Compliance management is time-consuming—from provider credentialing and enrollment for surgeons and anesthesiologists to HR procedures, policy and procedure acceptance, incident reporting, and safety plans. Whether handling these issues manually or in separate systems, the tasks monopolize critical practice resources, and divert staff and provider attention away from patient care.
With ambulatory surgery centers facing evolving healthcare laws, strict guidelines regarding new employee training and ongoing annual education requirements, ASC administrators need a user-friendly online learning management system that can provide engaging educational courses for required employee education.
As the ASC marketplace has changed, surgeons and surgical groups have come together to form larger partnerships in search of better solutions and support. Five surgery centers in particular, all part of SurgCenter Development, sought a solution to digitize compliance and credentialing: Bear Creek Surgery in Keller, Texas; Indian Lake Surgery Center in Hendersonville, Tennessee; Advanced Surgery Center of Metairie, Louisiana; SurgCenter of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; and SurgCenter Northeast, LLC, in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Typically employing between 15 and 60 staff members at any given time, these five ASC locations were using an out-of-date LMS that was neither cost-effective nor time-efficient in managing required employee training.
Introducing an all-in-one compliance management solution
Bear Creek Surgery Center was the first of the five ASCs to turn to the MedTrainerall-in-one compliance management suite to digitize compliance and credentialing. Focused on orthopedics, podiatry, pain management, and ear, nose and throat, Bear Creek administrators were drawn to the system’s custom LMS with powerful tools that streamline management processes and simplify compliance. The comprehensive yet flexible system allows individual surgery centers to customize and utilize the features beneficial to each practice.
Indian Lake Surgery Center, Advanced Surgery Center of Metairie, SurgCenter of Palm Beach Gardens and SurgCenter Northeast followed suit and adopted the unique all-in-one solution. Each center has introduced the LMS with over 200 custom courses that meet all necessary requirements for mandatory clinical and non-clinical employee training, such as OSHA, bloodborne pathogens, fire safety, ergonomics and injury prevention, infection control, and HIPPA training. The system also contains learning modules specific to ambulatory surgery centers, including trainings for the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. Required courses are assigned to new hires as part of the onboarding process and to current employees for annual renewals.
Streamlining policies, procedures and safety
Several of the locations using the LMS have also adopted the policy and procedures feature for user-friendly access and easy assignment of policies vital to the surgery center practice. The system allows administrators to upload center-specific documents and assign them to staff, who then digitally acknowledge that they have read the policy. Administrators can easily track the signed policies with dates for each staff member, while employees can read and save all assigned and accepted policies on their own dashboard for future access.
To promote safety and improve compliance within the surgery centers, administrators also employ specific tools for incident reporting, safety plans and safety data sheet management. Many incident reports are built into the systems’ robust library, but practices can also request custom reports as needed. Both custom and OSHA-required safety and contingency plans can be maintained in the system to help practices ensure day-to-day safety, mitigating risk when an event occurs.
Simplifying credentialing and compliance
Many ASCs have also implemented the QuickCred™ provider credentialing management tool to maintain compliance with the variety of providers and anesthesiologists rotating through the facilities. Administrators can access reports on all credentialing information organized within one portal, including renewal dates for enrollments, privileging, license renewals and more. ASCs can quickly and efficiently enroll providers with new payers and track re-enrollments with the self-management tool. Other practices utilize the fully managed option to outsource all credentialing and enrollment processes to a dedicated team.
With the healthcare industry under massive regulatory pressure from legal mandates, accreditation surveys and reimbursement requirements, these ASCs needed a centralized system for managing compliance. Through personalized customer support, each location received a dedicated representative to facilitate a seamless implementation and guide administrators and employees throughout ongoing use.
Mikki Baldus, director of nursing, Advanced Surgery Center of Metairie, said, “The company was very helpful in getting us all set up, and educating us on the ins and outs [of the system]. After we got used to the basics, we began utilizing more things, such as incident reporting, and policy and procedure uploading. It is a very easy program to use.”
Practice administrators have all the information they need in one easy-to-access platform and can run a report on virtually any aspect of the system. The analytical reports track data based on location, department, employees and events, and offer administrators insight into opportunities for improvements, sustainability and success. Plus, in the case of an audit or accreditation survey, all essential documentation is readily accessible in a secure document management portal.
Pam Arnold, administrator, Indian Lake Surgery Center, said, “This change not only saved us money, it also offered excellent reporting for my management team to assure the staff is completing the required education on a timely basis. The courses are user-friendly and the system offers an extensive variety for us to assign directly to our staff.”
Seeing real results
Two years after adopting the all-in-one compliance solution, Bear Creek Surgery Center has maintained compliance with new and annual employee training, while digitizing its policies and procedures, incident reporting and safety data sheets. Complete electronic management has saved time and effort from the previously laborious manual paper system, and has encouraged greater usage among employees.
Jessica Hill, administrator, Bear Creek Surgery Center, said, “Our incident reporting has greatly increased from only several to over 70 a year. The online system is so easy to use, now staff members are reporting everything, including near miss incidents. When the staff enters an incident, I automatically receive a report instead of having to manually pull or create my own, eliminating the need for a paper and pencil process entirely.”
Hill says the best feature of the system is the ability to upload documents specific to their surgery center instead of having to adapt to pre-made templates. The fast responses from the support team have provided them with customized documents, such as additional incident report types, policy sheets for their specific practice, and custom educational content.
Since switching to the all-in-one compliance management platform, Bear Creek Surgery Center has saved $1,500 per year compared to its previous antiquated LMS.
“With the cost savings and all the added benefits you receive, it’s really a no-brainer. The system is a one-stop shop with everything you need for quality reporting and compliance all under one easy-to-use umbrella,” said Hill.
The all-in-one compliance management system has enabledthese ASCs to streamline management processes for greater overall efficiency and a higher level of quality care. Without the need for time-consuming, manual tracking or switching between systems, the practices can focus less on administrative duties and more on patient care as compliance runs effortlessly in the background of operations.
About the Author: Steve Gallion co-founded MedTrainer to address the challenges of maintaining compliance in healthcare and now serves various other regulated industries, including retail, pharmaceutical, hospitality, grocery, manufacturing and technology. The company’s all-in-one compliance management system encompasses all the tools necessary to streamline management processes, increase departmental collaboration and simplify compliance.