In this episode of the Growing a Successful Orthopedic Practice Podcast, R. Michael Greiwe, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and founder of the telemedicine platforms OrthoLive and SpringHealthLIve, joins Keith Landry to discuss how orthopedic practices can increase revenue using telemedicine.
Dr. Greiwe predicts the United States could see 100 million telemedicine visits in 2020, up from about 20 million the previous year. He believes patients will continue to demand video visits in the future, and practices will have to adapt and continue to offer them to remain relevant even in a post-COVID environment.
Tune in to discover:
- Ways to increase revenue at your orthopedic practice using telemedicine
- How telemedicine can improve the patient experience and give your providers more time with their family
- Whether or not physicians will be allowed to practice telemedicine across state lines
- Why telemedicine visits for Medicare patients will continue to be as much about safety as convenience
Michael Greiwe, M.D., is an orthopedic surgeon near Cincinnati, OH. He is also the founder of two telemedicine platforms, OrthoLive and SpringHealthLIve, which are experiencing dramatic growth. Dr. Greiwe attended the University of Notre Dame, where he won the prestigious Knute Rockne Award for excellence in academics and athletics. In 2010, Dr. Greiwe completed a fellowship in shoulder, elbow and sports medicine at Columbia University.
About Keith Landry
Keith Landry is Director of Public Relations at Insight Marketing Group. Keith has been a public relations consultant since 2010. He has more than 26 years of experience as a news anchor, news reporter and public affairs show host, which he uses to implement innovative public relations strategies for medical practice clients.
Dr. Michael Gre…: And so, you’ve seen this gigantic rise in telemedicine visits. And I think we’re going to top over 100 million visits this year, where I think we were at 20 million last year, and maybe even higher than that.
Speaker 2: Welcome to the Growing a Successful Orthopedic Practice Podcast. Join us every episode to hear from fellow medical practice administrators, staff, and physicians, as we break down current issues affecting the industry, and share real stories from guests on their way to growing a successful orthopedic practice. Let’s get started.
Keith Landry: Hello everyone, I’m Keith Landry with Insight Marketing Group. And we’re talking about the future of telemedicine. Today, we’re joined by Dr. Michael Greiwe an orthopedic surgeon in the Cincinnati area and, more relevantly, the founder of two telemedicine platforms, OrthoLive and SpringHealthLive. Thanks for joining us today.
Dr. Michael Gre…: Thank you so much, Keith, glad to be here.
Keith Landry: Should be a fascinating discussion. And the telemedicine sector’s been in a whirlwind since January, and you’ve been riding it the whole way. Have you had a chance to catch your breath yet?
Dr. Michael Gre…: Oh, it has been insane. It has absolutely been a whirlwind rollercoaster. It’s been a lot of fun. But we have sort of gotten to a point now where we’re still continuing to grow, but it’s not as crazy now as it was in March or April. That was when things really were at their peak.
Keith Landry: Yeah. So, I want people who are watching this interview to understand the difference between the OrthoLive platform and the SpringHealthLive platform just so they have a little perspective.
Dr. Michael Gre…: Absolutely. So, OrthoLive is specific to kind of orthopedics and musculoskeletal health. So, we really focus on things like physical therapy, athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons, bracing, things like that. That’s how the OrthoLive platform functions and it’s kind of what we did first. We wanted to sort of perfect it in an area that I knew best. And that’s really where OrthoLive came in. I’m an orthopedic surgeon by trade, and so that’s kind of how we got started. And then, we realized that that platform was really well-suited for other specialties too. And so, that’s where SpringHealthLive came in. And now SpringHealthLive serves pretty much every other sector of medicine. We’re focusing in on different areas that kind of need telemedicine the most, at this point in time, but it can really be used by almost anyone. So, it’s great. Those two platforms have been fun and we’re doing great with both of-
Keith Landry: Fantastic. And I want people to understand because it would be easy to underestimate, or just not see the genuine explosion in adoption of telemedicine by both medical practices and patients, who found it pretty easy to use after they did it once just since January.
Dr. Michael Gre…: No question. And I think what has been most amazing to see is that there was a little bit of pushback pre-January. And we were still growing as a company and seeing a lot of adoption. But to the extent that COVID has been really rough on society, it has helped telemedicine adoption tremendously. And so, you’ve seen this gigantic rise in telemedicine visits, and I think we’re going to top over 100 million visits this year, where I think we were at 20 million last year, and maybe even higher than that. So, there has been an absolute explosion and most people reporting a 10 fold increase in the number of telemedicine visits that are being performed. So, it is really, really incredible.
Keith Landry: Absolutely amazing. And there’s no doubt that telemedicine is here to stay in the future. Why do you believe that doctors’ practices must offer it as part of their offerings to remain competitive in the future?
Dr. Michael Gre…: Yeah, I think that is literally it. I mean, to stay relevant, you have to offer telemedicine to patients. Patients, right now, are expecting telemedicine and so they want to be able to be offered that. It’s a lot more convenient for them. They know it’s feasible. They know it’s possible. In order to stay relevant in today’s healthcare landscape, you have to be able to offer something from a telemedicine perspective. You have to be able to offer online visits. It’s very critical for patients and for making sure that you stay at the cutting edge for patients and what they expect out of their physicians.
Keith Landry: So, let’s look at a couple of issues, sort of bureaucratic industry government issues about the future of telemedicine going forward. One of the big questions is to what extent are insurance companies going to reimburse doctors, who do telemedicine visits? And some of that seems to be up in the air still.
Dr. Michael Gre…: Yeah, I think it is. But, I mean, Keith if you look at the way and the trend that was happening pre-COVID, there were about 30 plus states that had, what we call, parody laws. That means that patients were getting in to see their doctor and whether they’re doing it in the office, or they were doing it via telemedicine they were getting reimbursed the exact same amount. So, even pre-COVID we had the vast majority of states, commercial insurance wise being reimbursed. Those physicians were getting reimbursed in a equal way. And now, I don’t think it’s going to happen, I don’t think we’re going to go back. I think we continue to grow, I think we’re going to see that growth continue to happen. And I don’t anticipate going in a different direction, I think it’s just going to continue and we’ll see that reimbursement happen.
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Keith Landry: It’ll be interesting because of the users, if the patients say, “Hey, we really want this. It’s affordable, it’s accessible and it’s safe. I don’t have to go out during the pandemic and be exposed.” Do you feel like patients need to do advocacy to make sure that gets pushed through?
Dr. Michael Gre…: Yeah, without a doubt. And I especially think Medicare is the one area, because Medicare typically dictates sort of what happens across the insurance landscape. And one of the sad things was pre-COVID patients who were on Medicare could not be seen in sort of an urban environment via telemedicine. If they were in a rural environment, they could be. But now everything’s changed, so that Medicare recipients can be seen no matter where they are. And I hope, for the sake of our Medicare population, that that does not get reversed. And I think it’s important and it’s incumbent on the patients everywhere to send letters to their lawmakers, the legislatures to make sure that that does occur. I agree with you 100% percent, Keith.
Keith Landry: And that’s a great point. Seema Verma is the Trump administration’s point person on Medicare. And she recently made public statements saying that, in her opinion, it has to go forward. The added access to Medicare during the pandemic must remain in place in the future because she believes it’s not in the best interest for all Medicare patients or some of them, at least, to have to go to in office visits. She sees the benefit of having some of them get the telemedicine visits. So, that’s the point person at the Trump administration speaking out on that.
Dr. Michael Gre…: Yeah, I think that really says all I needed to hear is when I heard that come out, I think it was last week sometime, I really felt like we were on the right track here. We have our leadership understanding how important it is, not only for the convenience of the patient, but now for the safety of the patient as well. And so, I really feel like it’s a smart move by the leadership to make sure that that continues to be pushed forward. And I don’t really see things going back the way that they were. I think we’re going to continue to see this telehealth pendulum continue to swing in the right direction.
Keith Landry: Interesting. Let me give just a little more context. The government administrators of Medicare, which we refer to as CMS, during the pandemic have made the standards easier for Medicare to reimburse the doctors that do these telehealth visits for Medicare patients. So, that’s sort of the over lying issue here is where does that go in the future? And this is a big deal for the future of telemedicine.
Dr. Michael Gre…: No question. I mean, the fact that physicians can get reimbursed from Medicare for telemedicine visits anywhere in the United States is a really critical thing to help push telemedicine forward, because physicians are not going to do something that they don’t get reimbursed for, in most cases. I mean, there’s extenuating circumstances where we do the best that we can when we need to. But, in general, if you want something to continue to be successful, you need to make sure that it gets reimbursed. And that’s exactly what’s happened here.
Keith Landry: Dr. Greiwe, one last question for you on the future of telemedicine. And it’s the issue of doctors practicing telemedicine across state lines, which I believe they can now during the pandemic. And it’ll be interesting to see if you can put that genie back in the bottle or not.
Dr. Michael Gre…: Well, that’s a good question. That is the one where I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I am not sure whether or not we’re going to be allowed to practice across state lines. But I still think, I think that potentially there’s been such a great ability for us to reach portions of the population that may be in a poor service area, they don’t have physicians close by, it’s important for us to be able to reach them. And if someone’s not in their state offering telemedicine, it could be happening from another state. So, I think it’s a reasonable thing to continue to allow. And so, we’ll see what happens with that.
Keith Landry: Dr. Greiwe, can you just give us the two web addresses for OrthoLive and SpringHealthLive in case somebody who saw this wants to go get some more information?
Dr. Michael Gre…: Yeah, absolutely. If anyone wants more information, they can reach out on our websites it’s www.ortholive.com and www.springhealthlive.com.
Keith Landry: All right, Dr. Michael Greiwe, we sure appreciate your insights today on the future of telemedicine. And we’ll do this again soon, so folks can stay updated through you.
Dr. Michael Gre…: All right. Thanks so much, Keith. I appreciate it. It’s great to be here.
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