When the pandemic began last year, an enormous strain was placed on ASCs. With less digital infrastructure in place compared to larger hospitals and systems, ASCs were quick to acknowledge the need for remote patient care technologies to maintain their patients’ quality of care and overall experience; minimize interruptions in access between patients and providers; and maximize remote recoveries before in-person visits could resume.
With investments into ASCs surging and an increasingly competitive market, programs that leverage virtual care technology, to engage and interact with their patients from afar, will ultimately see the most satisfied patients and market share in the long run.
Frederick Surgical Center (FSC), a regional leader for ambulatory total joints, is one such ASC that is leading the charge for leveraging technology to set their patients - and their program - up for success. Dr. Scott Gelman, Director of FSC’s Joint Innovations Program, shared his thoughts on why their program partnered with Force to help reach these goals.
Note: Responses were lightly edited for style and brevity.
On the challenges their program was facing:
Before the pandemic, “we didn't have a robust joint replacement program at the surgery center. I wanted to create more of a comprehensive program, where everyone involved in the patient’s care is integrated. One of the challenges is that people are working through a lot of technologies across different offices, so how do you integrate all of those people? That’s where Force comes in to solve some of those problems.”
On the role of remote monitoring to coordinate high-quality virtual care:
“We previously tried HIPAA-compliant texting applications, but they don't allow for great communication, and they only work when the patient is directly interacting with the provider. Before, we’d have to think about reaching out to patients on a regular basis, which is not good when you’re trying to stay efficient. If you can log in, make sure everyone’s okay, and just look for the people who need extra attention, it’ll be much better to prevent issues.
“Force is a great solution for this, as it allows me to track patients without them having to [proactively] reach out; the PT is able to send separate updates to both the patient and to me, and the [care team] can send reminders to the patient about keeping up with their exercises. Technology is the only real solution for this issue in terms of making sure patients are getting the attention and care they need when they want to avoid going into facilities or the hospital.”
"Technology is the only real solution for this issue in terms of making sure patients are getting the attention and care they need when they want to avoid going into facilities or the hospital.”
On the increased urgency to adopt technology:
“[The pandemic] can create a lot of opportunities for change and growth and make people look at telemedicine in a different way. There are some limitations to it but, in terms of post-op care, it is a major opportunity to look at how we can integrate technology into orthopedics.”
“In terms of urgency, [programs] that integrate technology are going to have patients who are happier and most satisfied. It's going to be a major driver in satisfaction moving forward - patients are going to be more comfortable using technology to avoid in-person visits, knowing that we're following their progress and how they're doing without needing the face-to-face. Patients feel much better being on a platform like Force, which is what is going to help differentiate our program in the end.”