Four ASC administrators discuss how they are improving the patient experience.
All administrators featured in this article will speak at the Becker's ASC 25th Annual Meeting: The Business and Operations of ASCs on Oct. 18-20 in Chicago. To learn more and register, click here.
Lori Tamburo, CASC. Administrator of Foothills Surgery Center (Boulder, Colo.): The smartest thing Foothills Surgery Center has done to improve the patient experience, aside from the typical advantages of an ASC over a hospital, is that we hired a financial counselor. It is a new role which was developed over the past year in an effort to educate our patients about their financial responsibility and ensure that they understand the financial end of surgery in an ASC. There is potential for patients to receive four EOBs for one surgery and providing the patients with individual attention to set their expectations upfront has been very beneficial. We have seen much higher patient satisfaction as a result.
Joy Taylor. COO of Polaris Spine (Atlanta): "By having our own ASC, we can completely customize the patient experience. Because our patients have been seen in our office and have already formed relationships with us, we are able to anticipate their unique needs and provide personalized care.
We have found that the little things go a long way. After surgery in our ASC, we provide patients with a postoperative care kit of sorts, complete with a Polaris tote bag for clothing and belongings, organic chapstick for dry lips post-intubation and warm socks. These ideas have come from listening to our patients' feedback.
In addition to providing care for our patients, we pay a great deal of attention to the patients' families. We try to provide a relaxing experience for them, with assorted teas and coffees, snacks and comfortable chairs and couches."
Catherine Ruppe, RN, CASC. Executive Director of Proliance Highlands Surgery Center (Issaquah, Wash), Overlake Surgery Center (Bellevue, Wash.) and Richmond (Wash.) Surgery Center: I have three centers and we triangulate a precise metropolitan area, so we are able to offer lots of free parking. We've also taken the high-end approach for design and build. We are space-efficient, so the workflow makes sense for staff and our centers have lots of storage room. We want to make the ASC friendly and comfortable for the patient. At the most recent center I'm opening, we included high-end flooring to ensure the patient has a calming and soothing experience. We have received comments on our nice art work, comfortable furnishings and feel; our ASCs don't feel clinical. Patients also comment on how warm and welcoming the centers are because they feel more like a spa than a hospital, but we also have the latest technology. Every patient room is private and has a TV, and patients have control of their stretchers so they can raise their own head.
We also talk a lot about customer service and moving patients discharged safely. Sometimes we have to balance that with patients saying they aren't ready to go home. We talk about our patient surveys every quarter and go over the responses.
Benita Tapia. Administrator of 90210 Surgery Medical Center (Beverly Hills, Calif.): Patients tell us over and over again they feel like they're given a more personal experience. Hospitals are usually extremely large and the patient has to encounter a multitude of different people. It can be overwhelming for patients navigating through a large hospital just to check-in for their procedure. In the ASC environment you often find staff wearing many hats, you may find the pre-op nurse that took care of the patient will be there to greet the patient in the post-anesthesia care unit after the case, which provides a continuity of care and a personal bond between the patient and the nurse. The long wait in hospitals of cases getting delayed and rescheduled because of emergencies can cause anxiety. The patient can be left NPO and anxiously waiting for their procedure and the operating room to become available. Usually cases go more true to time in an ASC environment.