How an Orthopedic Treatment Center Operates

How an Orthopedic Treatment Center Operates

Have you ever wondered about the inner workings of a specialized medical clinic? Have you found yourself ruminating about how an oncology center operates? Pondered the intricate logistical details involved with the daily operations of an orthopedic treatment center? These kinds of things are pretty interesting, so it only makes sense. 

A day in the life of an orthopedic doctor that runs an orthopedic practice. Or would they be an orthopedic director at that point? See, there are a lot of unanswered questions here, and today we’re going to try to get to the bottom of it.

We’ve done our research, we’ve checked our notes twice, made the revisions that we needed to, and we stand before you ready to help you satisfy any curiosity that you might have about how these treatment centers operate, specifically treatment centers that mainly focus on orthopedic issues. 

In fact, that’s the purpose of today’s article. By sharing this information with you, we hope to illuminate any dark spots on this subject so you can know exactly what these facilities help with and how they operate in general. This way, you can have a better idea of what this subset of specialized medicine does. 

What an Orthopedic Doctor Does

The first thing we should look at is what exactly an orthopedic doctor does. If we don’t even know what this field of specialized medicine is it’s gonna be really hard to move forward through the rest of this article with any semblance of confidence.

An orthopedic doctor is a doctor that studies and treats things that are in the musculoskeletal system in your body. That means a lot of things that you might not expect, there are a lot of parts of the body that they can help with. For example:

  • Bones
  • Muscles
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Joints
  • Cartilage

Really, any part of your body that is there to support the body and hold your organs in place can be considered to be part of the musculoskeletal system, and there are even more parts of your body that fall into your system than you might realize.

Typically, an orthopedic doctor or surgeon specializes in certain areas. There are, however, general orthopedic practitioners, but the specialists among the specialists are who you would be the most likely to see if you’re having any real major issues. The most common areas where orthopedic doctors and surgeons work are:

  • Feet
  • Hands
  • Spine
  • Knees
  • Elbows
  • Pelvic area
  • Shoulders
  • Wrists
  • Ankles
  • Hips

It’s also not uncommon for orthopedic medical practitioners to also practice sports medicine because it’s common for athletes to get injuries in their musculoskeletal system, which makes things a lot easier for the athletes when they do get injured because they can see one doctor instead of several. 

A Day in The Life of a Front Desk Worker at an Orthopedic Practice

The best way to get an idea of how an orthopedic treatment facility operates is to take a trip and try to see it through the eyes of the receptionists. Of course, they don’t deal with much of the medical aspects unless the practice actively hires nurses for this position, but they do see the bulk of the operations firsthand. 

First, if the facility has business hours, they’ll have to open the practice in the morning. There are plenty of emergency facilities and this step doesn’t exist for those facilities because they never close, they just remain open in case someone has an emergency they need help with.


After the facility is open, or after the receptionist has clocked in, they start checking people in for their appointments. If you’ve ever been to a doctor’s office, you’re probably well aware of what this process looks like. They’ll ask you for any information that they need and tell you to take a seat. 

At that point, they communicate with the nurses and doctors in the building to make them aware of your presence, then someone will come and get you to take you into one of the rooms in the back so you can be prepped for your visit with the doctor. 

During that time, the receptionist is most than likely doing one of a few things:

  • Checking other patients in for their appointments.
  • Taking payments either over the phone or in person.
  • Making appointments for patients that call in. 
  • Looking for infromation that the doctor requested them to look for.
  • Dealing with insurance agencies.
  • Answering basic questions either in person or over the phone.
    • If the receptionist is a nurse they might even be able to answer some basic medical questions.
  • Processing referrals both to their office and from their office.
  • Tidying up their space.
  • Talking to pharmacies and getting a doctor to talk to the pharmacy if the pharmacist requests it.

Once their day is over, they shut down their computer, lock the office up (in this example we’re assuming that the receptionist is working the same hours that the office is open, this isn’t always how this works), and then go home to relax for the evening and prepare for their next day of work.

A lot of the front end of operations is dealing with patients and making sure that they’re going to be able to see the doctor when it works for them as well as taking payments. Really, a lot of receptionists are doing a lot of coordination work. 

Some offices have a coordinator that specifically takes care of some of this stuff, it really depends on the office. Regardless of that, this is what the front end looks like. If you walked into one of these offices, this is the kind of stuff you’d be able to observe even if you didn’t have an appointment.

All of these functions are important because they ensure that patients are being connected with doctors, getting the medication they need, and making the payments that the practice needs to make sure that all of the staff are getting paid and that the lights are kept on.

Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of an Orthopedic Practioner.

Since we’ve looked at what the most public-facing part of this kind of practice looks like, let’s lift up the curtain and take a look at what it looks like behind the scenes. To save both you and ourselves a lot of graphic details, we will not be looking at what orthopedic surgeons do. 

So, when an orthopedic doctor first shows up they start preparing the things that they need for the day. They’ll usually have a nurse make sure that all of their rooms are ready for patients, i.e. fully stocked and clean.

Once their daily preparations are done, they’ll start seeing patients. When an orthopedic doctor sees a patient, there’s a good chance that there are already some ideas as to what’s wrong. This is because the doctor is a specialist which usually requires a referral. 

Assuming the doctor doesn’t know what’s wrong, this is about what a visit would look like:

  • The doctor will walk in and introduce themself.
  • Questions about where the patient hurts will be asked,
  • The doctor will like want to run some tests or have x-rays done.
    • Depending on the practice, this is either going to be done in-house or result in a referral.
  • If they’re able to determine what the issue is without tests, the doctor will plan out their course of treatment and potentially write out a prescription for the patient.

Once the doctor is done speaking with the patient, they still have work to do. They might have to give orders to a nurse so they can make things happen, they might have to make a few calls themself, it really depends on what the issue the patient has is. 

If you’re reading this and thinking “wait a second, this sounds just like what a normal doctor’s office visit looks like! You can’t fool me, I’ve been to the doctor before and this is exactly what it always looks like when I see a doctor for the first time.” you’d be correct.

The way that these offices operate isn’t much different than your standard practice. The difference is in the kind of medicine that is being practiced rather than the procedures that are followed for visits. Which some people do find pretty comforting because they know what to expect when they go to any doctor’s office. 

Going to the Orthopedic Doctor’s Office

We all have to go to the doctor’s office sometimes. Whether it’s because you’re sick or injured will depend on the circumstances that lead up to your visit, but regardless of the reason, there’s a doctor that can help you out with this. 

Going to the doctor is an experience that most people really don’t enjoy, but knowing what the visit might look like brings a lot of people some comfort. It’s good to know what to expect before you show up to the office for your appointment so you’re not blind-sighted by the events that follow.