did not know and did not receive any follow-up reminders. Out of all these reasons, the lack of communication is virtually 100 percent preventable.

Importance of Patient Engagement Tools Tools that can help continue health conversations after a visit can promote the accuracy of health data and assist in encouraging patients to return when they need additional care. These same components help improve outcomes on a population level. The inner working between an

office and ASC is very tight. The office has the

responsibility to follow the

patient longitudinally, and the ASC executes on a particular episode of care. Patient engagement with both entities promotes efficient and effective care, and communication among all three— patient, office and ASC—is critical. As communication preferences vary from individual to individual, both the prac- tice and the ASC should employ multi- ple methods to connect with the patient. A reminder via text message, patient portal notification, email, phone call or snail mail are all viable methods. Over- communication via multiple mediums can only help encourage patients to come back when they are due for fol- low-up care. Patient engagement tools can provide a missing link that gets patients to return while reducing effort needed from the provider and staff to do so. For instance, a robust patient portal can remind patients to come in auto- matically—so staff don’t have to waste time—and also provide patients with the information they need after the visit. After a procedure, providers can use secure messaging to check in with the patient and see that he or she is adhering to post-procedure recommendations. Another part of the equation includes ease of access to information. An ASC patient portal allows for the facility’s staff to gather pertinent medical information pre-procedure enhancing the efficiency— and potentially safety—of the procedure.


In ASCs, the approach to preventive medicine, such as in the case of colon cancer, provides opportunities to better treat patients and to lower the cost of care across an entire population.”

—Arnold G. Levy, MD, Modernizing Medicine Gastroenterology

The portal engages the patient directly in his or her own health care and provides the time and resources to more accu- rately add family history, medications, etc. With colonoscopies, for instance, if a patient reports a family history of colon cancer, you might want to contact them for a screening prior to the recommended age of 50. The only way for a provider to know this information is if the patient tells them. Having this knowledge acces- sible ahead of time proves invaluable when recommending the proper course of action, promotes patient safety and improves office visit efficiency.

The Power of Interoperability Seamless communication between the ASC and other providers who are part of a patient’s continuum of care helps increase the likelihood that patients will adhere to the doctor’s orders. Instituting a patient portal, where a patient can com- municate directly with the ASC as well as having the information from the ASC accessible via their providers’ patient portals, makes it easy to access records and share relevant information, not only with the patient but also with other pro- viders in his or her health care network. This, too, helps improve patient safety.

Reporting Tools With ASCs, the whole loop of care differs from that of other health care facilities. When it comes to analytics, you want the ability to identify over- all population trends and see what you can change about your practice to help improve those trends. This includes tracking both clinical quality and cost metrics with peer benchmarking.

A few examples of ASC-specific reports include: ■■ ■■

ASC-09; ASC-10;

■■ Complications Form; Interrupted Procedures; ■■ Interventions; ■■ ■■ ■■


Limitations/Complications; Quality of Preparation; Scope Use; and ■■ Time Tracker

(calculates average

cecal time). Ideally, with the proper technology in place, you should have the capabil- ity to run such reports for high-risk patients who have yet to come in for a colonoscopy screening or a follow- up. It is all about having the right tools at your fingertips. Data analytics solu- tions should be able to deliver near real-time insights, especially into high- risk populations and specific disease categories. This can help you improve outcomes, cut costs, meet regulatory requirements and optimize efficiency. In this current environment where payers are starting to look at pay- ing for improving outcomes of entire populations rather than for individual episodes of care, sophisticated data analytics tools can be crucial for stay- ing competitive. In ASCs, the approach to preventive medicine, such as in the case of colon cancer, provides opportunities to bet- ter treat patients and to lower the cost of care across an entire population.

Arnold G. Levy, MD, is a gastroenterology adviser at Modernizing Medicine Gastro- enterology in Boca Raton, Florida. Write him at

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