Elective surgical practices have suffered significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients seeking elective surgical treatment had their procedures postponed or canceled as hospital systems were striving to preserve bed capacity in anticipation of or in response to a spike in COVID-19 related admissions.
Private practices and hospital systems alike lost incredible amounts of revenue and are looking for ways to offset the serious financial impact of the pandemic. While it may be easy to express frustration toward elected officials and large insurance conglomerates, Blue & Co. prefers to take the solution-finding approach to circumnavigate these recent challenges with elective surgical scheduling.
There is an opportunity to strategize the most optimal utilization of both an Operating Room’s time and a surgeon’s time in terms of revenue per working day, week, and month. Hospital systems and surgical practices will need to overcome the hurdles that prevent an Operating Room from working at maximum or near maximum capacity each working day.
There are other factors prior to the patient’s arrival at the hospital that play into a surgeon’s or hospital system’s ability to schedule surgery in an efficient manner that quite often get overlooked. As part of its Ambulatory Service Line Optimization service offering, Blue & Co., LLC offers detailed solutions to ensure that every step leading up to the morning of a patient’s procedure is completed with fewer hang-ups that would otherwise hinder the patient’s care pathway.
Step 1: Prior Authorization Process
The first part of Blue & Co.’s solution for efficient surgical scheduling is dialing in the Prior Authorization process. Prior Authorization can be a daunting task for surgical practices, but it does not have to be so onerous.
Following Blue & Co.’s four-step process while keeping the patient informed throughout the course of pre-operative period will lead to a higher success rate of Prior Authorization approvals, which not only gets each patient the care they need swiftly, but also shortens the waiting list by keeping several patients teed up and ready to proceed as soon as possible anytime there are last-minute cancelations.
Patients may have the choice of multiple highly talented surgeons, and if skillset, quality, demeanor, etc. are all relatively equal, patients may tend to seek out the physician who can treat them the soonest. Paradoxically the best surgeons and practices may not always be the ones with the longest waiting lists.
Step 2: Optimize Surgical Scheduling
The second part of Blue & Co.’s solution is to optimize the daily surgical scheduling within the Operating Room (or Catheterization Laboratory) to make the most efficient use of the facility’s daytime operating hours. There are a multitude of variables that can quickly create delays and lead to patient dissatisfaction.
It is important to be several steps ahead of these variables with the proper preparation for each case. This requires the practice and the facility to be realistic about their logistical or staffing limitations and find solutions to work within them or break through them.
It also requires the surgeon(s) to be very methodical in how they schedule simple, complex, quick, time-consuming, high-paying, and low-paying cases. Blue ensures that first and foremost, patients with “Loss of Life or Limb” and intractable pain are treated with the utmost priority – Blue strives to maintain the highest compassion and quality while optimizing the financial growth opportunities for each of our clients.
Once the initial foundation has been built for both the Prior Authorization and Surgical Scheduling processes, the more time-consuming setup tasks only need to be revisited on an annual or as-needed basis as technology evolves and surgical approaches or CPT coding guidelines change. The remaining steps are trainable and repeatable, and they become second nature for our client’s surgical scheduling teams.
Step 3: Contact Us
If you or any of your colleagues may benefit from Blue & Co.’s surgical scheduling solutions, or any of Blue’s Ambulatory Service Line Optimization services, please contact either your local Blue & Co. Advisor or Jake Lewis and Tony Javorka to schedule a meeting and learn more.
Jake Lewis, Manager
Tony Javorka, Director