The sign on the outside of the building speaks volumes to the mission of this company and what is at the heart of the passionate individuals providing its services. A human figure substituting as the letter “i” strategically placed in front of the letters “mpact” is a statement, in and of itself. Throw in the word “Orthopedics”, overlaid on top of a transparent globe and the well thought out logo seems to take on a life of its own.
As I approached the door, my eyes panned from the logo to aid my hand as I grabbed the handle of the door. Upon entering the office and walking into the spaciously comfortable and nicely furnished waiting room complete with hard wood floors, I was greeted with a huge smile from Rondell Richardson, MBA, CO (Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist), BOCP, Co-Owner and Clinical Director at Impact Orthopedics. He was in the middle of a casual conversation with a patient with custom prosthesis sitting in a wheelchair. The patient’s wife, sitting in an adjacent seat in the waiting room also seemed to be deeply engaged in the conversation. They all smiled and waved as Rondell motioned me over for what I assumed would be an introduction. While walking over, I was able to fully appreciate how welcoming the environment made me feel. I was introduced by Rondell as Travis Holt - owner of the company who created their first website in 2007. To my surprise, the gentleman was introduced by Rondell as Impact Orthopedics very first patient. Imagine that. After 10 years in the Healthcare Services Industry and two moves, as a result of limited space due to the growth in the increasing number of patients being seen, Impact Orthopedics first patient is still with them. This was just a glimpse of what I would soon discover on why this company was different from all the rest.
Impact Orthopedics, Carolina's premier provider of custom Orthotic and Prosthetic devices is located downtown in the healthcare district of Charlotte, North Carolina. Orthotics and prosthetics are devices used to improve patient mobility and health outcomes. Amputees and individuals diagnosed with chronic illnesses can greatly benefit from the use of simple devices that improve their overall quality of life.
After a tour of the office, I was introduced to the staff including:
- Spencer Wolinsky, CPOA (Certified Prosthetic Orthotic Assistant)
- Justin Webb, CP (Certified Prosthetist/Resident Orthotist)
- Tabbie Vang, Office Manager
- Aracely Esquivel, Patient Coordinator
- Bakari Smith, UNC-Chapel Hill Intern
We were soon joined by Rico Phronebarger, Rondell’s business partner, Director of Technical Services/Co-Owner of Impact Orthopedics with over 25 years of prior industry experience. The professionally casual interaction between the two gave me insight into one key characteristic to having a successful partnership – a great chemistry.
From the onset of this interview it was obvious from their answers that this company was headed up by two individuals with a clear vision and compatible mindsets. They knew how to use their talents to achieve their common vision and ultimately, the best outcome for their patients, as well as, the business as a whole.
When asked, “Where did the idea of Impact Orthopedics come from?” Rico stated,
“I gotta give full credit to my business partner, Rondell for that. I was thinking about opening up a company doing central fabrication in this industry and he thought clinical could serve the community better…so after a few months of wrangling with him (he stated jokingly), he convinced me to do it. And it certainly was a labor of love, but you know - my heart was still there. I mean I’ve always been community oriented. So I’m glad he was able to convince me to do that.”
Rondell followed up by stating,
“I’m from the clinical side and Rico is from the technical side and I think we work really well together. We thought that we could truly impact the community by providing clinical and technical services that are efficient and effective.”
The Approach to Patient Care
Impact Orthopedics approach to patient care can best be described with “excellence” according to Rondell.
“We give our absolute best when working with patients. We treat them like family. We are in the community. So when we are in the community or see our patients talking about us in the community, we want it to be of Excellence.”
Impact Orthopedics consists of a wide array of talented individuals working towards the mission of delivering fully integrated healthcare to the patients they treat. This approach has allowed patients to receive the type of healthcare that is highly sought after based on their community centric or family focused solutions. According to Rico, this along with being able to relate to the patients based on their common ethnic background has set Impact Orthopedics apart from the rest.
The Result — Life Saving Services
Impact Orthopedics from its inception has provided life altering and even lifesaving services. The care they provide allows patients, many of whom are single or multiple amputees resulting from disease or accidents, to become active again and regain many of the freedoms that unfortunately may have been stripped away due to their conditions. It is true life serves up plenty of obstacles, but the great staff of Impact Orthopedics works tirelessly every day to help their patients overcome their obstacles to acquire a better quality of life.
When asked if they could describe some examples of what their services at Impact Orthopedics have allowed their patients to do, Rondell referred to patients that “may have fallen through the cracks”. He goes on to state,
“...we’ve encountered patients that haven’t had a leg for over two years after their amputation. We were able to make a device to allow them to stand up/walk. So imagine being in a wheel chair when you have the ability to walk again.”
Rico goes on to say,
“We’ve also been brought in as consultants when some patients were at deaths door step because of their conditions. Uh…people don’t think about bracing as a way to help patients overcome certain maladies to get a better way of life, better general health. But we’ve had certain situations where just providing certain bracing allowed the patient to be more mobile, increase their health, and subsequently walk away from serious vascular concerns that doctors had … we’re talking about staving off amputations in certain situations.”
What Really Matters
As the conversation progressed, we found our way into a section of questions that focused further on the rewarding experiences resulting from providing services for Impact's patients. While quantifying the the challenges of running Impact Orthopedics against the reward of serving the patients, both seemed to agree that the rewards greatly outway the challenges. While discussing rewarding experiences since starting Impact Orthopedics, Rico chimed in with,
"Living out our mission statement...Being able to have a positive effect on lives...Impacting lives...Being able to see a child stand up and walk for the first time in bracing, that otherwise wouldn't be able to walk...Watching an elderly lady who's in a wheelchair stand up for the first time in front of her kids and take a few more steps. It's so gratifying that it kind of mitigates all the other issues that you have to deal with wearing your business owner's hat."
"Seeing that smile on someone's face. You can be having a terrible day but when you have a patient come in and you're actually able to fit something that helps them and you see that smile on their face...you know...you're kinda changing their lives. The 'little stuff' you were dealing with earlier kinda goes out the window."
When asked if there is one thing that they feel is near perfect about Impact Orthopedics and they would not change for anything, Rondell and Rico had different answers but different because they both play complimentary roles in creating the level of success that they have experienced thus far. Rico stated out right the concern for the patients is the one thing that he feels he would not change. He went on to state everyone in the building understands that the focus is on “the care for the patients” and “that’s what it’s about”. Rondell responded with a different but equally important answer by saying that creating a healthy and happy work environment is something he would not change. He says that it allows the Employees to “enjoy the journey” and enables Impact the ability to “hire and retain talented employees” which ultimately provides their patients the best level of patient care.
As the interview came to a close, I felt privileged to have sat down with these two pioneers of this critically important industry - a service industry which we’ve now seen if delivered by the right individuals with the right approach, has the potential to reap a harvest of hope and revitalization for the patients being treated. The patients’ increased level of healthcare directly benefits their families, friends and caregivers reinforcing the patients support structure, and contributing to their overall quality of health. Companies like Impact Orthopedics are one in a kind due to their current emphasis on “Excellence” in patient care. This emphasis and approach to their patients' care has led to their current success with limitless future opportunities of impacting and changing the industry, one patient at a time.
Need to contact Impact Orthopedics?
For more info about Impact Orthopedics along with phone, website, street address and map, click here. Impact Orthopedics does not charge for initial evaluations. They do accept Medicare, Medicaid, most insurance providers, cash, checks, and credit.