Spotlighting Surgical Success
Whether anchored to a hospital, part of a chain or just a small, independent medical oasis in the middle of nowhere, outpatient surgery centers contribute a great deal to the healthcare industry collectively and to patients individually.
For this reason, Outpatient Care Technology embarked on recognizing forward-thinking facilities as examples of operations to emulate. While thousands certainly qualify, limited real estate constrains us to honor a few here. Because we proudly offer this as a new annual event, it’s our goal to recognize each and every one over time.
We asked readers to submit nominations of worthy facilities to recognize based on their achievements in innovation, operational efficiency, customer service and teamwork. From there, we chose several to recognize as facilities to watch. In alphabetical order, here they are.
Orthopaedic Surgery Center (Portland, ME)
Innovation: Orthopaedic Surgery Center (OSC) is one of the first outpatient surgery centers to perform an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL repair), developed leading postoperative pain management protocols and is poised to launch outpatient-safe total hip replacements as its next surgical venture. OSC also includes state-of-the-art computer and digital boom technology for electronic records and minimally invasive surgery.
Operational Efficiency: OSC’s layout is designed with workflow in mind so that incoming patients don’t meet post-op patients leaving the facility. Pass-through cabinets allow surgical supplies to be restocked in the hallway without having to enter the OR suites. OSC also has easy access to diagnostic imaging and physical therapy services.
Customer Service: Demonstrates how they value patients by personally walking them through the facility and through their entire surgical experience and post-operative procedures prior to surgery. Focuses on the “little things” that matter to patients – small gestures like placing a warm blanket around or beneath them – to foster optimal patient outcomes and positive patient experiences. Real-time patient progress reports are posted securely online for patients and their friends and family to check, as well as OSC staffers to monitor. The center’s director sums it up as “old-fashioned comfort in a high-tech environment.”
Teamwork: Everyone on staff stresses accountability, assuming personal responsibility for the quality of care and patient satisfaction. Communication between surgeons and staff remains fluid and open so that the OSC is prepared and ready when patients arrive.
Surgery Center at Mount Zion (Morrow, GA)
Innovation: The Surgery Center at Mount Zion uses SourceMedical’s AdvantX, SourcePlus EHR and Medibus, a business intelligence reporting system for a paperless communication and documentation environment that includes all CQI, Infection Control, Policies and Procedures and Peer Review. All care providers can track the course of a patient’s care in real-time, regardless of location. Their business intelligence system allows them to track direct clinical data, including clinical outcomes, and provides a national benchmark of clinical outcomes based on data only 30 days old.
Operational Efficiency: SourcePlus EHR eliminated all documentation redundancy. Information put into the system from the point of origin, is fed across the continuum to all fields in the documentation. When a patient is scheduled, surgical diagnosis, physician and surgical procedure are fed into all forms for the clinical staff to see and use as a verification tool. As a result, manual charting has been cut in half, operating expenses down 15 percent.
Customer Service: With AdvantX and SourcePlus EHR, Mount Zion has reduced registration time to six minutes from 20. The average patient wait time from registration to pre-op is only eight minutes, enabling the clinicians to focus more on the patient and not the process. Patients also are given detailed documentation of all medications.
Teamwork: The ability to run a fully paperless facility with real-time data and benchmarking reports has allowed their team to collaborate and focus on driving patient safety and to bring surgical care to new levels of quality. They no longer need to “pull charts” and spend countless days auditing for data. What used to take days compiling now is done in a matter of hours. With the time saved, they can shift their focus from compiling data to analyzing and acting. As a result they have been able to enhance healthcare and evaluate outcomes quickly.
The Surgery Center of Huntsville (Huntsville, AL)
Innovation: As a multi-specialty center The Surgery Center of Huntsville uses a variety of clinical technologies, including AMO Ophthalmology towers, Stryker Endoscopy towers, OEC C-arms, Fischer MammoTest system and GE Healthcare’s EnstaTrak image-guided surgery system. For scheduling, clinical documentation, accounts receivable, physician credentialing and reporting they use SourceMedical’s Vision software, and for dictation Vital Solutions and Medquist. Facilities are linked via wireless network that provides Wi-Fi locations for physicians and staff.
Operational Efficiency: Vision’s patient flow manager software has allowed Huntsville to streamline and coordinate physician block time, patient scheduling, OR utilization and billing. Reporting capabilities are robust and easy to manipulate, allowing any user with privileges to create user specific reports. Vital Solutions offers immediate turnover of charting by allowing physicians to quick-key patient charts, which are immediately wired to the referring physician’s office, surgical physician’s office and coding. SourcePlus EdgeSurvey powered by CTQ Solutions has allowed them to respond immediately to any adverse situation a patient or their family may have experienced.
Customer Service: Patients are offered free valet parking service and access to 12-inch flat-screen televisions in pre-op. Younger patients receive Beanie Babies as gifts and hand-held video games to play. Family members have access to 32-inch LCD TVs. Physicians can access the Internet in the physician lounge via laptop.
Teamwork: Clinicians improved internal communication via the VOCERA system allowing immediate access to all their staff. They also are working to improve their electronic patient tracking system that allows patients to register online and track their progress.
Wellmont Holston Valley Outpatient Center (Kingsport, TN)
Innovation: Holston Valley uses the latest technology available for laparoscopic hysterectomies, cholesystectomies and hernia repair, as well as two new state-of-the-art GI suites with the latest Olympus technology, to treat adults and children. The AdvantX system facilitates electronic billing, registration, scheduling, clinical documentation and inventory control procedures.
Operational Efficiency: Surgical volume increased nearly 12 percent in 2006 and is poised to jump more than 60 percent this year. Nursing staff work directly with patients during the pre-op process. Average room turnover time is less than five minutes between surgeries.
Customer Service: Patients are given a booklet prior to surgery that describes the surgery process and answers questions regarding pain, anesthesia, and ways to prepare for surgery. The booklet also contains pictures of actual staff members so that the patients can better relate and see a “familiar face” when they arrive for surgery. Patients regularly don Bair Hugger gowns to keep them warm and comfortable. Each patient receives a “thank you” card signed by the staff members sent to their home after surgery. Patients also receive a post-op follow-up calls the day after surgery.
Teamwork: The staff, administration and physicians work together as a team to make Holston Valley a leader in outpatient surgery. The Medical Executive Committee provides a forum for physicians, surgery center managers and administration to implement the risk management, quality assurance and credentialing programs, as well as evaluate patient and physician satisfaction, and new technology. Last year, the center’s infection/complication rate was less than 1 percent.