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shutterstock_599183891.jpgThe typical case at an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) requires an average of 25 communication touch points. Twenty-five. Think about all the individuals involved in a procedure and its scheduling: nurses, office staff, surgeons, anesthesiologists, vendor reps, and of course, the patient and their caregivers, among others. Coordinating times and communicating details becomes an inherently challenging process with so many people, especially when factoring in the number of steps it takes to go from initial contact to the moment the patient is discharged.

With traditional communication channels like faxes, phone calls, and emails, there is a lot of room for wasted time — and error.

These were the challenges facing one surgery center in Colorado with four ORs, one procedure room and an average of 450 cases per month. To coordinate surgical cases, their clinical and business office teams relied on calls, texts and emails to share information. If changes were made to an existing case, or a new case was added on to the end of the day, it took an additional 45 minutes for the surgery scheduler to communicate with all involved stakeholders. Even without changes to a case, other issues would sometimes arise due to miscommunication or missteps in the process: wrong times or wrong equipment would lead to delays and cancellations. The day of surgery presented patient flow efficiency problems, too. Pre-op nurses constantly had to check in with the front desk to find out if their next patient arrived; OR staff, surgeons and anesthesiologists weren’t always aware when patients were in pre-op, or what bay they were in.

To address these issues, the surgery center implemented Casetabs, a cloud-based online platform for surgery coordination and case communication. Casetabs creates a central hub – we think of it as an ASC Command Center – with real-time updates to keep everyone on the same page. Details like procedure time, length of procedure, equipment and assigned nurses are stored, updated and accessible in one place, so that everyone has the same information — and has it quickly. Integration with SourceMed’s AdvantX, Vision and SurgiSource software allows up-to-date schedule and patient demographic information to be quickly pulled and populated into Casetabs which saves time and improves accuracy.

By replacing whiteboards, paper case add-on sheets, text messages and emails with the Casetabs app on mobile phones and 50-inch digital surgery boards onsite, the center reduced the number of communication touch points and ultimately saved 205 hours each month when considering the surgery coordination time for the front of office staff and nursing staff alone (which translated to a monthly savings of $6,577 calculated by their compensation). The time needed to coordinate one case dropped from 21 minutes to 5 minutes, and time to reschedule one case dropped from 45 minutes to 5 minutes.

It can be hard to see beyond the ways things have traditionally been done, even when we know there are problems that exist within a current system. But with the technologies and communication tools available today, ASCs are rethinking workflows and processes, and looking for new kinds of solutions to their biggest challenges. An ASC command center makes things more efficient for surgeons and staff, improves the bottom line, and creates a better, even safer, experience for the patient. Informed and efficient staff means better patient care.

Reduced communication errors also mean better patient outcomes. With an increased focus on patient satisfaction and outcomes as we transition to value-based care models, ASCs should always embrace opportunities that will improve the quality of the care they deliver.

We’re moving toward the future in patient care, a future where it’s possible to share real-time information with multiple stakeholders through a central hub, instead of a series of fragmented calls, faxes, or emails. A future where we can reduce the number of touch points required to coordinate a case from 25 to five. A future where everyone can easily get on the same page, without ever using a page.

Learn how SourceMed and Casetabs have partnered on an integrated solution that provides ASCs with a central hub for real-time case information and updates.