4 Ways Orthopedic Clinics Can Optimize the Patient Journey

June 15, 2021 | By Wendy Bartlett


Delivering top-quality experiences throughout each stage of the patient journey is essential for healthcare practices of all kinds. Like so many other areas of medicine, orthopedic clinics need to identify ways to engage and optimize interactions with patients, from registration and the very first appointment to a positive, healthy outcome.Engagement throughout each stage of the patient journey is key to improving orthopedic outcomes, reducing cost, and enhancing satisfaction. Offering both in-person and digital care experiences that meet today’s consumer expectations can help separate a thriving orthopedic clinic from one that’s just getting by.

Here are four ways you can optimize the patient journey at your orthopedic clinic.

1. Provide Access to a Patient Portal with the Right Features

As healthcare technology continues to evolve, so do consumer expectations for a digital experience. More and more patients expect access to a web portal with a variety of convenient self-service tools that empower them to actively engage in their own care. In fact, a practice lacking digital capabilities runs the risk of losing patients to competitors with more consumer-centric technologies and processes. 

A digital health report revealed that half of surveyed healthcare consumers agree a poor digital experience with a healthcare provider ruins the entire experience with that provider. What’s more, more than a quarter (26 percent) of consumers strongly agree that they are willing to switch to a new provider for high-quality digital services. On the other hand, 39 percent believe a good digital interaction has a major influence on the patient experience. 

To align with patients’ digital expectations, your orthopedic clinic should offer access to a portal with a number of desired features, such as:

  • Appointment scheduling
  • Automated reminders
  • Online patient registration
  • Records and lab results
  • Medication refill requests
  • Two-way communications
  • Flexible financial options

[Infographic] Discover why a full suite of tools beyond the traditional patient  portal is necessary to truly drive engagement and satisfaction.

2. Maintain Frequent, Transparent Communication with Patients

Consumers increasingly demand transparency and convenience from providers regarding their care. More than half of consumers consider it very important for providers to proactively communicate with them. Whether you’re announcing new office hours, introducing a new physician to your practice, closing for the day due to inclement weather, or something else entirely, your patients will appreciate being kept in the loop. 

By communicating with your orthopedic patients openly and often, you can boost engagement and strengthen patient-provider relationships in the process. Plus, you can reduce the number of patient phone calls and emails by proactively passing along relevant information. Additionally, thanks to the availability of modern, integrated healthcare technologies, you can now deliver on-demand communications to your patients in a way that’s most convenient for them—not to mention efficient for you. 

For instance, some orthopedic patients may prefer email or text communications, whereas others may be more responsive (and more appreciative) of phone calls. Learning which channels your patients prefer—and then using technology to automate messages based on those preferences—can help you improve patient satisfaction and reduce churn due to poor provider communication.

3. Deliver Helpful Educational Resources Between Clinic Visits

Health literacy plays an important role when it comes to patient outcomes. When patients understand their post-care instructions and how to properly adhere to provider instructions, they’re more likely to see a good outcome following orthopedic treatment. 

To truly optimize the care journey and increase the likelihood of a good outcome, consider delivering educational resources between clinic visits to equip and empower patients to take an active role in their own care. For example, you might send a series of stretches that a patient should do daily between orthopedic appointments.

4. Send Surveys to Monitor Patient Reported Outcomes

Targeted surveys are another highly effective way to engage orthopedic patients and optimize interactions between them and their providers. Engagement tools with the ability to send automated surveys offer orthopedic clinics an easy, cost-effective way to assess and improve on patient reported outcomes (PRO). 

These surveys measure a number of data points, including how patients feel in regards to:

  • Overall quality of care
  • Functional status
  • Symptom severity
  • Level of pain
  • A particular treatment

Insights collected from these surveys can be leveraged to guide clinical decision-making, enabling a deeper understanding of each orthopedic patient’s health needs and more personalized care as a whole. Additionally, you can deploy automated events that occur based on patients’ survey responses, such as triggering a call or text due to a low functional status or high level of pain.

The patient journey doesn’t end with in-office appointments; it’s an ever-evolving process that requires orthopedic providers and members of their staff to deliver orchestrated patient engagement before, during, and between visits. With a fully optimized patient journey, orthopedic clinics can deliver the best care possible—all while engaging patients and improving their health outcomes in the process.

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