The future of outpatient orthopedics: 4 things to know

Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, Oswego (N.Y.) Health and dozens of other health systems across the country are investing in orthopedics.

Four insights about the orthopedic space:

1. Hospitals and health systems are building and opening outpatient facilities — such as the Hartford, Conn.-based St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center's $26.2 million pain and orthopedic ASC — to keep pace with increasing numbers of total knee replacements.

2. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons predicts the number of total knee replacements performed in the U.S. will increase 189 percent to 1.3 million by 2030, and then to 2.6 million in 2060. By comparison, around 680,000 total knee replacements were performed in 2014.

3. Developers are exploring how to use telehealth in orthopedics to reduce healthcare costs without jeopardizing patient care. Orthopedic surgeon Mary O'Connor, MD, suggested animated avatars that guide patients' at-home physical therapy exercises could be the next big thing. Separately, Shriners Hospitals for Children-Chicago is partnering with Angola, Ind.-based Cameron Memorial Community Hospital to offer telehealth care to pediatric patients with orthopedic and spine conditions. 

4. Orthopedic surgeons are the fourth biggest revenue-generators for their affiliated hospitals, according to Merritt Hawkins' "2019 Physician Inpatient/Outpatient Revenue Survey." They bring in about $3.3 million yearly — more than six times their average annual starting salary.

More articles on orthopedics:
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