Top 10 Worst Habits in Surgical Coordination

Top 10 Worst Habits in Surgical Coordination

As industry experts, we’ve had the opportunity to visit hundreds of surgical practices across the nation. We’ve seen lots of interesting methods used for surgical coordination — sometimes a little too interesting. See below for our all-time worst habits. We hope we don’t catch you with any of these items at your practice.

Using A Typewriter

Surgical coordinator writing on a typewriter

Yes, you read correctly. In 2015, we caught a coordinator using a typewriter to complete their insurance forms. Thankfully, all of their paperwork is generated automatically, and the typewriter will be sold off at a local antiquities auction.

Carry-on Luggage For Papers

Surgical coordinator with a luggage case of papers

You might be thinking ‘travel.’ What kind of travel are the coordinators doing that they need a carry-on? Well, it’s not the glamorous Grand Tour of Europe you might be envisioning. This group was physically carrying patient packets from one office location to another. No, really.

This client donated the luggage to a good cause because they can now securely access their patients’ records from any office location at any time.

Carbon Paper Forms

This is rampant. We’ve seen it in countless offices, including practices with state-of-the-art equipment and furnishings. Yet some coordinators still handwrite data while the patient sits across from them, waiting.

The offices where we spotted this 1970s throwback are now automatically faxing the forms to the hospital without ever needing to print them. Not only are we saving them loads of time, but quite a few trees as well.

Heaps of Paper

A pile of papers

Do you know how often we have seen coordinators re-writing the surgical case into three separate calendars for each surgeon? Too many times.

Many of our clients have had burning ceremonies in the past years, where the holy paper books are enthusiastically cast into the flames. And there was no turning back.

Interns Running Papers Between Offices

Surgical coordinator intern running papers to another office

We couldn’t make this stuff up. One client hired an intern to physically run miles to deliver surgery packets between the office and the surgery center. That was all the intern did for three months straight.

The intern is undoubtedly in great shape by now. However, next summer, the practice can harness the intern’s energy to do more useful jobs around the office because the surgery center now enjoys on-demand access to all the surgical information it needs electronically.

Faxing Papers One Floor Up

fax machine

These gals weren’t lazy, they were just following orders. Throughout the day, these surgical coordinators would fax pre-cert forms to the girls downstairs in the insurance department. Seriously.

This practice has since dumped those fax machines, as information is shared electronically between departments.

Bottles of Correction Fluid (Wite-Out)

Many of us remember this product from our good ol’ school days. But believe it or not, many coordinators still use the stuff today. Wite-Out has now been removed from our clients’ stationery stash for good since they can now re-generate paperwork with updates and changes in seconds.

RIP, Wite-Out. You served us well.

Writing the Procedure on the Side of the Form

Sometimes, there’s just not enough space on the form. This one always makes us giggle. Just a little.

Accordion Folder

Surgical coordinator with an accordion folder

Need we say more?

Writing the Same Info On Forms Over And Over

Surgical coordinator writing the same info over and over

Patient name, DOB, hospital name. Patient name, DOB, hospital name. It’s frightening to see how common this is among practices. Carpal tunnel release, here we come.

Luckily, some of these coordinators work with orthopedic surgeons and have an in with getting onto the schedule. What’s the code for that again? We may need to create a special ICD-10 code for this: Completely unnecessary overuse of the wrist causing excess pressure and inflammation on the median nerve. And that’s not the only nerve it’s pressuring, either.