AI-powered patient communication tools help one orthopedic practice save $405,000

Direct Orthopedic Care, based in Addison, Texas, was experiencing high no-show rates and very busy phone lines.


The practice only had a very basic, one-way patient reminder system, which was not having a substantial impact.

“We were missing opportunities for recovering lost patients by trying to get it all done manually and by phone call,” said Dr. Jim Griffin, president and COO of Direct Orthopedic Care. “We were in need of a more efficient way to communicate with patients digitally and/or automatically. Otherwise, we would have had to hire more receptionists or a call center.”


This was when Direct Orthopedic Care turned to patient communication IT vendor Nimblr, and its artificial intelligence virtual assistant named Holly.

“Nimblr’s technology claimed to sync seamlessly into our DrChrono EHR, automating patient communication via text and phone calls 24/7,” Griffin explained.

“Nimblr’s value proposition is focused on increasing revenue by reducing no-shows and maximizing schedule capacity, improving patient acquisition through conversational self-scheduling channels linked to Google and social accounts online, and scaling operations and efficiency by improving patient access and engagement and reducing FTEs.”

“The patient is king; be sure that your patients are engaged with your technology and find the service valuable.”

Dr. Jim Griffin, Direct Orthopedic Care

Patients prefer to text; and giving them an easy way to manage their schedules made a lot of sense, he added. Direct Orthopedic Care was able to do a one-month free pilot to measure return on investment and then make a business decision to roll out the AI technology after seeing the pilot’s results.


There are a variety of patient relationship management tools on the health IT market today. Some of the vendors of these tools include Luma Health, Nimblr, RevenueWell, Salesforce, Solutionreach, Weave, WebPT and WELL.


Implementing the AI technology involved a 30-minute set-up meeting per location.

“From there, there’s minimal to no staff interaction or training required,” Griffin noted. “It is a self-starting technology that works in a cyclical and automated way. Currently, all of our locations and providers are using the technology. After our free one-month pilot, we decided to rollout across the company to standardize processes and ensure the same value was added to all Direct Orthopedic Care regions.”

Patients move through communication and follow-up more efficiently without the need for human intervention, he added. If issues arise, staff can easily check on appointments directly in the EHR thanks to a seamless integration, he said.


Direct Orthopedic Care has realized very clear results from using the AI-infused patient communication technology:


“Choose solutions that are certified or recommended by your EHR vendor, as we did with DrChrono,” Griffin advised. “Further, ease of implementation and use is key; you don’t want to add a complex technology to your operation. Also, the patient is king; be sure that your patients are engaged with your technology and find the service valuable.”

And opt for a system that can be tested first: Try it out, make a purchase decision, then roll it out, he concluded.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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