To Effectively Utilize AFOs, Define and Assign Roles and Responsibilities
Many of the conditions seen in podiatry practices have a biomechanical basis in their etiology and can be effectively treated with prefabricated and custom ankle foot orthoses. Essential to providing good, consistent, profitable care is determining protocols, assigning responsibility, to the people in the practice who will ensure that the desired treatment is provided.
Commonly seen conditions that can be treated using AFOs include:
· Plantar fasciitis
· Posterior tibial tendonitis
· Achilles tendonitis
· Ankle sprains
· Charcot deformity
· Gait instability
The practice roles required to ensure patients are consistently and efficiently treated include:
· The physician who:
o Formalizes the condition specific, treatment protocols
o Evaluates the patient, diagnoses the condition and prescribes treatment
o Determines the desired products.
o Understands compliance documentation requirements
· The back office assistant / orthotic technician who:
o Ensures that desired products are maintained in stock in appropriate quantity
o Is trained in casting for custom AFOs and skilled in fitting prefabricated devices.
· The administrative person who:
o Understands and processes billing authorization requirements.
· The ordering person who:
o Considers the storage space available, rate of usage and price to keep desired products on hand.
· The billing person who:
o Understands the codes and modifiers needed to process claims.
Successful implementation of an AFO program necessitates that the people in each of these roles understand the requirements and expectations. There should be an objective way of determining that the role is performed well and the way to do the job should be documented in a generalized way and followed consistently. Each job should be performed the same regardless of who is performing it. In some practices, more than one role will assumed by the same person; that’s OK. Sometimes multiple people perform the same role. That’s also OK though one person should assume overall responsibility and oversight of the role. A simple way of ensuring that the right person is in each role is to follow an approach called “GWC”.
G: “Gets It”, understands the responsibilities of the role.
W: “Wants It”, welcomes the job and feels that it is consistent with what they like to do.
C: “Capacity”, they have the time to get the job done. If capacity is not there, the person needs to let go of some other responsibilities.
All three requirements must be met by each of the people involved in the treatment process for effectively providing AFOs.
Below is a link to a good video about it:
Josh White, DPM CPed
My real-world insight can help your practice implement healthy growth. Watch a two-minute video.