Rick Hammesfahr, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon in Marietta, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta). He has a sub-specialty in lower extremity injuries, mostly knees and ankles. He operates a two-man practice with a staff of close to 20. His practices see between 50 and 60 patients per week. Dr. Hammesfahr uses medical animations in his practice. Learn why and how he uses this product, and the impact it has had on him, his patients and his staff.
Q: What made you decide to use medical animations in your practice?
Dr. Hammesfahr: We used animations in the practice and explored that possibility because we found that we’re telling these patients the same thing all the time, the same repetition with respect to meniscal injuries, ACL injuries, torn Achilles. And not only was it time-consuming, we discovered those patients weren’t remembering anything we told them, and they were always calling back to get more information. Which was not a particularly big deal, we don’t mind giving it to them, it just takes time.
Q: How do you and your staff incorporate the use of these animations within your practice?
Dr. Hammesfahr: We do it in several different ways. On some patients, we’ll show the animation to them while they’re in the exam room. In other patients, we’ll give them the information that we want verbally, and then also give them the website. So typically, patients that are going to surgery, we’ll talk to them about the surgical procedure and then have them watch the video at home or watch the animation at home. And that’s worked out really well for us.
Q: When you’re watching the animations in the office, what type of device are they watching them on?
Dr. Hammesfahr: We have monitors in the rooms. We also have them look on iPads.
Q: What percentage of your patients do you direct to watch these animations?
Dr. Hammesfahr: 100% of the surgical patients. They get directed to the website or watch the animations in the office. For non-surgical patients, we direct probably half of them to the various websites, either for gout, ankle sprains, Achilles sprains, hamstring injuries, things like that.
Q: Have you noticed any improvement in regard to your personal productivity since you’ve been able to show the patients these animations?
Dr. Hammesfahr: From the point of view of educating patients and from the point of view of productivity, the animations have been a tremendous asset. What it allows us to do is to give the information to the patients, but then they can go home and watch it themselves, or they can sit in the exam room and watch it several times. But while they’re doing that, I can go on and see somebody else. So not only does it allow me to be more productive, it cuts back on the number of callbacks that our staff is getting from patients that have questions, because the questions are being answered in the comfort of their own home when they’re watching the videos.
Q: Has there been any positive financial impact, if you will, to your practice due to the savings of time and increased productivity?
Dr. Hammesfahr: The positive aspects to the practice, the positive benefits of this whole program, in some ways, have been immeasurable because we don’t have good metrics. It’s a small practice. But on the other hand, we can tell that we’re increasing the number of patients that we’re seeing on a daily basis, and we’re getting fewer callbacks. So the nursing staff is being much more helpful with seeing patients that are in the office, rather than spending time on the phone.
Contact Nucleus Medical Media to learn how medical animations and illustrations could positively impact your practice or healthcare organization. We are happy to help medical professionals like Dr. Hammesfahr serve patients more efficiently and effectively.