Budget season got you down? Consider these 4 tips to help with your technology selection

It's October, budget season for many ASCs. With new tools and technology continually being introduced, determining what should make the cut can be an overwhelming decision. Technology that streamlines processes and eliminates unnecessary spending is always a board favorite. But there are other long- and short-term financial and operational benefits to consider.

Looking back at some of the best technology purchases we’ve made, bringing our pre-admission system online is right up there at the top. While it has been several years since we deployed the One Medical Passport solution, the benefits are still being felt today.

As you finalize your technology purchases for the coming year, it is my hope that the following tips will help ensure you too make the right investments.

1. Ease of use. If a technology is too complex, no one will use it. This is particularly true with patient-facing technology. If the system is not intuitive, compliance will be low and frustration levels high. Furthermore, if questions are too technical, patients will not understand what they are being asked which can lead to inaccurate or incomplete information.

Look for a system that takes traditionally complex medical terms and puts them into laymen’s terminology. The system should easily guide patients along the way and offer controls to ensure patients are unable to skip questions. The technology should also be simple for staff to use and require little to no training.

2. Streamlines processes. A key benefit of technology (should be) the ability to streamline and automate typically manual processes, not make things more complex. The goal is to leverage the benefits of the technology you select to save valuable staff time and improve processes. Ensure the system you select is able to easily meet the changing needs of your center. Because case volumes grow and needs change, it is important that the technology you select is able to adapt seamlessly with your needs.

Short Hills Surgery Center currently performs about 750 cases per month, a significant increase from when One Medical Passport was initially implemented. However, despite the increased surgical volume, no additional staff needed to be added to help manage the pre-admission process because One Medical Passport was such a time-saver for the nurses.

3. Expert Technical Support. While technology can sometimes bring new challenges, no one should ever have to worry about a company’s technical support. Inquire upfront about average wait times for a response; anything longer than 24 hours is not acceptable. During normal business hours most vendors should get back to you within a couple of hours, maximum. Ideally you want a company whose technical support teams are all based in the United States.

4. Evolves with the industry. Because the healthcare industry is continually evolving, it is important that the technology you select is able to easily adapt to meet industry changes. Ask the vendor for examples of when they have adapted to changes, how long the process took, how these changes impacted their ASC customers and, even more importantly, patients. Technology changes should be seamless to your staff and patients.

More articles on surgery centers:
The best decision I've made this year: 9 ASC administrators discuss
6 ASC technologies to know
Regent Surgical Health partners with Alaska ASC

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