Orthopedic Physician Practice Networks Its Way to Success

“It’s easy to use. Easy to track. Easy to communicate. It’s just so much easier to keep up with everything.”

Heather Smith, Referral Coordinator

plano orthopedic logo 1
  • 12 Orthopedic Specialists
  • 40+ Years Combined Experience
  • Voted Super Doctors – Texas Monthly
About Plano Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center

Plano Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center is a 12-physician medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice serves the Dallas-Fort Worth area with a medical clinic and 3 therapy centers.

The Challenge

For a busy medical practice heavily dependent on incoming patient referrals, effective referral management is vital. Not only must the practice schedule referrals efficiently, it must have prompt and smooth communication with the referring offices. At Plano Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center, they know these challenges well. Serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Plano Orthopedic is a high-volume practice specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice boasts 12 physicians and 13 physical therapists working out of a medical clinic and 3 therapy centers. “We have 5 employees in our call center that take phone calls all day long and just schedule patients,” says Heather Smith, referral coordinator at Plano Orthopedic. “Our call volume is in the 400s and 500s per day.” Smith has been the full-time referral coordinator since November 2019. “99% of our referrals are incoming,” says Smith. “When we get a referral, I will put them in the system, then call the patient and get them scheduled or leave a voicemail. Then make sure we get their insurance information, that the referral is in their chart. Get them ready to see the doctor and make sure the doctor has all the info he or she needs.”

With the high volume of calls and referrals, Smith would be hard-pressed to manage these tasks using only fax referrals and a manual system. “With fax referrals, I will need to make 3-5 back-and forth calls,” says Smith. “Especially when I don’t receive demographic information for the patient. I’ve had multiple times where I’ve had to call the referring office to say, ‘I got one page of this referral.’ Or ‘I got the referral page but you didn’t send demographics.’ ‘Oh, I’m sorry, what else do you need?’ And I’m like ‘Well, I need the imaging. I need an office note.’ And I just go down the list with them.”

“We have 5 employees in our call center that take phone calls all day long and just schedule patients, our call volume is in the 400s and 500s per day.”

The Solution

Fortunately, Plano Orthopedic has been using the LeadingReach platform for referral management since late 2015. “With LeadingReach,” says Smith, “you can see all the incoming referrals, maintain a list, and track the referrals. If a patient call comes into the call center and they schedule it, they will put a pop-up notification for the patient account. Then I will look the patient up and change their status – whether the patient was scheduled, or if they declined the referral, or if I’m waiting on their records or whatever the case may be.” If the referring office is in Plano Orthopedic’s LeadingReach network, they can send the referral through the LeadingReach platform instead of by fax. Smith still receives many fax referrals, but she is trying to change that over time. “We’re trying to grow the number of offices that are in our network, because I prefer referrals to come through LeadingReach instead of fax.” Nonetheless, it is a simple task for Smith to add fax referrals to the LeadingReach system. “It takes about 30 seconds. It’s really easy.” Smith especially enjoys the recently added collaboration feature of LeadingReach. “If the referring office is already on the LeadingReach platform, I just tag them and add them as a collaborator. Then they get all of the information via LeadingReach.” Before using this feature, Smith would log the incoming referral, then call or email the referring office to follow up. “The collaboration feature just made it easy to change the patient status – out-of-network, scheduled, unable to reach the patient, or whatever it was. Then the referring office can see the patient status through LeadingReach.”

The collaboration feature also helps with outgoing referrals. “I can see the status of the patients – they’ve scheduled them, they can’t reach them, whatever it may be.”

The LeadingReach messaging system is also useful, says Smith. “I’ve used the messaging system to say, ‘Hey, I’m missing the imaging report, the patient said they had an MRI with y’all.’ And then within a few hours I have the report back.” The ability to track referrals and generate reports is another plus of the platform. “Our CEO is very much a numbers person and so am I. When we look at the trend of how many referrals we’re getting through LeadingReach, it just brings me satisfaction when those numbers go up. And then when they drop, I’m like,, why are they dropping? What’s going on? What offices stopped referring to us?”

“When we look at the trend of how many referrals we’re getting through LeadingReach, it just brings me satisfaction when those numbers go up.”

The Results

Since signing up with LeadingReach, Plano Orthopedic has received over 2,300 referrals directly from LeadingReach connections and has manually added 4,000 referrals to the system. The practice is also continually expanding its LeadingReach network, which now includes 160 providers. “And I keep finding referring offices that are on LeadingReach, that I didn’t know about,” says Smith. “When I make the connection via LeadingReach, it’s easier to contact each other, to send patient documents back and forth, to send and receive referrals.” The marketing team also promotes the platform when they visit clinics and doctor’s offices. “They’re letting people know, ‘Hey, if you are on LeadingReach already, then we’d love to add you to our network, that’s the best way to send referrals.” Plano Orthopedic uses LeadingReach to measure and maximize their referral-to-appointment (RTA) ratio. “Our RTA goal is set at 60%,” says Smith. “We’ve gotten close to our goal of 30 referrals a day, and our RTA pretty steadily stays at 70-74%.” The tracking and reporting have allowed the practice to be strategic with their referral management. “I send reports to our CEO and practice administrator daily,” says Smith. “It helps all of us to see what came in today.” “Just a couple weeks ago,” Smith continues, “both myself, a couple of our doctors, and our CEO noticed a drop in referrals. So I went back into LeadingReach and looked to see what offices have been referring to us quite a bit but have dropped off. Then I was able to contact those offices and say, ‘Hey, just wanted to check in and make sure everything’s good. You need anything from us?’ Just kind of find out what was going on. We wouldn’t have been able to do that without LeadingReach.” Smith sums up the strengths of LeadingReach simply. “It’s easy to use. Easy to track. Easy to communicate. It’s just so much easier to keep up with everything. Like I’ve told our CEO, I wish every office was on LeadingReach.”

“I send reports to our CEO and practice administrator daily. It helps all of us to see what came in today.”

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