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One-Stop Shop Achieve excellence with a single point-of-care approach. BY KEVIN MCDONALD

There’s nothing quite as inviting as greeting an ail- ing patient with multiple administrative forms each time they walk through

the door. Patients appreciate the redun- dancy, while nursing staff look forward to spending countless hours decipher- ing handwriting as they input valuable patient data. Then, of course, there are the surgeons who are grateful for the unexpected extra time that they have been granted when a case is delayed or canceled because paperwork is lost or incomplete.

Nothing could be further from the

truth, but this uncomfortable scenar- io, unfortunately, is all too familiar in many health care settings. Thanks to ad- vances in technology, these issues don’t have to happen. ASCs and physician’s offices are quickly realizing the ben- efits that can be achieved by integrating data from one system into another to provide a single repository that allows physicians’ offices and surgery centers to share patient information seamlessly. This single point-of-care approach sig- nificantly reduces paperwork, stream- lines processes and promotes excellence in patient care by allowing facilities to share data and documents without the use of clumsy interfaces. Consider a typical patient experi- ence leading up to a surgical procedure. When a patient arrives at a physician’s office, he or she is asked to fill out mul- tiple forms requesting medical histories and insurance information. Office staff then enter the data into the physician’s practice management (PPM) system. After learning that surgery is required, the intake person at the physician’s of-

fice phones the surgery center and faxes the patient’s information to the facil- ity’s scheduling department. Once the ASC deciphers the

information, the

staff manually keys it into the surgery center’s scheduling system. When the patient arrives for surgery, he or she is then required to fill out multiple pages of medical and insurance information, again. The paperwork continues, for the patient and facility staff, throughout the entire surgical experience. With a single point-of-care approach, the process is streamlined significantly. When a patient comes in to the physi- cian’s office, he or she provides stan- dard medical history and insurance information. Through the use of univer- sal information exchange engines like ECHO, the staff entering the data into a PPM system can port it over to the sur- gery center’s clinical management sys- tem, without the need for an interface. With a single click, they can transfer a


full patient profile, including patient de- mographic information, intake forms, insurance cards and history and physi- cal (H&P) reports, from the physician’s system to the surgery center’s system to accurately register a patient. No phone calls, faxing or re-keying of informa- tion is required.

The single-point-of-care system

easily adds information to the patient’s case at each stage of the surgical pro- cess. Clinical documentation is entered in real-time throughout the course of the surgery all the way through postop- erative care. The single repository that starts at a physician’s practice comes to the surgery center and flows through- out the patient accounting system and electronic health record (EHR) system creating a fluid flow of information. The staff at the physician’s office physically enters the data only once, and the sys- tem manages it throughout the surgical process for continuity of care.

Advantages of Single-Point-of-Care The patient data flow through one sys- tem eliminates the need for third-party software interfaces and expensive tech- nologies to make systems work togeth- er. With less complexity in terms of data infrastructure and integration of data, there is no wondering where a patient accounting system ends and where an EHR system begins; they are all one. In addition to the obvious time sav- ings for patients and staff, there is less human interaction resulting in less po- tential for errors. The system also re- duces the chance of critical documen- tation being lost or never received. As typographical errors and omissions as- sociated with manually keying data di- minishes, accuracy improves. Data flows directly from the physi-

cian’s PPM into the surgery center’s system over a secure, encrypted portal eliminating illegible documents and blurry faxes. Having this information

The advice and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent official Ambulatory Surgery Center Association policy or opinion. 20 ASC FOCUS MAY 2013

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