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It Wasn't the Easy Decision, But It Was the Right One

Friday, December 14, 2018   (0 Comments)
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Nominations for AAOE’s 2019 Awards of Excellence are open for the next few weeks, so during this time we’ll spotlight different award categories and past winners to spark your interest and ideas of who you can nominate. Last week we took a look at Collaborate Champion. This week the spotlight is on the Innovation Award.

Today, more than ever, innovation is a must for survival and long-term success in healthcare. Those who are able to identify opportunities, think creatively, solve problems, and take risks will elevate orthopedic care.

The Innovation Award recognizes an orthopedic or subspecialty practice, or a hospital department that has developed an innovative solution that can be replicated to benefit the entire orthopedic community. This award celebrates practices that don’t accept “because it’s always been done that way,” as the answer. It recognizes the decisions that may not have been easy but were best for the practice and patients.

Last year’s winner, Ortho NorthEast (ONE), was the perfect example of developing a solution for a common problem occurring in orthopedic practices.

Front desk staff were making repeated errors during patient check-in and check-out. Providers couldn’t understand why, but a closer look revealed a glaring workflow issue. While front desk staff were being tasked with increasingly more responsibility during patient check-in and check-out, the information needed to complete those tasks was housed in multiple places –including everything from a scheduling module to a handwritten sticky note. 

The challenge was clear: staff were searching various sources for the information needed during check-in and check-out. They needed a single place to find all the required information. This revelation led to the development of ONE’s Express Check-in and Check-out system.

“The idea is that there’s one landing page, and it’s all in one place,” explains Tom Pawlik, ATC/L, MS, CIE at Ortho NorthEast.

ONE’s IT Department created a completely customized solution that streamlined the process. Very simply, when checking in patients, staff click the button labelled “Check In” that connects them to a webpage with all the information and steps needed for check-in. 

When patients are checked out, staff click the button labelled “Check Out,” connecting to a webpage with everything for check-out. For instance, if a patient owes a bill, the system helps them create a simple payment plan. Or if a physician has requested a follow-up appointment with a patient, that information will also appear.

The new Express Check-In and Check-Out has been a major hit with staff, physicians, and patients. 

“Staff enjoy using the forms and physicians are seeing fewer mistakes,” Pawlik says. “There has been a reduction in the time a patient is standing at check-in or check-out because our staff is able to get through the information faster than they were before.”

When reflecting on the 2018 Innovation Award, Pawlik gives credit to ONE’s company culture. “We were very honored to receive the Innovation Award. But the culture around here is one of the main reasons why we have the ability to innovate.”

Pawlik recently shared lessons learned for developing a solution to check-in and check-out challenges and creating the type of culture that made this innovation possible.

Has your practice implemented an innovative solution during the past year? Celebrate your success by submitting a nomination for the 2019 Innovation Award!

See all AAOE 2019 Awards of Excellence categories.

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