How many times have you received that dreaded phone call – a surgery has to be canceled simply because the necessary equipment is not in the right place at the right time? Aside from the undue stress caused to the patient, this is a huge inconvenience to the surgeon and other medical staff, not to mention a waste of money.
In order for a surgery to happen without a hitch, many moving parts must come together, from the scheduling of the surgeon’s time and booking the OR (or ASC) to ordering relevant equipment. Ordering equipment may include knee implants, specialty eye lenses or even a service such as neuro-monitoring. And it all needs to arrive at the right place at the right time! The smallest mistake or miscommunication can result in missing equipment and no surgery.
Read on for the three biggest challenges related to ordering equipment and the one solution that addresses them all.
1. 21st Century Technology with 20th Century Methods
We are living in an era of advanced technology yet ironically, while cutting-edge methods are used to produce the equipment and machinery that surgeons (and their patients) depend upon, they are still ordered the same way a secretary ordered carbon paper to make copies in the 1950s!
Sending a fax to order equipment is considered high-tech in many surgical offices and, more often than not, equipment vendors still drive around to meet with surgical schedulers face-to-face to finalize details. Surgical schedulers print out or handwrite a list of upcoming surgeries and equipment requests, and vendors plan around these manually generated lists. In this age of advanced technology, the missed opportunity is staggering. A paper list cannot automatically update if a surgery is cancelled or rescheduled so unless there is regular and documented communication between the practice and the equipment reps, any change to the schedule can wreak havoc on a vendor’s well-laid plans.
2. HIPAA Compliance
Any private information about a patient and his/her surgery is subject to HIPAA rules. That means that it’s not so easy to share information with equipment reps. When dealing with patient health information, it is very important to use discretion and not inadvertently violate the regulations.
This can make communication with the equipment reps challenging, especially when surgeries need to be canceled or rescheduled. Not all relevant information can be shared over the phone, text, or via email, and many practices don’t have a HIPAA compliant and reliable way to communicate with external vendors.
3. Information Overload
Most practices schedule multiple surgeries at different locations on the same day, which can result in a lot of information for the equipment reps and the practice staff to keep track of.
When relying on archaic methods for ordering equipment, it’s no wonder that things fall between the cracks, no matter how organized a scheduler may be. Without a system in place through which staff can communicate easily and clearly with equipment vendors, mistakes will be made.
So, What’s the Solution?
Bottom line, surgeries cannot and will not happen without the correct equipment in the OR. Recognizing this challenge faced by so many surgical practices and equipment vendors, Surgimate is excited to announce a new feature that will automate communication between practice staff and equipment vendors in a HIPAA compliant way.
This feature builds on the existing Surgimate PracticeTM platform that captures all of the details about the surgery – patient information, insurance information, type of procedure, location, date and time and, of course, the equipment that is needed. The new feature will enable equipment reps to be “invited” to the surgery (via a calendar invite), giving them access to view all of the details they need inside the Surgimate app.
While still following all HIPAA regulations, the equipment reps can receive real-time updates on any canceled or rescheduled surgeries. They will also have easy access to the patient demographic information that they need to ensure that the correct equipment is provided, especially as different equipment may be needed for different genders or different aged patients.
Surgimate Practice makes it simple for staff to communicate directly with the equipment vendors and vice versa, keeping everyone on the same page and fully updated. The equipment reps themselves can see all upcoming surgeries and know exactly what equipment needs to be where and when. The surgical practice staff can rest assured that there will no longer be last minute scrambles to get the right equipment or unnecessary cancellations.
Win-Win For All!
Relationships between surgeons and their equipment vendors are critical to keep surgeries running smoothly and seamlessly with no glitches. As with all relationships, communication is key and this new Surgimate Practice feature provides a sophisticated upgrade in the way schedulers and other staff communicate with equipment reps. Once the communication and information flows easily in both directions, there is much less room for error, making everyone’s jobs easier and providing a better experience for patients.