbursement changes and cost controls.

Speaker and author Christine Cashen took to the stage and used a mix of humor and relatable storytelling to compel AHRA attendees to change their perspectives and join her in the “Campaign to Stop Global Whining.”  Her message was simple: conflict is inevitable; different personalities require different approaches; only you can control your emotional state; and as a leader in your department, your positive energy will fuel your team’s success.

This shift in mindset can start with a few simple changes:

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Reducing Sonographer Injuries Takes a Team Approach

Sonographers, practice managers and manufacturers can help reduce musculoskeletal disorders

Ultrasound’s expanding clinical capabilities and its relatively low cost make it a popular imaging choice. And its growing popularity is impacting sonographers’ workload. An imaging department that performed 10 to 20 exams daily in the past might be completing 50 or more today. Often, this growth is managed with the same number of staff, requiring individuals to perform 12 to 15 exams a day. This increased volume is placing added strain on sonographers who are already at risk of injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive motions. Up to 90% of ultrasound professionals report work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD) injSonographer holding an ultrasound transduceruries at some point in their careers.

It takes a surprising number of movements to capture a good diagnostic image. Numerous movements are required to place a patient in the proper position. This is followed by a series of actions – back and forth and up and down – to place the equipment properly; and many ultrasound models have significant weight to them.

Directors of radiology work closely with their sonographers to help reduce their risk of injury not only because they care about their welfare, but also because of the potential economic impact on
the practice. A sonographer with a serious musculoskeletal disorder can be out on disability for an extended period of time. Continue reading

Market & Medical Forces Boost Ultrasound Adoption

Ultrasound’s expanding clinical capabilities and economics contribute to worldwide growth

Low in cost and minimally invasive, medical ultrasound is steadily infiltrating almost every field of medicine. Breast-ultrasound-image
Markets and Markets
reports that the global ultrasound market is expected to reach $6.86 billion by 2020, up from $5.25 billion in 2015. Ultrasound’s growing adoption is fueled in part by two factors: its expanding clinical
capabilities and economics.

In its early stages, ultrasound was used by radiology to capture images primarily for gynecology, and vascular and cardiac care. Today, its application has broadened into orthopaedics, critical care, sports medicine, rheumatology, pain clinics and numerous other medical specialties. The procedures listed as “common” by the FDA include:

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Diagnostic Reading #23: Five “Must Read” Articles on HIT and Radiology from the Past Week

EMRs for healthIT and a new imaging modality are in the news

This week’s articles include: the VA has joined a program that makes it easier for patients to access their electronic medical records; a study examines whether hospitals hesitate to adopt order-entry clinical decision support tools CT Brain Scansthat could drive imaging referrals outside the system; researchers in Portugal are developing an endoscopic scanner that will provide advanced imaging within the body and aid in early detection of cancers that are often found too late; a couple in West Virginia filed a lawsuit against a radiology practice and an individual radiologist for overlooking a brain tumor in CT scans; and Facebook advertising can help speed patients with inflammatory back pain toward appropriate diagnostic procedures.

VA joins NATE, as record sharing movement gains momentum – Health Data Management

The National Association for Trusted Exchange (NATE) has taken another step forward in building momentum for enabling consumers to access and control their healthcare information. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has become the newest member of NATE, a private-public program that aims to make it easier for patients to securely access their records electronically and improve the HIE between data holders and healthcare consumers.

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