October 1998 Bulletin

BONES experts help solo small practices

Lots of orthopaedic surgeons may not know the history of the BONES Society, but they're learning that the organization offers an important management problem solving mechanism for solo and small orthopaedic practices.

Timothy A. Pella, 1998 president of BONES, sheds some light on the history of the 1,500-member organization of orthopaedic administrators and managers and what it does. "BONES, originally an acronym for Best Orthopaedic Nationwide Evaluation Society, was founded in 1969 as a way for orthopaedic managers to solve problems by sharing information through networking with other BONES members," Pella said. "The organization provides orthopaedic-specific management information to members in almost every state in the nation, representing solo physician offices as well as large clinics and academic practices."

BONES members have a range of experience from three to 20 years, providing an extremely broad knowledge base that Academy members can access for help with management problem solving, said Pella. "BONES members became aware of the need of solo and small practice orthopaedic surgeons to access management information sources from discussions with Academy members at the BONES poster exhibits during the 1997 and 1998 Annual Meetings," he noted. "Developing a means for Academy members to access the BONES network will take very little effort because the society already has an effective mechanism in place for sharing practice management information among its own members.

"The society has a member database that can be used by Academy members as part of the BONES broadcast fax service. The database can be searched by geography, practice size and type, managed care and capitation penetration, building expansions, merger and acquisition data, other specialists and mid-level providers on staff and several other data sets accumulated from member surveys."

Use of the database would allow small practice orthopaedic surgeons to access the names of BONES members who could best answer questions about office management issues in these practice settings, Pella said. BONES 's broadcast fax system allows members to send a question to the BONES administrative staff, and after database matching based on the subject, a question can be sent to more than 30 members for an immediate response. Pella points out that by matching selected members in the database, only those qualified members will receive and answer it.

Responses are faxed directly to the questioner. The responses also can be accumulated at the BONES office and then sent to the questioner. Rapid response times and the amount of qualified information acquired in a short time allows for an inexpensive cost of the broadcast fax service to the questioner.

Pella said Academy members from small practices are encouraged to take advantage of the BONES Society management knowledge base. The charge is $50 if the practice doesn't have a practice administrator or if the practice administrator is not a member of BONES. There is no charge if the practice administrator is a member of BONES.

Academy members can contact the BONES office at (800) 247-9699 for more information or to have a question referred to a BONES member who is qualified to answer it.

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