Be warned: not all practice manage- ment systems make it easy for ASCs to collect from patients.

Digital Assistance An EHR can help boost ASC effi- ciency, as well. Some ASCs have tech- nology that


shared via social media also can boost an ASC’s bottom line. Furthermore, receiving direct feed- back from patients about their experi- ence at an ASC also can help identify areas for improvement.


intake and billing, but they are miss- ing an essential middle part. In other words, documenting

the encounter

between physician and patient can still occur on paper. Later, a staff mem- ber inputs the details into the practice management system, an approach that can slash efficiency.

Switching to an EHR that sup- ports quick and easy input of the encounter electronically can boost efficiency and increase patient safety by reducing the likelihood of errors from manual data entry. An ability to search medication databases is yet another patient safety feature offered by certain EHRs. Iden- tifying a comprehensive list of medi- cations that a particular patient is tak- ing obviates the need to rely on patient reporting of their medications. In addi- tion, in ASC settings, the anesthesiol- ogist needs an accurate list of patient medications to adjust anesthesia or avoid potential interactions. Another potentially useful EHR

feature is an ability to monitor vital signs and the timing of medication administration

during during a procedure.

Automating Follow-Up Traditionally, surgeons, anesthesi- ologists or their staff members call patients the day after surgery to check in. It can be a time-consuming process, especially if a patient is hard to reach. In contrast, practice management software can help automate this pro- cess. Some systems can automatically email or text postoperative patients a

surgery. This

also can eliminate the need for anes- thesiologists

to document on paper

Comparative Performance Data EHR systems that allow mining of data can assist with quality improve- ment. For example, I can go through and look at 4,000 operations and see what my complication rate is by pro- vider. In contrast, trying to com- pare using paper records would be extremely time-consuming. EHRs can make it easy to objec- quality of care.

tively evaluate the

Practice management software designed to streamline the workflow for nurses can boost efficiency, and thereby, a practice’s financial bottom line.”

— Michael Rivers, MD Modernizing Medicine

quick survey on their recovery. If they report an issue or concern, the software flags it and notifies staff that they need to reach out to the patient immediately. These technological tools can not

only boost efficiency but also contrib- ute to quality improvement.

Beyond the Buzzword How can software help ASC owners enhance ongoing quality improvement efforts?

Some practice management soft- ware can help solicit patient satisfaction feedback. As a bonus, the software can ask patients who report higher levels of satisfaction if they are willing to write a positive review. Such positive reviews

Does your ASC have complication rates comparable to other centers? At any given point in time, how does your ASC’s performance compare to state benchmark data?

Nurse-Centric Software

Practice management software designed to streamline the workflow for nurses can boost efficiency, and thereby, a practice’s financial bottom line. When software does not slow them down, nurses can spend more time taking care of patients. Preop nurses can reassure anxious patients before their surgery, which again ties into patient satisfac- tion and positive feedback for the ASC. There is no question patients feel better and happier when there is a nurse before the surgery who talks to them. Ultimately, even with the most up-to-date software on board, being able to have somebody look you in the eye, hold your hand and tell you that you are going to be okay is incredibly important.

Michael Rivers, MD, is the director of ophthalmology at Modernizing Medicine in Boca Raton, Florida. Write him at


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