Use surgery scheduling software to eliminate manual processes and to improve efficiencies. Surgery scheduling is understandably hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Just like you project manage any other project with multiple stake holders, participants, processes, you can do the same with surgery scheduling as well
Here are some top vendors in the market for surgery scheduling software. When you evaluate a vendor or look to have a custom software developed for your own company, use the checklist below to compare and evaluated.
As you look for a surgery scheduling software, look for these basic things to begin with. You can definitely look for a much longer list of features and functionality, but if you are transitioning from paper based and fax based surgery coordination, this is a good start.
Web based access
Your surgery scheduling software should be at least web based, and hopefully, also allow you mobile access. You don’t necessarily need a mobile app per se, but this surgical application should be accessible from your mobile.
More often than not, your surgeons will be using the mobile version and you, yourself, will have to access this website from home and respond to comments/tasks from your mobile. Having this as only a website limits real time updates/status tracking – in our experience. Make sure that you have a mobile app as well.
HIPAA compliant surgery scheduling software
Since you are looking for web based access to this surgery scheduling software, you are going to need to either install it within your office premises with no outside access (not recommended at all) or, you are going to have to go with a vendor that provides you HIPAA compliance and signs a business associate agreement (BAA) with you. Do not choose any scheduling software in the marketplace that do NOT sign a BAA with you.
Hopefully, the vendor can also show you HITRUST certifications (must have for larger hospital systems)
Authentication and authorization
There are multiple stakeholders and caretakers that are involved in the surgery coordination process. Each person should have access to the patient they are comanaging. This means that within your practice, your staff needs one level of access, meanwhile, your provider partners (e.g. the primary care provider of the patient) are going to need another level of access.
Think of it this way
- Your practice staff need access to all your surgery candidates
- Each one of your surgery candidates has (in all probability) a different primary care provider. Their primary care provider office needs access to this same patient record along with you – but should not have access to any other surgery candidates that you are managing.
- At any point in time, your surgery scheduler is going to be managing multiple associated surgery centers and the blocks at various surgery centers for your surgeons. Each one of those surgery centers are going to need access to the patients that are on their blocks while the other surgery centers / hospitals should not have access to these patients.
- Your biller is going to need to have access to your patients and so does the surgery center’s biller. But your biller needs to have access to all your surgery patients while the surgery center’s biller needs access to only a subset of your patients.
- Surgery scheduling is a lot more successful when you have the patient full involved and aware of the various preoperative and preparatory steps. So, your patient needs to have access to their own surgery “project” / “record” while they should not have access to any other patients’ data.
Rules based engine
As we all know, surgery scheduling needs processing quite a few business rules. These rules, prerequisites, steps needed before the next step can be given a green light – you should have the flexibility to define them.
You should have the flexibility to define these surgery checklists and business rules per facility where your surgeons perform surgeries and also for each procedure (since each process is different).
Surgery scheduling software should allow you to involve paperwork, faxes, phone calls, emails – a lot of it. If you constantly have to do things offline and then update your surgery schedule website manually, this is not going to work. Someone will drop the ball for sure and you will be back to square one.
Your surgery scheduling software should allow you to manage documents and versions of documents. These documents can be PDFs, images etc.
As you can imagine there are MULTIPLE parties that would be sharing and uploading documents to the surgery case – each stakeholder should have the ability to do so without any difficulty. This includes the patient as well.
Integrated fax management
In healthcare, we live in the world of faxes – there’s no getting around them. Your surgery scheduling software should integrate with your fax server and you should be able to see incoming faxes from the website itself. Once you receive faxes on your website, you no longer have to scan/PDF faxes received. You should be able to simply attach incoming faxes to surgery / patient records.
Multiple provider and sites
You should be able to (without a lot of staff overhead) manage multiple provider schedules and multiple surgery locations with your surgery scheduling software. E.g.
Your surgery scheduler software should allow you to manage all your patients in one place and you should have the ability to run custom reports on all patients. It is crucial to look back on surgical density data and be able to report back on what transpired, what succeeded, what roadblocks remain etc
Same goes with surgery scheduling / coordination status. You should be, at any point in time, able to report to your physician leaders on the status of the surgery scheduling. Your partners at the primary care provider offices, surgery centers and the patient themselves should be able to tell where everyone is in the entire process/workflow, what the next step is and who is responsible for that next step is.
Due date for each step of the surgery scheduling workflow is VERY important for you to successfully meet your committed surgeries at the surgical center.
Most surgery scheduling software allow you to do these as it is a core part of their offering.
Real time communication tools
Surgery scheduling is all about communications – not playing phone tag or fax tag. Your surgery scheduling software should have built it
- Email capabilities so you can send an email specific to a surgery schedule and be able to act on an incoming email w.r.t the same
- SMS capabilities – since most patients prefer to receive notifications via SMS
- Messaging/chat/discussions capabilities that are centered around that particular surgery.. Not a generic messaging application. A generic chat is OK to have, but conversations around a case, needs to be around that case itself – else, things get mixed up and you lose track of the conversation that’s pertinent. We have seen this happening MANY times before.