How ORA Orthopedics is Using SMS to Improve Their PRO Capture Rate

May 30, 2017


How ORA Orthopedics is Using SMS to Improve their PRO Capture Rate

When you think of cutting-edge technology, patient-reported outcomes (PROs) probably aren’t at the top of the list. But that’s where you might be surprised. There’s a brand new way to collect PROs that’s easy, exciting, forward-thinking, and so far, very successful.

ORA Orthopedics, a surgery group with seven locations in Iowa and Illinois along the Mississippi River, began collecting PROs back in November of 2014 but had many, many challenges. Back then, ORA Orthopedics collected PROs with two full-time employees and iPads. Not only was it time-consuming (it was taking patients half an hour or more to complete in the clinic, not to mention the burden on staff), but a majority of patients simply didn’t want to share their email address with the surgeon’s office.  

“The entire process just became, for us, too big of a burden,” says Joe Holmbo, Clinical Administrator for ORA. “There was a lot of manual input from our end. We looked at that and said ‘OK, we’re paying a high price for the software and we’re paying two full-time employees to do it.’ It just didn’t make sense.”

“We decided to discontinue that process, look at alternatives, and that’s what brought us to CODE.”

SMS Surveys

Now we’re ready for the exciting part: text messaging. Yes, the cutting-edge technology I was referring to earlier is something as simple as sending a text message. With CODE as ORA’s outcome vendor, ORA sends survey reminders to patients with links to online surveys via text message. It’s been incredibly successful. Within just the first month of implementation, ORA decreased email acquisition phone calls by 42% and increased its overall survey capture rate by 8% the first month it was implemented.

“We’ve seen our emails skyrocket. Before when we asked patients for their email, despite our explanations they would say, ‘I’m not giving you my email. I don’t want spam.’ But when they get that text message saying, ‘You have an assessment your doctor would like you to fill out.’ It’s amazing how many of them will bring out their iPhone or their iPad to put in their email address.”

Widespread participation

What’s even more exciting is that it’s not just millennials that are participating. “We have millennials out here that say, ‘can you text that to me? … you should be able to.’ Then to my surprise, we have dozens and dozens of people, that are in their 70s and 80s responding via text message, which you don’t think would happen.”

Even better, ORA is seeing that sending a text message is also very encouraging for the patient. When patients receive their post-op follow-ups, Holmbo notes, “We’ve gotten really positive feedback in the form of ‘It’s nice to know that my surgeon’s still thinking about me even though it’s been six months since my surgery.’”

With this positive sentiment, patients fill out the survey right then and there, with whatever technology they have in their hands, whether it be their phone, their tablet, or even a laptop. “I think that’s why our compliance has really risen since we’ve instituted the texting technology,” he said.  

About CODE

The problem with any type of data collection is that it’s time-consuming and can be a big pain. ORA can tell you that firsthand – it was a huge hassle before they chose CODE. But as we transition into the new value-based system, PROs are becoming more important and valuable to have. They’re not something forward-thinking organizations can ignore.

CODE Technology is a PRO vendor singularly focused on collecting, reporting, and benchmarking PRO data as a service. The data CODE collects enables practices to benchmark, assist with research, improve patient care, and give leverage in negotiations with payers.

We administer surveys and handle all data collection 100% outside of the office, you won’t even know we’re there. With CODE as your outcomes vendor, additional employees to help with all the data won’t be necessary. “For us to be able to collect PROs without adding any additional staff, it’s well worth the investment that we’ve made with CODE,” notes Holmbo.

Schedule A Call With a PRO Expert!

Need more help with your PRO related questions? CODE can help! Schedule a call with a CODE expert today to get you on your way to better harnessing your patient reported outcomes.