Making the switch: 3 ASCs implementing EHR
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Oak Brook (Ill.) Surgical Centre. The surgery center made the transition from paper to an cloud-based EHR system in October 2012. The center is managed by Oak Brook Medical Management and according to Bruce R. Nadro, MD, director of the department of anesthesiology at the company, the center deployed a cloud-based system because the benefits of the cloud were abundantly clear. By "leveraging the cloud, the surgical center avoided hefty upfront fees for acquiring business and clinical software and replaced them with manageable monthly fees that are based on Oak Brook's usage," said Dr. Nadro in a Becker's ASC Review article. "Oak Brook's experience with cloud computing has been extremely positive."
Alfonso del Granado, associate administrator for compliance affairs at Oak Brook Medical Management, said that the biggest challenge for an ASC is giving adequate EHR training to surgeons who do cases infrequently. "We dealt with these issues by scheduling extra staff to walk surgeons through the process each time they came in, until eventually they became proficient. It also helped that the EHR we chose was designed well to minimize 'page hunting' by surgeons, which helps to lessen the learning curve," he said.
Established in 1984, the surgery center is approved by Medicare and accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. It includes four surgical rooms and a recovery and monitoring area. The center offers surgical care in a wide array of specialties, including gastroenterology, podiatry, general surgery, gynecology, ophthalmology, urology, vascular surgery, ENT, orthopedics and oral surgery.
Aiden Center for Day Surgery Center (Addison, Ill.). The surgery center switched from paper to an EHR deployed in the cloud in January 2013. Mr. del Granado said that it is unlikely that the EHR will be any faster or easier to use than a paper chart, and surgeons and older staff may have trouble adjusting. The top benefits, however, are fewer errors and omissions, and better reporting and tracking.
"Previously, our paper chart error rate was a weighted average of 3.6 percent. One year after implementing our EHR, it's down to 0.9 percent. The system does not allow us to miss critical data, and easy reviewing allows staff to quickly make corrections at the end of the day," he said.
The surgery center features four operating rooms and two dedicated GI endoscopy rooms, with more than 60 physicians in gastroenterology, gynecology, orthopedics, pain management, plastic surgery, podiatry and other specialties. The 14,000-square-foot multispecialty ASC is accredited by the Joint Commission and managed by Oak Brook Medical Management.
Ashton Center for Day Surgery (Hoffman Estates, Ill.). The surgery center switched to a cloud-based EHR in February 2013. "While an EHR is not a panacea, the pluses greatly outnumber the minuses for any organization trying to remain competitive and to continue providing excellent care," said Mr. del Granado. Through the new system, the ASC can cost out a case by fixed and variable expenses to the penny and compare to contracted or historical average reimbursement rates as well as schedule case duration by procedure and surgeon averages.
However, according to Dr. Nadro, before selecting a vendor, a surgery center must do diligent research. "Simply asking a neighbor what vendor they use is not enough. Has the vendor been in business for a long time? Do they have a proven track record? Do they have resources to maintain longevity? These are just some of the questions you will want to ask," said Dr. Nadro in a Becker's ASC Review article.
The surgery center is 15,000 square feet and is accredited by the Joint Commission. It features four operating rooms, with more than 40 physicians. It is managed by Oak Brook Medical Management, and it offers surgical care in gastroenterology, gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pain management, plastic surgery, podiatry and more.
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