A telemedicine platform can improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs in a physician-managed bundled payment plan for orthopedic clinics. But physicians have to know how to create a plan that will gain payer approval.
For orthopedic practices looking to improve post-acute care, a bundled payment plan that incorporates telemedicine can reduce expenses and improve patient outcomes. But it takes careful planning to create a good bundle.
“You’ve got to know the business,” says Stephen Lucey, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Greensboro, N.C.-based Delta Joint Management. “Telehealth offers tons of opportunity for improving care, but you need to know how to fit it in.”
Delta Joint Management, a network of three Greensboro-based orthopedic clinics, has negotiated physician-controlled bundled payment plans with health plans for its joint replacement patients. The group uses VERA (Virtual Exercise Rehabilitation Assistant), a connected health platform developed by San Diego-based Reflexion Health, to guide patients in home-based rehabilitation programs following surgery.
Lucey sees physician-controlled bundled payment plans as the wave of the future for post-acute care, and he expects that telehealth and telemedicine will become further integrated into these plans as physicians become more comfortable with the technology – and as the payer market evaluates the savings and outcomes compared to traditional in-person care.
“First of all, the physician should be in charge because we’re the ones who care for the patient,” he says. “And with telemedicine, I’m actively managing my patients (outside the doctor’s office). I’m regaining that control over their care, and I feel real comfortable when I know what they’re doing.”