Guest: Dr. Alejandro Badia
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Alejandro Badia, MD, FACS is a hand and upper extremity surgeon at Badia Hand to Shoulder Center in Doral, Florida. Dr. Badia graduated from Cornell University and completed his medical degree at NYU. He founded OrthoNOW®, the only network of orthopedic urgent care centers in the country.
Segment overview: Dr. Alejandro Badia talks about OrthoNOW®, which began franchising in 2014, as a network of specialized urgent care centers focused on sports medicine and the treatment and prevention of the full range of orthopedic injuries. For more information visit: www.OrthoNOWcare.com
Franchise Opportunities Available: info@OrthoNOWfranchise.com
Health Professional Radio – Treating Orthopedic, Sports Medicine Injuries
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard on this Health Supplier Segment. Thank you so much for joining us today. Our guest in studio is Dr. Alejandro Badia, an Orthopedic Surgeon in South Florida. His patients range from athletes to personalities and just a couple of years ago he decided to start the first and only orthopedic urgent care center franchise in the nation. He’s here today to talk with us about OrthoNow which began franchising in 2014. Good afternoon Alejandro, how are you?
Dr. Alejandro Badia: I’m great Neal. How are you?
N: I’m doing well and welcome to Health Professional Radio today. I’m glad that you could join us.
B: Thank you.
N: OrthoNow, it’s actually making history as the first and only orthopedic urgent care center franchise. You’re in this by yourself or just you and a team of orthopedic surgeons? How did it come about?
B: Well like many good ideas it came out of frustration. As a clinician I’m an upper limb surgeon so I know it is that every patient that came to see me had already been somewhere. I soon realized especially with all the health care cost challenges in this country that that was an incredible waste of money and sadly it was often detrimental to the patient outcome because you know there was a delayed or frequently a misdiagnosis. So it occurred to me that patients should be able to access orthopedic injury and sports medicine care directly, not spend hours in emergency room to be told “You need some Advil, a splint and you need to see an orthopedist.” And that’s how it came about and I teamed up with someone in the business world who knew nothing about health care and learned it very quickly and that’s been an incredible collaboration. He’s a Wharton school MBA guy from Cornell Club hat I met in Cornell Club Here and he was on Wall Street for many years and we’ve grown our corporate team.
N: Great. You specialize in urgent disruptive orthopedic care, did you see any need for just coming in for general orthopedic stuff as an added service or is it strictly ER, emergency right now care?
B: That’s a great question. The uniqueness of it of course is when you really needed at that moment, say a severely sprained ankle or you throw out your back and have trouble getting out of bed or you have a fracture or even a laceration that you need but people are using it also coming in and saying “Hey, my shoulder or my back’s been hurting me over the past 3 years.” But the problem is they have trouble accessing care so they call the orthopedist and it’s 2 weeks to get an appointment and we’ve become very much a ‘now’ society. And that’s why people love our app they can go to the OrthoNow app find the newest location and the new version will lead them, have an Uber pick them up if your back is that severe so it really is disruptive.
N: Are there separate I guess entities of the business that deal with sports medicine and then a separate entity that deals with other disruptive types of emergency care? Or is it all inclusive at the same facility?
B: No, no it’s one facility but the key with OrthoNow is the collaboration with other health care delivery entities that you need. For example, some of our OrthoNow in Miami have an MRI within it. Some don’t because that’s a big expenditure, so the MRI can also be done the same visit as long as the insurance company cooperates which actually have been our biggest challenge. We also, the flagship is also upstairs from a surgery center so just yesterday I can tell you a fast food, a very famous fast food restaurant, a manager caught her fingers in the sink. She was seen at an occupational health center, they do their best but they don’t have that expertise and she spent quite a few hours there. By the time I saw her, fortunately our operating room personnel was still present and we simply brought her down stairs and took her to the OR and fixed her fingers. That is very disruptive.
N: Now let’s talk for a moment about Doral, Florida. Now you’re a hand specialist, are your centers, do some of them specialize in the hand to shoulder and other specialize in leg injuries and things of that nature? Because some of them have as you say MRI, some don’t.
B: No. We treat all musculoskeletal condition whether it be chronic or acute. The difference with the Doral Center which is a flagship and since I was the co-founder of the franchise, it happened that we put it in the same building where my upper limb practice is. So that’s my elective hand surgery practice, that is a very separate entity from OrthoNow. The Doral location is currently somewhat unique amongst the other OrthoNow centers because it’s located in the same building as the surgery center, a full service therapy center and all of the imaging modalities. Well other OrthoNows do have certain components for example the MRI imaging, ultrasound evaluation, etc. but what’s unique about OrthoNow, any OrthoNow is that you can walk in with virtually any musculoskeletal problem whether acute or chronic and get an initial assessment by somebody who understands this type of problem.
N: Let’s talk about franchising opportunities. Where can our listeners go and get more information about OrthoNow franchising?
B: Sure. Both potential franchisees and consumers of health care which is really everybody can potentially have an orthopedic problem, right? Anybody can find information in our website which is orthonowcare.com. Now at OrthoNow Care there’s a tab right on the homepage for franchise opportunities and that goes into fair amount of detail about what that consist of including about a 3 minute video which is an overview of the OrthoNow concept but also it talks specifically about franchising.
N: Discuss briefly the reception from other health care professionals when they learn of this brand new groundbreaking franchising opportunity. Not only the franchising but the company itself that offers this urgent care specifically orthopedic urgent care.
B: Sure. I think everybody, virtually everybody recognizes that is a good idea but I will tell you the engagement has been challenging particularly from colleagues. I believe that other orthopedic surgeons often say “Well I can do it on my own” which is very true but I can tell you personally how draining and what an effort in resources, in time it is. And the reason we made it a franchise is we know that physicians were often very independent-minded and this is a turnkey way to have your own OrthoNow without putting in necessarily the time. Other health care professionals obviously see it as terrific because we all understand that when you go to a general urgent care or in emergency room you pretty much will be making a second visit to see the right type of specialist. So we have not had a lot of feedback from the hospitals, I’m not sure if they feel threatened by this or not but I would think most hospital administrators would realize that their ER shouldn’t be clogged up with people with ankle sprains or rather when someone come in with chest pain or possibly a stroke or with an orthopedic problem like a hip fracture, femur fracture that they’re not being encumbered by these minor injuries. That’s not what the emergency room is really is designed.
N: You mentioned the OrthoNow app, is it called the OrthoNow app or is there some other name for the app? And is it available for iPhone and Android users as well?
B: Yes, we’re both and the name is simply OrthoNow and what’s interesting is when you start typing it in you realize that there’s not a lot of other orthopedic, not have actually have a similar name. Interestingly when we first, our first version we’re now on our second version and we will be doing the third one next month I believe it rolls out and there was literally apps about orthodox religion. So ‘ortho’ brings up various things but the OrthoNow it’s very easy to download obviously it’s free and you can even notify a center when you’re on your way, so you walk in or limping the staff will be greeting you by name. That’s pretty unique in today’s health care services.
N: It’s been a pleasure talking with you this afternoon.
B: Thank you Neal. It’s really a great pleasure to be able to educate people about a true innovation in health care. Not what we’ve been brought in this country just increasing bureaucracy and we can save on health care by simply changing how it’s delivered.
N: Absolutely. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio in this Health Supplier Segment, I’m your host Neal Howard and we’ve been in studio talking with Dr. Alejandro Badia. Franchising opportunities are available if you like some more information simply visit www.orthonowcare.com. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.