Mpls. Orthopedics Clinics Battle It Out; Consumer-Driven Health Care That's "Better, Faster, Cheaper"
From the Mpls.-St. Paul StarTribune:
"For years, anybody who pulled, twisted, sprained or broke some part of their body would show up at the emergency room. There, they'd often wait hours as more critical cases -- heart attacks or strokes -- leapfrogged ahead in line.
Then they'd go home with an appointment to come back and see an orthopedic surgeon anytime from three days to three weeks out.
In 2005, TRIA Orthopaedic Center in Bloomington, MN pioneered the idea of a free-standing orthopedic facility, with day surgery, clinic and physical therapy space, as well as the ability to do medical research. The goal was "better, faster, cheaper," said Dr. Marc Swiontkowski, one of the physician founders.
TRIA, which lost money in its early years but is now profitable, also introduced early on the idea of a walk-in acute injury clinic. It recently expanded its evening and weekend hours for the clinic to cater to injured high-school athletes and weekend warriors. The acute injury clinic has seen more than 12,000 patients so far this year -- 2,100 of them in June alone. Knee pain is the most common complaint, followed by foot and ankle pain."
MP: In addition to seeing thousands of patients each month, TRIA is also now seeing something else - some new competition from Twin Cities Orthopedics, just opened a new facility in Edina, MN that offers same-day appointments and urgent care in the evenings and weekends. Read more here about how market competition and consumer-driven health care can bring down costs, improve the quality of care, and dramatically increase convenience with evening and weekend hours.