August 2003 Bulletin

Use OrthoStar to boost practice productivity, enhance efficiency

By Sandra Lee Breisch

OrthoStar™–a new orthopaedic-specific software suite for your personal digital assistant (PDA)–is helping orthopaedists streamline surgical scheduling, improve coding accuracy, automate charge captures, eliminate lost charges and expedite reimbursements. Launched in October 2002, users are beginning to see results in their practices.

Three software products

OrthoStar offers three integrated software modules: Basic, Plus and Premium. They include additive features and functions designated for use with both Palm and Pocket PC operation systems. The flexible systems provide for graduated implementation to each orthopaedist’s needs–whether a solo practitioner or in group practice.

Orthopaedists tout benefits

In Toms River, N. J., solo practitioner Munir Ahmed, MD, touts the benefits of the software. "It’s very easy, and user-friendly, to put documentation such as consultations, surgeries and coding into the PDA. It also provides pre-built templates for surgical scheduling," he explains. "What’s unique about OrthoStar is that there are three modules that allow you to meet your specific needs–whether you’re a solo practitioner like myself or in group practice.

"For instance, you can use pre-built surgical report templates to output surgical documentation or you can build your own and make it part of your system. If you perform a total hip replacement, you can actually go to that module and add in what you did. The software allows you to print out a fully detailed report, for example, on a total hip replacement. You can also do all of your in-patient documentation by the bedside or at your leisure and then sync it onto your own computer and print it later. That’s the beauty of it."

Expedites reimbursements

As for expediting reimbursements, "it’s great," Dr. Ahmed, points out. "For instance, I had an operative report from the insurance company that wanted a more detailed report on an arthroscopic surgery," he explains. "I went to OrthoStar and built in a module for arthroscopic surgery for a subacromial decompression. It gave me a very detailed report, the insurance company accepted the claim right away and I was reimbursed. There’s also an update feature to capture the latest coding changes."

At Steamboat Orthopaedic Associates, a two-man group practice in Steamboat Springs, Colo., Bryan Bomberg, MD, is reaping the benefits of the cost savings and significant return from his investment in OrthoStar. "This product costs very little compared to quotes of thousands of dollars that we received to have an electronic medical record (EMR) system, a scheduler and a biller," he explains. "We just didn’t need all of that for our two-man practice. This is the solution we needed–and we’ve gotten pretty comfortable with OrthoStar."

According to Dr. Bomberg, OrthoStar makes surgery scheduling and pre-certification, and benefits verification "a smoother" process. "It also expedites reimbursements from insurance companies," he says. "And since all the coding is done automatically, our staff does not have to go out and search for data."

Great for operative reports

Stephan Kreuzer, MD, who specializes in total joint reconstruction and is in group practice in Houston, Texas, also uses all three OrthoStar modules.

"What interested me in purchasing the product was the possibility of doing operative reports, since I do a lot of minimally invasive surgical procedures such as hips, unicompartmental and unispacers," he explains. "For all of the surgeries I do, I have operative reports on templates through OrthoStar Premium, and it allows me to not only print the operative report, but also generates data for research intraoperatively. Also, when I’m operating, my joint replacement rep assists me by entering the surgical data on the pocket PC. By the time I’m scrubbing out, the data is entered and the report is done."

He says he "really loves" OrthoStar’s program. "It has helped me to code surgeries properly and capture my charges for hospital consultations and emergency room visits. Also, the software’s accounts receivable module definitely helps us expedite the submission of bills."

Physician assistants can use them

Adds Dr. Kreuzer, "OrthoStar is also a great program for physician assistants, allowing them to capture the charges and code of surgeries for physicians, as well as generate operative reports for common procedures. This would also be a great tool to collect data for multi-center trials."

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