Archive for category online surgical scheduling

Case-Connect Brings Hope for the New Year

New Year’s resolutions serve a definite purpose – to give us something to feel badly about when we don’t live up to our expectations. How many workout videos, gym memberships, running shoes, and packages of rice cakes have been purchased at the beginning of the year only to be completely neglected come March 1st?

But with the New Year comes new opportunities – new ways to lift ourselves from past failures. If we didn’t have hope for a better outcome, we would sleep right through the Time’s Square celebration and begin January 1st like every other day of the year. But the New Year does bring hope, we did stay up late in anticipation of a new start, and we do have a chance to change.

Personal resolutions often center around improved health or stronger emphasis on relationships. Professional resolutions should be no different. There is a simple way to improve your practice’s health and make your business relationships a priority. Case-Connect, the revolutionary new platform for scheduling surgeries, might just bring you exactly what you need for 2010.

Here’s to Your Health

How do you measure your personal health? Often, our metrics include the number staring at us from the bathroom scale, whether or not our LDL count is lower since our last doctor visit, or simply the way we feel. We can measure the health of our practice in similar ways: how is our bottom line shaping up…are we reducing lost revenue caused by administrative challenges…how do we feel at work?

While Case-Connect may not solve every ill we face in the office, it is a great start for the New Year. Its streamlined way to run scheduling increases productivity, eliminates costly errors, and gets rid of the frustrating aspects of practice management that make us dread getting up in the morning. A healthy practice for 2010 starts with Case-Connect.

Should Old Acquaintance be Forgot

One of the best ways to make an impact in 2010 is to improve your relationships. At home, this means spending more time with others in meaningful ways — we don’t get credit for taking our kids to only the first inning of a baseball game or going to the movies and forgetting our wallet. The same goes for the office. We need to maximize every interaction with patients, hospitals, device reps, and support staff. We will get no bonus points for rescheduling surgeries because of incorrect implant deliveries, backed up OR facilities, or other scheduling mishaps. When we forget (or neglect) to take care of our partners, our practice suffers.

With Case-Connect, our professional relationships are managed in a clear, organized manner. When we see the anesthesiologist at the hospital, we don’t have to apologize for wasting her time. Device reps will put us at the top of their list because they know everything will be in place. Patients will leave with the best possible treatment and attention. Relationships thrive with Case-Connect.

The New Year is in front of us, and we can make it the best year ever. To learn more about how Case-Connect can make your practice more efficient, please visit our website.

Healthcare IT is changing and hope has never been brighter. Happy New Year, everyone.

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Press Release: Case-Connect Selected as Force.com Forty Innovation Showcase Finalist

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (November 16, 2009) – During the past year, software powerhouse Salesforce.com has been seeking the best innovators in the cloud computing industry. After viewing hundreds of demonstrations, the expert panel at Force.com has selected Case-Connect as one of the top 40 innovators of the year. The overall winner will be featured this week at Dreamforce 2009, the premier cloud computing event of the year.

Healthcare efficiency is a hot topic in the United States. The federal government has recently dedicated over $40 billion dollars to provide incentives for streamlined administrative procedures in the medical field. Case-Connect has entered the marketplace at a crucial time. “We are poised to be a major player in the healthcare IT revolution,” says Mark Roady, founder and CEO of Surgical Data Solutions. “Case-Connect brings new procedures and technologies to the table that will drastically improve the efficiency of surgical offices.”

Case-Connect is a healthcare IT application that helps surgical offices schedule cases using up-to-date technology. “Our goal is to provide surgeons with the tools that will help their practice,” says Roady. “We consistently hear about the scheduling challenges facing surgical offices, and Case-Connect is our way of eliminating most of those challenges.”

Case-Connect is gaining recognition as an important piece of administrative efficiency, right alongside the innovators in electronic medical records (EMR) and other healthcare IT measures. The Force.com finalist selection opens the doors to widespread recognition. Roady notes that “Case-Connect is the only application in the final showcase that is geared toward the healthcare industry. I think we are indeed showing ourselves to be a true pioneer in our niche.”

Salesforce judges will select the top overall application to be presented at Dreamforce 2009. This event is held November 17-20 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. For information about Dreamforce 2009 and the Force.com 40 Innovation Showcase, please visit the showcase website.

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Case-Connect Helps to Find Hidden Revenue


Okay, so the revenue we’re talking about isn’t necessarily hidden, it is just inaccessible. We know where it is – it’s in the surgeries we aren’t performing. For a surgical office, that’s not breaking news. When we analyze the problem of lost or delayed surgeries, however, we discover a few hidden gems that might just help us put a few more dollars into out top-line.

Let’s just say that you lose 1-2 surgeries a month to scheduling errors. That results in revenue losses of up to $20,000 for the month. That’s a quarter million dollars in lost revenue per year! If there was a way to avoid missing surgeries, we could add significant numbers (the ones followed by all the zeroes in a neat row) to our revenue line. But we have to determine why we are losing surgeries…

What causes us to lose a surgery? Let’s take a look at some of the culprits:

No devices or implants. You show up to the OR only to discover that the device you ordered is not waiting at the table. Upon calling the device rep, you learn that he “never got that schedule.” You have to reschedule the surgery and eat the time you wasted in preparation.

Incorrect devices or implants. You discover that the implants you received from your rep are definitely not the ones you need for this surgery. Again, when you call your rep you find out that the fax was “a little fuzzy” or the updates you requested were never received. Lost time, lost revenue.

Support staff no-shows. It’s hard to perform a surgery without the anesthesiologist or 1st assistant. When they don’t show up because of scheduling mishaps, you pack up your bag and say goodbye to today’s revenue.

Hospital delays. Upon arrival at the hospital, you often discover that the OR won’t be available on time. Pushing back the schedule an hour or two takes time out of your busy day and makes the whole process more expensive for everyone involved.

Case-Connect solves these problems. It takes less time than your current scheduling processes and eliminates all of the errors. Online confirmations, double-checks, and e-paper trails make sure your surgeries happen the first time, every time. Hospitals, vendors, and support staff will be better equipped as well – everyone wins with Case-Connect.

It’s time to stop making wasted trips to the OR because of poor scheduling. Case-Connect opens the doors to a fully staffed, “surgery ready” operating room. That hidden revenue will be waiting for you inside…it’ll be the one wearing green and not saying much.

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Case-Connect Selected as Semi-Finalist in Force.com Showcase

“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”
-Abraham Lincoln

Here at Case-Connect, we have done our best to provide a product worthy of recognition. We’ve received tremendous positive feedback from surgeons, schedulers, device reps, and hospital staff who have seen the benefits of this unique program. We haven’t really sought the recognition of those outside our niche…but they have found us, anyway.

I’m pleased to announce that Case-Connect has been selected as a semi-finalist in the Force.com Forty Innovation Showcase.

We have been selected from hundreds of cloud-based applications that use the force.com platform. Next week, I will have the opportunity to present our product to a panel of judges in San Francisco. If all goes well, we could earn the chance to present Case-Connect at Dreamforce 2009, the premier cloud-computing event of the year.

It’s nice to receive this type of recognition, even if we weren’t seeking it. As the nation continues to focus on healthcare and new ways of promoting efficiency, Case-Connect is emerging as a relevant voice in the conversation. Our platform has many of the answers to the healthcare IT questions, and it’s nice to know that others are beginning to take notice.

So here we go, buckle up for the ride. This is just the beginning…there don’t seem to be any limits as to where Case-Connect can go from here.

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Going Green with Cloud Computing


We’ve discussed the financial advantages to using a web-based scheduling system. We have also outlined the time-saving features of cloud computing. One benefit we haven’t yet explored is how an online surgical scheduling platform can be good for the environment.

Now, I’m not saying that a cloud computing solution will produce an endless supply of clean water or save the panda bears. It will, however, help your practice to be environmentally responsible without putting forth much effort. With a cloud computing system such as Case-Connect, your most important benefits are unbelievable cost-savings and significant time-management improvements…the “green” part is merely a free bonus.

Green Benefits

First, an online platform decreases the need for bulky, energy guzzling computer systems. Scheduling via a cloud computing system does not require multiple, specialized computers loaded with extensive software programs. A simple computer with an Internet connection is all that is needed. Office staff may be able to use energy saving laptops or streamlined desktops to do the same work that was once done through multiple networked computers, fax machines, and photocopiers.

Another green benefit that comes from cloud computing is paper conservation. Online processes eliminate the need for hard-copy schedules, stat sheets, and confirmation notices. Information sent through a web-based system also eliminates the need for a fax machine. When your practice is free of the fax machine and other print-based systems, you can rid yourself of reams of unneeded paper. File cabinet space opens up, more trees remain in the forest, and paper-cut incidences reduce dramatically.

Our Small Part

Like I said, cloud computing may not save the planet. What it will do is save you money, time, and a lot of headaches. It will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your small part to be environmentally responsible. In the end, isn’t that all we can ask of ourselves?*

*If that isn’t enough, take some of the money you save using a cloud computing system like Case-Connect and adopt a panda bear…

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Cloud Computing Brings Big Savings to Healthcare


Whether or not you agree with the new healthcare bill, one thing makes sense – saving money. The Democrats say that there are ways to save up to $500 billion by making Medicare more efficient…Republicans would be happy to save that kind of money from a public program. The argument seems to be what to do with the extra money once it is found. That’s a topic for someone else’s blog. We’re here to talk about saving you money.

What would you do with extra money in your bottom line? Are there ways for you to “trim the fat,” so to speak? There may not be $500 billion floating around in your overhead, but there is definitely some cash that would be better spent elsewhere.

The experts seem to agree that a big chunk of this wasted money can be saved through streamlined processes and technology improvements. The same goes for your practice – efficiency is always good economics. By implementing a few modern procedures in lieu of outdated stand-bys, everyone’s wallet seems to benefit. Savings attained by surgeons, hospitals, and vendors eventually work their way down to patients.

Cloud computing is the modern procedure that will make the most difference; both short-term and for the future. Let’s take a look at the cost and efficiency savings that come through cloud computing (savings that have been enjoyed by other industries for some time now).

Cash-flow
Freeing up cash-flow is paramount to freeing yourself. If you could distance yourself from one more nagging liability on your balance sheet, your world would be a better place. Cloud computing does just that. Since cloud computing applications use web-based platforms, you avoid costly infrastructure and IT costs. Most credible software as a service (SaaS) applications are pay-as-you-go, thus eliminating the need for big, static liabilities.

Instant Implementation
Unlike many software and IT solutions that require weeks or months of initial training, cloud computing options typically hit the ground running. Intuitive design and ease of operation make cloud computing options a great way to save on training costs. Time saved in the implementation process also means a quicker road to efficiency and money-saving results.

Increased Productivity
Working with a cloud computing system will bring your office increased productivity. Let’s take scheduling as an example: Surgical schedulers have been plagued by outdated methods since…well, since the fax machine was invented. A cloud computing service, such as Case-Connect, opens the doors to much-improved productivity. Surgical offices can now schedule many more cases in a shorter period of time. The efficiency of Case-Connect also affects the surgeon’s productivity by eliminating scheduling errors and wasted trips to the OR. Surgical offices are free to book more cases and grow their practice because of their newfound productivity.

Cloud computing may have taken a while to enter the healthcare sector, but it is a welcomed addition. While the politicians discuss healthcare reform in Washington, we can find our own hidden treasures in our own procedures. Cloud computing opens the doors to significant savings – and while it may not bring $500 billion in lost revenue, it will eliminate our version of “wasteful” spending.

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Cloud Computing Making Splash in all Sectors of Healthcare

Cloud computing is nothing new…but it is starting to make headway in the healthcare industry. Cloud computing, or the system of operating using an Internet based system, is widely used in business. Don’t believe me? Do a Google search for Google and see what pops up. Online solutions are running rampant. Until recently, however, healthcare IT hadn’t been able to harness the power of the cloud.

EMR

The old way...There has been a lot of talk recently about making healthcare services more efficient. One of the major tenets of improved healthcare efficiency is converting paper-based files to electronic medical records (EMR). The issue has not been resolved in the past due to security issues and the fact that medical offices and hospitals each have their own internal software setups – few of which are compatible with each other. Cloud computing has allowed for an adequate solution.

Keeping medical records on a centralized, online server is the most secure way to handle sensitive information. It is also the best way to ensure that information is easily shared between hospitals and physicians – competing internal software platforms are not an issue in cloud computing models. While there is still debate about how to bring about this change, most agree that cloud-computing is a viable way to make EMR a reality.

Research

Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin recently completed a comprehensive study of proteins that resulted in valuable data that could be used across the world. This type of research has been difficult in the past due to outrageous expenses associated with buying and maintaining software programs required to analyze data. With cloud computing, things have changed.

The Medical College of Wisconsin has employed a cloud computing application that allows other research and medical facilities to access a free set of data analysis tools. These medical facilities no longer require the expensive software to study crucial data – they merely need a viable Internet connection!

Surgical Scheduling

In the past, surgical schedulers were required to fax information about an upcoming surgery to hospitals, support staff, device reps, and even patients. Never mind the computer sitting on their desk; everyone demanded paper copies via the fax machine. Just like with the EMR upgrade, cloud computing has provided surgical schedulers a better way.

Case-Connect Online Surgical SchedulingCase-Connect, a cloud computing based system of surgical scheduling, streamlines the entire process. All applicable parties to the surgery are notified via online communication and have the opportunity to view pertinent data online. No more lost papers or endless follow-up calls. Surgical offices will reap the benefits of improved surgical scheduling and lower costs.

The cloud computing revolution has taken a bit longer to reach our field, but we should embrace its arrival. It’s about time – we deserve the help!

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Hungry Hungry HIPAA Meets Online Surgical Scheduling

Government regulation can be tricky, especially in an industry that doesn’t…how do I say this nicely…embrace change very well. As surgical schedulers, you understand the need for efficiency. Hopefully you have put the fax machine out in the dumpster along with the neighbor’s old mattress. But in order for true efficiency to reign, everyone needs to embrace the future.

For whatever reason, hospitals have been wary of electronic innovation in the administration sector. The same place that is home to a particle accelerator is also home to a 1980’s style fax machine used for scheduling. They are stuck in the rut of paper-based scheduling and need help to get out.

But who can help the hospitals out of the dark ages? New online surgical scheduling platforms, like Case-Connect, are paving the way to new efficient procedures. Surgical schedulers everywhere have embraced the idea of a “software as a service” (SaaS) model and have seen its benefits. Hospitals, on the other hand, apparently need more encouragement.

Maybe the government can prove useful in this debate. As a part of the comprehensive HIPAA act, regulators outlined certain privacy requirements in Title II - the Administration Simplification provisions. These standards are meant to “improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the nation’s health care system by encouraging the widespread use of electronic data interchange in the U.S. health care system.”

In other words, the HIPAA regulations are encouraging surgical offices and hospitals to quickly and efficiently communicate information through computers and to keep records, patient information, and other critical data secure by using SSL encrypted servers, for example. Sounds like a cloud-computing/ SaaS model is just what the doctor…er…government…er…common sense ordered.

So why is the government concerned about changing the old way of transmitting information? Let’s take a look at some of the guidelines that must be used to properly send a fax while following HIPAA guidelines, according to privacyrights.org:

1. Is the fax machine in a supervised area, off limits to unauthorized persons? Is use restricted to authorized personnel only?
2. Is the fax machine used exclusively for sending non-confidential materials?
3. When sending documents, do all users complete a cover sheet which indicates the sender’s and receiver’s names, addresses, and telephone numbers?
4. When confidential materials are sent, is notice of their confidential nature indicated on the cover sheet?
5. Do users always check the receiver’s telephone number before transmitting documents? Do users compare the number displayed with number being called to check for errors? Do users check the transmission report after the fax has been sent?
6. When transmitting confidential materials, is the recipient notified in advance that the document is being sent? Does the sender check with the receiver to make sure the document has been received?

Wow, I’m tired just reading through the checklist. Multiply that times a hundred and you have just outlined a surgical scheduler’s morning routine. Thank goodness HIPAA recognizes the ineptitude (for both efficiency and privacy) of the fax machine. There must be a better way, and even the government has recognized that.

An online platform for surgical scheduling will increase communication, ensure privacy, and take away the need for the cumbersome steps listed above. Maybe HIPAA regulations will spur hospitals to accept the future…before it passes us by.

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Online Surgical Scheduling is the Gateway to Cloud Computing

If you have been following this blog for a few weeks, you know that I have been harsh on surgical offices for not embracing change and technology as quickly as they should. To be fair, there is a sector of the healthcare industry that is lagging even further behind, and you probably deal with them every day: hospitals.

Henry Ford changed the world with his innovation. According to Wikipedia (and I have no reason to doubt them), “the assembly line developed by Ford Motor Company between 1908 and 1915 made assembly lines famous. However, the various preconditions for the development at Ford stretched far back into the 19th century.”

Henry Ford didn’t implement the assembly line in one day…it took years to perfect and implement into the industry. The same goes for the digital revolution – it has been an ongoing process for several decades. Thankfully, now is the time to reap the fruits of so much hard work.

For some reason, hospital administrators have not yet seen the value — or rather the necessity — of switching to a digital scheduling system. Hospitals aren’t afraid of technology…if they were, we wouldn’t have CT, EKG, MRI, PACS, or any number of other high-tech acronyms.

For some reason, however, their comfort zone in scheduling is found in fax machines, hard copies, Post-it notes, and file cabinets. They want something tangible in their hands at all times. Fax machines are their scheduling security blanket, in a manner of speaking. It’s not really their fault – that’s how they were raised, and they have yet to be weaned. They’ve never really been held accountable to provide efficient scheduling procedures to partner surgeons…yet.

Until now, the surgical world has gone along for the ride. But times are changing, and we can’t afford to wait for the hospital giants to embrace inevitable (and welcomed) technology. Online surgical scheduling via a cloud computing platform is the perfect way to let hospitals dip their toes in the water, so to speak.

Nicholas Carr outlines the big switch to cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) products in his book: Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google. Carr asserts that conversion to cloud computing won’t come as a big bang, but as a slow swapping out of services over time. By starting with something relatively small (but vitally important) like surgical scheduling, hospitals can experience the efficiency and cost-saving benefits of a SaaS platform.

Bigger changes are certainly coming. Electronic medical record (EMR) services are a hot topic of the healthcare reform debate. At the recent meeting of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Eric Schmidt of Google had a voice of warning for the federal government. He stated that by not utilizing a cloud computing model, “hospitals and doctors would continue using an outdated system of databases in what is becoming an increasingly Web-focused world.” The cloud computing model is primed to lead the medical field into a new dawn of productivity and cost savings.

The online-cloud-SaaS revolution is knocking at the door. Just as the world eventually realized the value of assembly lines, healthcare is beginning to realize the importance of efficiency, privacy, and streamlined processes. Maybe hospitals are not yet ready for the complete assembly line…but it’s time they started getting used to a conveyer belt.

Online surgical scheduling (spelled: Case-Connect) is the perfect way for hospitals to begin their foray into the digital world. They’ll never look back.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Office Inefficiency (and poor surgical scheduling)

Being inefficient in today’s digital world takes work…lots of hard work. This beginner’s guide will explain the basics of running a surgical office straight into the red…and it will show you what things to avoid on your quest for imperfection.

First of all, congratulations for wanting to remain in the “iron age” of business practices. You’re not alone — it’s happening in other arenas, too. Look at how popular the sword is remaining as the movie weapon of choice (see Troy, Lord of the Rings, and Gladiator). And who wants to ride through Central Park on one of those Japanese “Segway” contraptions? The horse-drawn carriage will always be the best way to experience New York in the fall.

Your goal to keep your business away from the pesky pains of progress is noble — here’s how to keep the gas-lamp burning dimly:

Equipment

You’ll need some basic pieces of equipment to ensure that your practice doesn’t stray too far into the future.
A typewriter. When a hand-written note won’t do, simply type out a masterpiece on the old typewriter. These office mainstays blow the “PC” out of the water in terms of inefficiency; and you don’t need to worry about annoying “save as” prompts, hibernating monitors to turn on, or distracting screensavers from your last vacation.
A fax machine. This wonderful piece of office equipment should have a permanent place right next to your typewriter. No matter what your colleagues say, sending and receiving correspondence through a phone-line-converted-to-paper-printout system is the best way to do business (just ask your local hospital or Realtor). Standing around the fax machine waiting for a confirmation is great for whole-body circulation, too.
A Rotary Phone. No clear need for one of these, but it sure is fun to spin the wheel.
A Calligraphy Set. Sometimes you need to send out a “fancy” letter or advertisement. With a good starter calligraphy set (available at Toys ‘R Us), you can create wonderful pieces of art.
• Other important tools include 5 ¼ inch floppy disks, a slide rule for complex equations that pop up, and an 8-Track player.

Best Practices

To run your office inefficiently, you’ll need to implement some basic, time-wasting procedures.
Phone/Fax scheduling. Even if you have access to email, make sure you fax or call in all orders and schedules. Not only will you spend more time on the phone, you will get to quietly chuckle at irate customers and suppliers who don’t have fax machines anymore.
Handwritten Lists and Schedules. If someone schedules an appointment with you, write it on a Post-it note or a napkin and stick it on your wall. Entering information into an inter-connected, online database can only lead to confusion and/or Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome.
Guesswork. If you’re not sure if the correct device will arrive at your surgeon’s next procedure, don’t sweat it. There’s a chance it will arrive, and if not, there’s always another day. It’s not worth stressing over.

Hopefully, these tips will help you stay out of the future (and the present, for that matter). One final word of caution: Stay away from online scheduling platforms and digital solutions for your office. Scheduling programs like Case-Connect are a sure-fire way to send your office right to the cutting edge. Who wants that? You are so comfortable where you are.

If you start giving in to solutions like Case-Connect, you’ll be sorry. The next thing you know you’ll be getting home from work on time, enjoying real lunch breaks, dramatically increasing your bottom line, and probably walking around with sunglasses and a shiny silver jumpsuit. Stay away from the future; it is nothing but bad news.

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