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People, Service, Quality and Sustainability have been the key areas of focus for Kearney Regional Medical Center over the past year. Reflecting on the past 365 days, it’s safe to say all four have been embodied the relationship with OrthoDirectUSA®.

OrthoDirectUSA® is a cost-savings program that helps hospitals more efficiently procure necessary equipment and implants for patients by working directly with manufacturers of orthopedic products.

Doing so eliminates “middlemen” and disrupts the traditional orthopedics supply chain—helping save anywhere from 60-80% compared to the traditional methods. Eliminating sales representatives allows physicians to make value-based decisions for patients’ implants and equipment on behalf of the hospital.  The OrthoDirectUSA® initiative is Physician Centric and empowers physicians to take on more ownership of their entire service line through leadership and education.

Most notably, this model empowers hospital employees to better manage their own orthopedic services, specifically through the training and mentoring initiative, the “ORDT” (Operating Room Device Technician) Program that is available through OrthoDirectUSA®, and self-funded by the cost savings previously mentioned.

This program was brought to Kearney Regional Medical Center by native Jon Ruyle in 2018. Ruyle, who previously worked both as an OR service line coordinator and medical product sales representative himself, understands the unique needs of orthopedic surgeons and hospital staff and the inefficiencies that can occur within the operating room when relying heavily on multiple outside sales representatives.

Ruyle became a co-owner of the OrthoDirectUSA® franchise in 2018.  He and his business partner, Dr. James Mahalek, approached Kearney Regional Medical Center about working together.

“Members of the leadership team recognized the value of this program as an avenue for better functioning surgery teams, and overall better patient outcomes,” said Ruyle about why Kearney Regional Medical Center was on-board with being an early adopter of this type of program.

“OrthoDirectUSA® has provided an alignment mechanism that allows the physician and hospital to jointly pursue superior patient care in a cost-conscious manner while elevating employee education, responsibility, and efficiency,” says Dr. Mahalek.

Today, Ruyle serves as the on-site mentor at Kearney Regional Medical Center and works with physicians and hospital employees on training and mentoring. Together with the leadership team, he and Dr. Mahalek have identified existing employees that can cohesively lead their co-workers in taking extreme ownership of the operating room, sterile processing, materials management, and shipping/receiving.

This education leads to better teamwork and process changes in the OR, and ultimately, more predictable outcomes for patients.  As the partnership marks its one-year anniversary, utilization of the program has aligned the resources of “Products, Process, and People” to improve patient quality of care.

Ruyle and Dr. Mahalek provide staff training and educational experiences twice a week on topics such as leadership, industry patterns, case specifics, and orthopedic instrumentation. They also help tackle tougher issues such as: how to facilitate change, problem-solving, and how to diffuse issues before they happen. One unique way they have engaged the staff on these topics is through a weekly book club with the Implementation Team members.

Ruyle said he’s seen significant changes occur because of these efforts, including better-engaged and less-stressed staff. Surgeries are also taking less time for patients because of the increased efficiencies.

Says Ruyle: “You need the right atmosphere and leadership within the hospital to buy into this type of change, and Kearney Regional has that. We are proud to partner together to make Kearney Regional Medical Center the best place to work and receive care.”