Archive February 2014 XV, No. 2

Overcome the Obstacles In Online Pre-Admissions

Early adopters share what they've learned.

Jim Burger

Jim Burger, Senior Editor


pre-admission phone calls TIME SAVER A successful program can cut pre-admission phone calls from 30 or 35 minutes to 10 or 15.

Online pre-admission is likely the wave of the future, and many early adopters are riding high, thrilled with the improvements they're seeing and the time they're saving. Still, it hasn't been smooth sailing for everyone. Many say they've had to swerve through a variety of obstacles, and some say they're still struggling. A few even wonder if the switch was worth it.

The good news is that what they've learned can help you make sure you end up on top of the wave, not flailing beneath it — if and when you're ready to make the transition.

"Our patients love the ability to do it from home," says Susan Alexander, MSN, nurse manager at the Reading Hospital SurgiCenter at Spring Ridge in Wyomissing, Pa. "Many do not have the ability to talk to us when they are at work, and they work the same hours that we do. This gives them the ability to enter their history and read educational materials from the comfort of their own home with no phone tag."

That's the goal, of course. Patients who love the convenience. More thorough, more legible information. And a turnkey system you can just plug it in and make your efficiency soar. If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, there can be another side to the coin.

The help you need
As you'd expect, on the satisfaction continuum, most of the people we heard from in a recent Outpatient Surgery Magazine survey about online pre-admissions fall somewhere between unbridled enthusiasm and utter dismay. Only about 29% said they were extremely satisfied with their online systems, 60% said they were satisfied, but not thrilled, and 10% said they were dissatisfied.

Those numbers seem less surprising when you consider that 45% said fewer than half of their patients were actually using the system, and another 26% pegged the number of users at somewhere between 50% and 70%. In other words, only 29% were hitting the 70%-or-better sweet spot they'd no doubt envisioned.

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