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Archive October 2019 XX, No. 10

Bringing the Pre-op Process Up to Speed

Software solutions, skin prepping and smart sustenance lead to smoother, safer surgeries.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook, Editor-in-Chief


Lafayette General Surgical Hospital
DRIVE TIME Sending patients directions to your facility that they access on their phones gives them one less thing to worry about on the morning of surgery.

The staff members who milled around the front desk of The Reading Hospital SurgiCenter at Spring Ridge were used to hearing one side of a familiar conversation.

"No, ma'am. There isn't a fountain outside of our facility. You're at the wrong place."

"Yes, ma'am, you're not far away. We're just down the road. Don't worry, we won't start your procedure without you."

The SurgiCenter is 1 of 9 surgical facilities within an 11-mile radius in Wyomissing, Pa., and sits only a couple miles from the unaffiliated Reading Surgery Center. Confusing, right? There are far fewer lost patients who need help finding their way now that the SurgiCenter (not the Surgery Center) added pre-admission software that sends patients text messages linking their cellphones to Google Maps, which directs them to the right facility. Not worrying about giving and getting directions on the morning of surgery is a plus for patients and staff alike.

Many patients nowadays appreciate receiving information about their surgeries on their phones. It makes sense then that interest in pre-admission software in steadily increasing — about 45% of Reading Hospital SurgiCenter's patients had logged into the portal 3 years ago; now, 65% to 75% of patients interact with the center online — and why you should also consider capitalizing on the technology's many benefits.

  • Patient portals. Reading Hospital SurgiCenter's software platform lets patients complete health histories online, at their convenience.

"The phone tag we often played with patients was a huge dissatisfier for them," says Susan Alexander, MSN, RN, CPAN, CSSM, Reading Hospital SurgiCenter's director of nursing. "We considered hiring a nurse to handle calls in the evenings or on weekends, but weren't interested in working beyond their normal hours."

Ms. Alexander says histories submitted online provide comprehensive views of patients' overall health, so staff can determine if they need specific medical clearance before undergoing surgery.

Nurses still call patients who don't use the online portal, but the number of calls that are made has decreased significantly, according to Ms. Alexander.

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