5 Digital Surgical Scheduling Breakthroughs for Better Patient Care

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By Brooke O'Brien | Apr 15, 2024

3 minute read MEDITECH| EHR/EMR| Blog

In the fast-paced world of healthcare, efficiency is paramount. From patient care to administrative tasks, every aspect of the healthcare system benefits from streamlined processes. One critical area where efficiency can make a significant difference is with the surgical request communication process. Let’s take a closer look at how integrated, digital features in MEDITECH Expanse are a win-win for surgical staff and patients.

The pain of paper, manual processes

Historically, surgical requests were mostly communicated via phone or fax. Faxes were reviewed and vetted for their completeness and then manually transcribed into a scheduling solution with required fields. With a paper request process, scheduling offices had little to no control over what information got filled out, which always increased the potential of the form being incomplete. Cue the age-old story where schedulers were forced to make extra phone calls to hunt down the missing information. Imagine being a scheduler, and the most time-consuming part of your day wasn’t scheduling, but instead it was the vetting of booking forms and the time to call clinics. Antiquated processes such as these, waste time, money, and increase staff aggravation.

MEDITECH’s Surgical Scheduler Desktop has always helped to centralize scheduling by providing a single digital platform to efficiently manage and coordinate patient appointments and schedules. However, it previously lacked true centralization because it required a manual transcription process to book a case.

MEDITECH Expanse introduces automation and integration

Now, with the advent of the ‘Request a Surgery’ feature in MEDITECH Expanse, the system can handle the scheduling process from start to finish, electronically. This enhancement automates the request process to some extent and empowers the clinic staff and surgeon's office staff to be active participants in the entirety of the scheduling process.

This transforms the way clinics communicate surgical needs by providing a tool to create digital booking requests that cross over to the surgery. Surgical schedulers can access the pending requests through their waitlist, where they can view, edit, and then convert the case to booked with only a few clicks. The key here is that there is no more manual transcription with this process. Once the case is booked, the status change will cross back over to the front office staff’s view, so that they can update their patients on when their surgery will be.

5 benefits of digital surgical scheduling

Expanse’s new integrated feature offers numerous advantages over traditional methods. Here are some key reasons why embracing digital scheduling solutions is crucial for modern healthcare:

  1. Improved Efficiency: The new Request a Surgery routine eliminates the need for time-consuming phone calls and transcription. Now that schedulers won’t have to transcribe paper booking sheets, they will have more time for other job tasks and the potential for transcription error instantly lowers after implementation. This will save valuable time for both clinic staff and surgical schedulers and allows surgeries to be booked more quickly, reducing wait times for the clinics and the patients.
  2. Enhanced Communication: By facilitating direct communication between surgeons’ offices and hospitals, an electronic scheduling request ensures that all relevant information is transmitted accurately and promptly. This reduces the risk of miscommunication or errors, ultimately aiding in more accurate, effective communication between clinics and surgical scheduling.
  3. Real-Time Updates: Scheduling requests updating in real time bypasses the need for an additional confirmation phone call to the clinic. This also enables Surgeons’ offices to be more prompt when relaying the scheduling details back to the patient, which promotes patient satisfaction. Furthermore, it provides surgery schedulers with an audit of when each request was received, which enables them to know which requests should be prioritized over others.
  4. Centralized Information: Switching to an electronic process, helps to centralize all relevant information related to surgery booking. This eliminates the need for manual record-keeping and ensures that important details, such as patient information, surgical preferences, and scheduling constraints, are readily available and not lost.
  5. Optimization: The implementation of this also helps hospitals move to a single booking form when historically clinics have gotten away with using multiple different booking forms, collecting different data and in many different formats. This consistency in scheduling promotes a smoother workflow overall.

The bottom line: this new enhancement fixes a process that some organizations haven’t realized is broken. By streamlining processes, enhancing communication, providing real-time updates, and centralizing information, this transition will revolutionize the way surgeries are scheduled and performed. Embracing a fully digital scheduling solution is not just a matter of convenience— it is essential for delivering high-quality, efficient, and patient-centered care in today’s healthcare landscape.

What’s next?

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About the Author:
Brooke O'Brien

Consultant, MEDITECH Clinical Applications, CereCore

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