Surgical Preference Cards

REDEFINED

By: Ashwin Kulkarni

Published: September 10, 2019

Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) have been operating outpatient surgical procedures at lower costs without sacrificing quality for decades, according to Forbes. This is largely due to their efficient operating model including data-driven decisions and streamlined supply chains. However, it remains clear that there are areas for improvement in regards to procedural costs within ASCs. Even though tracking and monitoring supply costs has not been commonplace for ASCs, a clear culprit for supply waste has emerged: physician preference cards.

Having thorough and accurate preference cards improves staff and physician satisfaction while simultaneously reducing operating costs. Nevertheless, many ASCs retain inaccurate paper-based preference cards. These outdated preference cards not only lead to unhappy clinicians; they also lead to wrong or insufficient supplies being available and thus procedure delays or wasted supplies. Outdated cards can also mislead an ASC’s materials manager, thus leading him or her to order items that do not reflect the true supply needs required for the procedure.

There are multiple improvements that ASCs can enact in order to decrease supply costs. The first step would be digitizing all aspects of the existing preference card information or at least consolidating supply information onto a spread sheet. The second step would be improving the preference cards themselves by incorporating improved digital preference cards. Such a system, including the one provided by the OR Link software, brings updated and enhanced surgical blueprints to operating rooms that are easily shareable across surgical teams and allow for customizable graphical views of the various details, nuances and preferences for a surgeon for any given case. OR Link provides this enhancement by integrating with previously implemented EHRs as a standalone solution. This allows for improved communication and efficiency within surgical teams.

ASC’s are known for their efficient processes leading to quality care and lower operating room costs. These surgery centers can further improve their efficiency by basic digitization as well as adopting an accurate and flexible cloud-based digital preference card system. These two steps would go a long way towards reducing surgical supply costs within ASCs.