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How bringing surgical case communication and coordination to the cloud helped revolutionize La Peer Surgery Center

When Heidi Partida joined Beverly Hills, Calif.-based La Peer Surgery Center as a scheduler, she noticed many of the case coordination processes were dated and could be improved. 

A year later, a colleague at the center alerted Ms. Partida to a cloud-based surgery coordination application created by Casetabs. Immediately impressed by what she saw, Ms. Partida became the main advocate pushing for adoption of the system.

Initially there was some resistance to change, however Ms. Partida’s persistence prevailed. The center replaced its dated scheduling system with an intuitive central coordination hub and digital surgery board which revolutionized care for patients and providers.

Becker's ASC Review spoke with Ms. Partida about the system and La Peer Surgery Center.

Note: This was lightly edited for style.

Question: What was the key driver for moving to a cloud-based surgical communication and coordination tool?

Heidi Partida: Patient satisfaction is a top priority for our center. We listen closely to what our patients have to say. They wanted more information, real-time updates, and a visualization of where they were at each step of the procedure for their loved ones waiting. With our old system we were unable to deliver upon these requests.

Now, with message boards in place, immediately after a patient checks in his/her family members can see where they are in real-time. We are also using these boards in preop and postop rooms to provide doctors and nurses with a quick view of patient status and other relevant case information.

Since rolling out Casetabs, we have provided a level of comfort to our patients and their families that we were previously unable to offer. It truly differentiates us from other centers.

Q: You worked closely with Casetabs to build a program specific to La Peer’s needs, what was that process like?

HP: [When developing the system] thinking outside the box and putting myself in the place of the patient was critical. What type of information would be most valuable to the patient? Visually, how would the patient like this information delivered? It was a balancing act as we also had to consider staff needs.

From a clinical perspective, ease of use and automation were essential for our doctors and nurses. Our previous scheduling program was very tedious and required multiple steps to complete each process. One thing didn't correlate with the next. After sitting down with Casetabs and explaining what I’d like to see in a perfect world, for both staff and patients, they delivered it.

Q: How did the roll out go? Were you met with any resistance?

HP: As with any new technology, there were some initial kinks that needed to be worked out. We are still fine-tuning a few things but it is well received by doctors, nurses and patients. Casetabs has been great about working with us to ensure all of our needs are met.

Beyond the initial resistance, staff are much more open and excited about the system. Since experiencing first-hand how easy the system is to use and its ability to greatly streamline communication — a simple click of a button and everyone involved in a case receives updates — there is no more push back.

Q: Is there anything you've learned that could help centers pick out their own scheduling tool?

HP: The first step is to do your research and really listen to what your patients are saying. We do a lot of surveys and read Yelp reviews. We review them often and talk amongst ourselves about what we as a center could be doing better. This type of research is very helpful and necessary before you sit down with a vendor.

Ask other centers what they are using and talk with the vendor before you commit. You want a vendor who really listens and understand the surgery center space. Casetabs took the time to understand our needs, they were very knowledgeable and incredibly easy to work with. Lastly, request a demo. We did and that's what sold us on Casetabs.

Q: What advice do you have for other centers that haven't yet adopted such a tool?

HP: While our old system was working, there was so much room for improvement. We knew our staff and patients deserved better. New ideas are scary at first, but with the right technology in place the payoffs can be huge.

Do your due diligence and ask around to learn about technology other centers are using. We did and couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

Patients don’t want to walk into a beautiful center and still be in the stone ages. You need to keep up with the times. Be open to change, look for ways to improve what you are doing, and embrace technology.

Q: As the lead driver behind implementing this system, do you have any regrets?

HP: Absolutely no regrets. I couldn’t be more pleased with the improvements we are experiencing. The payoff has been huge both for the center and patients. Feedback has been extremely positive. In fact, embracing technology played a key role in my promotion to Business Office Manager.

When I applied for the position of business office manager, one of the questions [I asked management] during the interview process was what they wanted to see from me. One of their answers was to take La Peer to the next level.

La Peer is already a great center. I wanted to make sure patients and surgeons noticed. I believe Casetabs has done this. Patients, and surgeons, are talking and the feedback is very positive.

Q: Is there anything else you want our readers to know?

HP: La Peer is a multispecialty surgery center. We have four different ORs and perform about 700 cases a month. To be able to implement new technology with this volume and not miss a beat says a lot. Both patients and staff have greatly benefited.

Recently, I was helping a patient who was nervous about her upcoming surgery. I explained to her that her parents could see where she was every step of the way. It comforted her which is exactly what we hoped for when deploying this system.

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