Here at Luma Health, we’re always inspired and excited to share some of the amazing things our customers are doing to improve patient engagement, increase access to care, and boost patient outcomes. In our most recent Customer Spotlight, we caught up with Tahoe Fracture, an orthopedics practice with seven locations across the beautiful Lake Tahoe region (We’re a little jealous!). We had a great chat with Melinda, Tahoe Fracture’s scheduling lead, who shared with us some of the key areas of impact our technology has had on the practice.
ELIMINATING MANUAL PROCESSING
In the past, the Tahoe Fracture staff was conducting patient communications entirely manually. This was no easy task to coordinate, given that its 26 providers were seeing approximately 250-300 patients every day, spread out across seven different locations. Under this process, the staff was tasked with confirming appointments and conducting one-by-one follow-up calls with patients, creating an endless cycle of phone calls for the team. Now, automated outreach processes schedule appointments with patients without staff needing to manually call each and every patient. Melinda explained that this new process has helped prevent patients from falling through the cracks, ensuring every patient is contacted in a timely manner. She noted, “I don’t know how we even functioned without Luma Health!”
Streamlining manual processes has helped not only with external communications, but also with internal conversations between staff members. With a total of 120 employees across all locations, internal communication isn’t always easy at Tahoe Fracture. Implementing Luma Health’s Collaboration Hub has been essential to making seamless communication between specific care teams a reality. Take, for example, the practice’s MRI machines: sometimes, providers at one office will send patients out to another Tahoe Fracture office so they can undergo an MRI. Office-to-office communication ensures these patients are tracked and accounted for, enabling positive care outcomes and maintaining the continuum of care for every patient.
EMBRACING THE TEXT MESSAGE
For the Tahoe Fracture staff, cutting down on manual tasks and eliminating the constant game of phone tag has freed up time to focus on other important aspects of providing care, from greeting patients at the front desk to managing patient comfort to triaging patients. Another area of the platform that has helped to reduce staff workload is broadcast messaging — with broadcast messaging, staff can send out mass texts to specific groups of patients based on their provider, appointment type, facility, etc. This is especially helpful when providers are called into emergency surgery. Melinda shared one example of a doctor who sees between 50 and 60 patients every day with the help of his Physician’s Assistant. If the doctor needs to perform a surgery unexpectedly, Tahoe Fracture can now broadcast a message to every patient impacted to let them know about the change in schedule and provide them with a link to reschedule their appointment. Previously, staff had to manually call every single patient and schedule a new appointment, so this increased convenience has been a huge help for both staff and patients.
In total, Tahoe Fracture has sent more than 3,900 broadcast messages with the Luma Health platform, unlocking the full power of patient engagement technology. With the ability to reach patients more quickly and easily than ever before, the practice takes full advantage of the option to customize its messages to fit its patients’ unique needs and the practice’s specialized workflows
In addition, Tahoe Fracture allows its patients to easily cancel and reschedule appointments via text. Using smart waitlists that automatically find patients to fill appointment vacancies, Tahoe Fracture has filled a total of 728 cancellations. Given the average appointment value of $100, the practice has retained $72,800 that would have otherwise been lost to unfilled appointments. More importantly, this technology enables Tahoe Fracture patients to get to care more quickly.
Melinda noted that she personally prefers text messages and almost never answers her phone unless she recognizes the number. This is a common phenomenon — in fact, with new iOS updates, many phones automatically block all incoming calls from unknown numbers. Given the cultural shift away from answering phone calls, it’s clear that a text-first approach has been essential for helping Tahoe Fracture establish and maintain contact with patients. The practice’s patient engagement rate is 80 percent, meaning that 8 out of every 10 Tahoe Fracture patients who receive actionable messaging from Luma Health ultimately respond to that message. These numbers show the value of listening to patients and making the technological advancements that patients are increasingly demanding.
UPLEVELING REFERRAL MANAGEMENT
Melinda shared that the number one benefit of partnering with Luma Health has been the referral management system. The practice receives about 35-40 referrals per day, and instead of setting into motion a long game of phone tag, referrals are now automatically tracked and patients receive automated outreach messages. Then, patients can confirm appointments at their convenience, on their device of choice. And if they need to cancel their appointments, opting into a waitlist is easy for patients and staff alike. Melinda explained that this “hands-off” process has been far less work for the staff, freeing up time for them to focus on what matters most — providing stellar patient care.
Some offices sending referrals to Tahoe Fracture thought they were just throwing referrals in the trash instead of scheduling their patients— another reason why mobile-first technology has been a game-changer for the way Tahoe Fracture handles referrals. Now, there is no need to manually call referred patients — all of that work is automated. The end result: getting patients to care faster, which in turn generates revenue for Tahoe Fracture. The wait for appointments used to be so long that patients would be forced to choose another provider to get care in a timely manner. But, that’s now a problem of the past. Today, shorter wait times have been key to attracting new patients and retaining existing ones.
Prior to partnering with Luma Health, Tahoe Fracture’s referral conversion rate was 47 percent. And while that’s in line with the average conversion rate across the country, which hovers between 40 and 50 percent, Melinda saw significant room for improvement. She viewed 47 percent as an “F” and wanted to do better — that was where automating referral management came into play. After automating its referral management process, Melinda has seen significant results: Tahoe Fracture’s referral conversion rate has skyrocketed, hitting 88.6 percent in December 2019, with a total of 410 referrals scheduled. Overall, since implementing the referral management feature in June 2018, Tahoe Fracture has scheduled 4,846 referrals, meaning that the practice has been able to boost its referral-generated revenue by nearly half a million dollars by adopting a text-first approach.
Melinda stressed that these numbers underscore the value of improving patient access. This massive increase in referral conversions is helping to ensure that every patient at Tahoe Fracture is able to get the care they need, without barriers to care standing in their way.
LOOKING FORWARD: 2020 AND BEYOND
Armed with Luma Health’s total patient engagement platform, Melinda has ambitious goals in mind for 2020: within the Tahoe-Carson City area, she wants Tahoe Fracture to become the preeminent orthopedic practice of choice. Melinda recognizes that achieving that goal means listening to the patients and continually adjusting processes to ensure a positive patient experience and satisfaction. She loves playing around with data reports and being able to see measurable improvements in the numbers, while simultaneously having visibility into the areas where Tahoe Fracture can continue to optimize. “And the best part,” Melinda shared, is that patients are ultimately the ones who benefit the most from new technology. “Connecting patients to the top-quality care they need and deserve is Tahoe Fracture’s ultimate goal, and our partnership with Luma Health ensures this can be achieved in the fastest, most convenient way possible for patients,” she concluded.