South Bend Orthopedics

Scaled surgical coordination to meet growing volumes goals

Select Results:


Increase in Surgical Volume


Surgeons using The Surgimate App


Surgeries Scheduled Per Coordinator Per Month

The Challenge

  • Inadequate patient follow-up resulted in missed surgical opportunities and revenue loss.
  • Surgeries booked using multiple systems, creating process inefficiencies and staff frustration.
  • Surgical coordinators needed to keep multiple calendars in sync which was error prone and led to unnecessary cancellations.

The Outcome

  • Increase surgical volume by 4.8% through a more reliable and trackable surgical coordination process.
  • Freed significant staff time, reducing manual steps by 25%.
  • Sped up post-surgery reimbursements by getting all surgeons to input CPT codes in the Surgimate App.
  • Accelerated the number of surgeries scheduled per coordinator per month.

Meet the heroes of our story

Juli Donohue

Clinical Manager

"I'm a big fan of Surgimate. It was a good implementation."

April Hersick

Clinical Director

"I don’t know how you could choose not to use Surgimate. We don’t plan to stop growing."

The Challenge

As South Bend Orthopedics (SBO) grew in number of surgeons and patients, Juli Donohue, then leader of SBO’s surgical coordination team, realized the challenge ahead. Scheduling one surgery required a coordinator to use multiple systems, keep multiple calendars in sync, and track critical surgical information on printed forms. The thought of scaling that process was daunting.

SBO’s EHR (athenahealth) did not offer a surgical workflow. According to Juli, the doctors could create the orders for surgery in athena, but that was it. The rest of the process happened manually – including the creation of forms and letters that were slightly different for each doctor. If a coordinator was gone for the day, paper folders needed to be organized and handed over to whoever would manage their workload. One team member noted that their preventable cancellation rate was probably high, but they didn’t realize it because they were so busy. 

Juli brought Surgimate to the board to get their support to evaluate the solution. She was surprised to discover they didn’t want her to evaluate it but rather to implement it right away. When they learned that Surgimate could help prevent surgical revenue leakage and that the product included an app for surgeons to submit CPT codes, they said, “Do it! Don’t just pursue it – do it!” 

Ready to get these results with Surgimate?


Juli noted that the Surgimate implementation exceeded her expectations. She was initially concerned that the system couldn’t handle the degree of customization required from each doctor but was pleasantly surprised.  “Now that we have been using it for so long, I don’t even remember which parts they customized for us and what was out-of-the-box functionality”. 

One anecdote she did recall was how particular one surgeon was about the way the schedule printed. He was insistent about what needed to be bold, what line things needed to be on. “He was difficult about it, but you guys really worked with me on it.  I think we ended up getting it to 98% of his requirements,” said Juli.

While the transition from working with Surgimate’s implementation team to the customer success team was “rocky at first,” April described how much such enjoys working with her current customer success manager. “We love it when members of team Surgimate can come on-site. We always learn more about what we can do to improve the way we work.”  Juli also noted that the implementation “wasn’t perfect, but the Surgimate customer success & implementation teams were always there to back us up.”

Did you know?

South Bend Orthopedics generates an average of 6153 forms each month! 

Surgimate’s Form Generator creates surgical paperwork automatically and enables you to print, email or fax your forms in seconds with 100% accuracy. 

Greater Efficiency + Increased Patient Focus = Higher Surgical Volume

What SBO Has Achieved with Surgimate

Increased Patient Focus

“Over the last two years, we’ve really changed our mindset,” says April Hersick. Prior to Surgimate, each surgical coordinator only had the capacity to manage the minimum requirements to get the most critical surgeries scheduled.  Now, with Surgimate, the time it takes to schedule a surgery is significantly reduced, so each coordinator can spend more time working with patients on education prior to surgery, and following up with candidates who need more information. “We know what that patient experience is like.  They have a quick office visit, but after they go home, they come up with a lot more questions.  It is our goal to provide the right amount of information to our patients at the right time.”  Now that SBO can leverage Surgimate for e-sign capabilities, they look forward to continuing to improve the patient experience.

Improved Employee Onboarding

April said Surgimate has also been ideal for helping SBO add and onboard new surgical coordinators.  Not only can she provide new team members with a simple workflow, but she can see the status of surgeries that have been recommended and planned, and more easily keep an eye on the total workload of her team.  She was recently able to recognize the need to support one of the most efficient coordinators.  “She is working for our busiest surgeon, and while she is really productive, I can already see that I may need to bring in additional support based on the number of surgeries recommended by this doctor. The volume is too much for one person to manage.”

Continued process improvement

Due to the increase in surgical volume, SBO has been able to implement more efficient staffing models that focus on the centralization of staff functions. For example, SBO recently hired a dedicated employee to call and follow up on clearances rather than distributing that out to a dozen different individuals.  This will help unlock efficiencies and results for the whole organization. They also plan to expand the use of Surgimate to include injection and MRI scheduling. With continued support from Surgimate’s customer experience team, SBO continues to discover new ways to streamline their surgical coordination process.

Features that made the difference

Surgical Calendar

SBO’s team enjoys more time with customers and easier rescheduling thanks to the Surgimate Calendar.
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Form Generator

SBO uses Surgimate to generate an average of 6153 forms per month!
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Surgimate App

SBO gets paid faster by sending CPT codes right after surgery with the Surgimate App.
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Equipment Rep Communication

SBO talks to patients more and reps less with Surgimate’s equipment rep communications.
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Status Tracker

SBO’s staff spends less time looking through paperwork and more time booking surgeries with Draft Status report.
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E-Sign Capabilities

SBO stays secure with e-signing and ensures no paperwork falls through the cracks.
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About South Bend Orthopedics

SBO provides premier orthopedic care with a tradition of excellence, serving the prestigious University of Notre Dame's athletes since 1949. Their expertise covers orthopedic care and optimal recovery for athletes and non-athletes alike.