As more and more patients seek out ambulatory surgery centers over hospital settings for outpatient procedures, ASCs are faced with the constant challenge of scheduling more and more appointments. And unfortunately, with higher traffic numbers, scheduling aspects can (and do) fall through the cracks. Investing in a quality ambulatory surgery center software program can help ASCs a great deal on this front. But before we get into fixing problems, it’s important to recognize how mistakes are made in the first place. Below are some of the most common issues ASCs face that lead to mistakes in scheduling.
Mishandled Patient Information
Many ASCs are behind the times when it comes to booking patient operations. Even today, too many appointments are being scheduled by phone or fax rather than a more reliable system. When OR booking requests are made by phone or fax, mistakes happen. Both processes are slow and susceptible to error. By investing resources in more advanced scheduling software and the appropriate training for your staff, you significantly minimize this risk. Fewer errors means less wasted time, improved communication, more satisfied customers, and the flexibility to generate more revenue for your ASC.
Phone Call Times
Personal phone calls to patients are an invaluable asset to your ASC. But they also eat up a lot of your staff’s time and energy; time and energy that can be better spent elsewhere. Pre-admin ahead of surgery can be a lifesaver in this respect. Now we’re not saying to end your phone practices altogether. By outlining specifics and advancing your patients by way of email and text, phone calls can thus be much more concise and less comprehensive. By eliminating the need to relay every detail of an upcoming appointment by phone--and trust that the message is accurately received--you allow your follow up calls to be service-oriented and not logistics-oriented. Shaving valuable time off of each pre-op call will also save your ASC a great deal in the long run.
Lack of Interoffice Communication
When scheduling goes awry within your ASC, how do you make sure your staff gets the information they need to adjust? An email? Word of mouth? Perhaps you’re relying on a system of Post-Its and whiteboards to spread the word? If yes, you’re not alone. Nowadays, too many ASC scheduling issues could be avoided by simply improving the state of communication throughout the facility. Throughout the events of the day--especially the hectic ones--it’s important that physicians, nurses, and other ASC key players know the whereabouts and how to reach one another at all times. As much as you and your staff may try to sidestep major scheduling conflicts or last minute interruptions, it’s unfortunately just not that simple. As problems and opportunities arise, it’s imperative that you can rely on an interoffice communication system that can keep you and your ASC staff on the right path.
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