Information Technology for Surgery Centers: Achieving Positive Outcomes and Avoiding Complications

Marion Jenkins, PhD, founder and CEO of QSE Technologies, and Todd Logan, Vice President of Sales - Western Region, SourceMedical Solutions, gave a presentation titled "Information Technology for Surgery Centers — Achieving Positive Outcomes and Avoiding Complications" at the 9th Annual Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference in Chicago on June 11, 2011.  According to the presentation, orthopedic ASCs should have an IT plan that includes any sort of electronic health record or clinical documentation information. The plan can also integrate strategies on the macro-level, such as incorporating ACOs or meaningful use into the system, even those issues are still a few years down the road for ASCs, said Mr. Logan.

A good IT plan should include the following:
•    The percentage of revenue an ASC will invest in technology — it should be part of the line items on your budget for the one, three and five year plans
•    Alignment with the ASC's strategic goals, whether they are physician satisfaction, regulatory compliance, patient safety and satisfaction or maximizing profitability

ASCs can use new technology to help with case costing report generation. There are programs available that can show projected revenue, based on allocated fixed costs and supplies used for the case. These case reports can be used during vendor and payor negotiations, and they help surgeons see their per-case contribution to the ASC.

Despite the benefits provided by HIT, ASCs must be careful not to allow a data breach or violate any compliance regulations. Facilities can't be 100 percent secure, but there are steps they can take to reduce risk, including:
•    Having a HIPAA security officer
•    Purchasing business class IT systems
•    Creating strong user names and passwords (not "nurse" or "front desk")
•    Updating software and anti-virus programs

Related Articles on Health Information Technology:
Patients Want to Communicate With Their Providers Online: An Opportunity for Surgery Centers

Did You Get Your Free iPad Yet: Social Networking Still Represents Risks for Surgery Centers
Critical Surgery Center Advice: Work to Prevent User-Enabled HIPAA Data Breaches

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