Profitable arthroscopy is all about efficiency. You never want to downplay the warm personal touch that keeps patients happy, but you always want to keep things moving. To keep your arthroscopic procedures in the fast lane, here are 28 tips for you, your surgeons and your staff.
1. Stay on top of special needs. Realizing on the day of surgery that you don't have a specific supply you need is a killer. "I always look at the schedule to make sure we have any special items needed for upcoming cases," says Angie Reynolds, RN, administrator of an Albany, Ga., surgery center.
2. Conduct pre-operative equipment tests. Check your monitors in the morning to ensure you have proper connections and can take pictures. And to prevent delays, check cords and scopes before you hook them up.
3. Make sure patients arrive early. This is key if you're administering regional blocks before procedures. And if you're going to be flipping rooms (more on that below), you need to make sure there's time for surgeons to mark patients.
4. Tell patients the day before surgery when to arrive. Patients get annoyed when schedules change. "We used to tell patients in advance what time they should arrive," says Donna Quinn, RN, BSN, MBA, CPAN, CAPA, whose 2 New Hampshire facilities did nearly 4,000 orthopedic cases last year. "But we frequently had changes in our schedule because something came up. When we'd call patients and tell them their times had changed, they'd get upset." The solution: Get patients' medical histories and all other details well in advance, but tell them you'll call them the afternoon before surgery to tell them when to arrive. Patients are fine with the arrangement, there's less grumbling, and if patients have special requests, or are coming from very far away, the center is happy to work with them.