The biggest priorities for perioperative EHR optimization in 2018

The perioperative area is a huge revenue generator, which means it should be a priority for EHR optimization for every healthcare organization. Unfortunately, we often find that perioperative areas lag behind other departments in terms of EHR, leading to lost revenue, clinical inefficiency, and provider frustration.

Senior Consultant Kate Yan and Vice President of Optimization and Advisory Services Brian Beinborn recently returned from the AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo, where they met with perioperative providers and saw the many technological OR advancements the industry has to offer. We sat down with them to talk about the future of the perioperative area and what hospitals can do to make the EHR work for them

Peroperative-optimization1. Giving providers the data they need (without overwhelming them with too much).

Unsurprisingly, data is on everyone’s minds as 2018 gets underway: how to find it, understand it, process it, and use it efficiently. Now that healthcare organizations have been live on the EHR for years, they’re sitting on a treasure trove of data about the perioperative area that could be used to improve efficiency and drive better outcomes.

The issue is identifying the data that will be useful to providers and holding back the information that will simply clutter their schedule. If a provider needs an extra ten minutes to read through something, it ultimately slows down their workflow, so the information needs to be essential and useful every time. In 2018, one of the biggest challenges (and one we can help with) will be capturing as much discrete data as possible, and passing on only the information that providers need without overwhelming them.

2. Taking advantage of existing tools to drive efficiency.

Whether it’s patients, providers, sterile processing, or environmental services, the OR needs to run efficiently. At AORN 2018, many of the exhibitors were demonstrating products that would assist in driving efficiency.

The good news is that the EHR, which most perioperative areas are already live on, already contains many existing tools that are underutilized to improve efficiency. We sat down with several charge nurses who weren’t aware of Procedure Pass, which allows providers to look across patient encounters to pull in appropriate consents, orders, test results, or notes. A tool like Procedure Pass can have a significant impact on reducing first-case delays or cancellations.

3. Reevaluating OR schedules and preference cards based on historic data.

Many ORs have been live with Epic for years now, which means it’s time to take a good look at the historic data and be open to changes and process improvement. We find that many ORs could benefit from reevaluating their schedules to maximize block utilization, as well as updating and consolidating preference cards. Accurate preference cards can have a positive impact on scheduling, charge capture, provider efficiency, room turnover and materials management. They really are the backbone of most OR software systems. . If a preference card says four of a certain supply should be opened but only three are used on average, you’re wasting a supply each time the procedure is performed. That’s a hit on both your charge capture and your expenses.

The critical piece here is to update the system so that it can be trusted by users, and to understand that just because the OR has functioned for years in a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the best way.

4. Learning from other organizations.

It may sound basic, but one of our biggest recommendations this year is to take advantage of networking events to learn what other organizations are doing. Visit HIMSS, AORN, and the OR Manager Conference to understand how other ORs are leveraging the system to capture maximum revenue and ensure provider satisfaction. It’s a great opportunity to open your eyes to minor improvements that could significantly change the way you use the system.


We’re excited about the many opportunities for optimizing efficiency, satisfaction, and revenue capture in the OR this year. If you have questions about any of this or would like to chat about improvements to your perioperative area, don’t hesitate to reach out.


Topics: Performance Improvement

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