It’s amazing how quickly things go from “the next big thing” to “seriously, I spent money on that?” While your old iPod or computer could become a vintage must-have, the same can’t be said of outdated admin practices. As 2018 fast approaches, it’s time to wave goodbye to methods from days gone by and herald the New Year with smarter ways to tackle your surgical scheduling workflow.
Couriers – Unless you are sending something big and bulky we suggest you lose the number of your local courier company. Don’t waste time – and money – using a courier to transfer files between your practice and ASCs. Sending files electronically will help you save resources, and better protect patient information.
Whiteboards For Tasks – Whiteboards are great for sharing information with everyone at the practice, but they’re also a PHI disaster-in-waiting. Your patients expect their information to be kept private and confidential. Spare everyone the billboard and move to an electronic dashboard.
If only your whiteboard looked this organized
Empty Block Time – Pens, calendars, and an endless supply of Wite-Out make it hard to keep track of cancelled surgeries and fill empty slots. With all the digital tools and software available for surgical practices, there is no excuse for block time going unused. Too much money is being wasted by surgical practices and the broader healthcare industry. Creating an electronic workflow gives practices the flexibility to plan better and keep operating rooms running at full capacity.
Fax Machines – He-llo! The ‘90s just called and they want their fax machine back. In the era of email and messaging, it’s no surprise the fax machine has gone the way of the Dodo. That said, there are still plenty of practices using them, either out of habit or because hospitals and insurance companies demand it. Though cumbersome and expensive, faxes are still a common sight in the back office. Worst of all, unlike secure email programs or HL7 protocols, faxes are susceptible to HIPAA violations, and that should be a big red flag. Try avoiding sending faxes when not absolutely necessary.
No need to go Office Space on that fax machine
Sorting one-by-one – Some practices still work this way. Insurance approvals, for instance, are processed patient-by-patient, can become a full time job. It’s quicker and easier to track if you start by grouping patients by insurance carrier, through a surgical checklist, then call each carrier and process all the patients in one go.
Manual Paperwork – Surely we have evolved enough to realize that manually creating and filling in forms is daft. Forget about the reams of paper being wasted in keeping things status quo and consider the time squandered creating forms and filling them in. Embrace the future by using a form generator to save your admin staff hours of valuable time and let them focus on more important things.
“Phew! 20 forms down only 100 to go”
Manila Folders – For most people a folder is something that lives on their computer, but there are practices out there still running their back office with actual manila folders and files. Not only is this method of record keeping tedious and inefficient, it also makes it hard to find information when you need it. This especially true for practices using old files on a daily basis that were never scanned into their system. Filing is costly, takes up valuable space, and makes the office look cluttered. Switching to a near-paperless system saves time, money and frayed tempers when things go missing.
Paper Calendars – Even though some people still prefer to look at a calendar they can feel, using paper calendars has serious disadvantages. If one goes missing, the surgeon’s schedule can be thrown into disarray. Manage appointments with a shared electronic calendar solves this, as everyone you needs to can access it easily, and you’re not dependent on one person to update and maintain it. Plan for the inevitable and make the switch.
Don’t roll the dice with a paper calendar
Sticky Notes – Everyone loves sticky notes. They’re great for jotting down quick reminders and capturing thoughts. But the problem with your colorful friends is they harm your ability to keep track of information, and worst of all, they increase the risk of HIPAA violation. There are many task tools and apps available online that you can use instead, like Insight Notes and Onenote.
Looks like a task for Bruce Almighty
Wall Calendars – Wall calendars are great for tracking your kids’ activities. They are less good at tracking a complex roster of surgeries and appointments. Accessible only to those physically in the office, wall calendars are difficult to update and maintain. And they’re on display for anyone to see, or photograph, which earns them a big black mark for HIPAA violation. So keep the colored pens for arts and craft class and use an electronic calendar that keeps everyone in the loop, and your patient information secure.
No matter how many of these “malpractices” you are guilty of (none, we hope), make a New Year pledge to bade farewell to a few of them at least!