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What’s Next? How to Plan for Continuous Preference Card Maintenance

Posted by Anne Cole on May 15, 2018 1:00:00 PM
Anne Cole

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Maintenance of preference cards (PCs) is essential to smooth operational processes in the operating room. If you caught our previous blog Best Practices for Validating and Updating Preference Cards, you know how to update and organize your preference cards.  Now you have become aware that there needs to be a process to keep them under control.  A lot of work went into cleaning them up, now let’s develop a plan to keep them updated and organized.

It’s All About Teamwork!

Best practice shows that when PCs are accurate the OR team performs efficiently, contributes positively to your department’s financial success and improves team satisfaction. Needless frustration is reduced, creating a positive workplace environment for surgical cases.

As with the updating process, the first step is to create a team that will be assigned to review and update cards on a regular basis. Ask staff to volunteer to be on the team, those who were involved in the initial process have a vested interest in making sure they stay that way so will likely be your first volunteers. However, you don’t want to overburden your staff so it may be best to ensure this group has a rotating commitment to the project.  Try a one-year assignment to the team, then rotate other staff in to avoid burnout.

What Works for You?

The maintenance process for PCs begins with determining your methodology. Depending on the size of your facility, discuss what is best for your site. Should cards be organized to be reviewed by specialty areas, surgeon volume, or procedure frequency? Evaluate the number of cards in your system and your resources. Larger facilities may find it easier to have their service-line leads organize the cards and distribute to staff for review. Other sites may group specialty services and assign PCs to staff in that manner. Once your method is agreed upon by your PC team, organize the individual duties. 

  • Who will organize the cards to be reviewed?
  • How will the cards be divided and distributed to the key stakeholders to review?
  • Set the time frame for review
  • Determine your method and timeframe for data input in to your EMR
  • Evaluate best methods to communicate the changes to the OR staff
  • Let your physicians know their supplies and equipment have been updated

Some Important Things to Keep in Mind:

Be sure to keep only the cards that you use and need. Spending a short amount of time updating PCs daily or monthly pays off in spades! It may also help to work with your financial liaison to review the charging process to ensure consistency throughout. Ask your business manager or coding specialist to review whether they are capturing all of the supplies. Perhaps there are missing items creating charging and documentation issues that can be addressed during this maintenance phase.

Maintaining PCs Keeps Everyone Ahead of the Game!

Maintaining the PCs is a crucial part of keeping your OR running efficiently. Not only does this directly affect you and your job satisfaction, it makes everyone else’s day better too! Physician satisfaction will remain high because the OR team is prepared and cases are run smoothly. An added bonus to this process is a happy IT support team. By maintaining the PCs, the electronic medical record updates and conversion activities are less complicated and faster making their job easier. With everyone’s job becoming less of a hassle, staff morale will increase right along with your bottom line!

Be sure to keep only the cards that you use and need. Spending a short amount of time updating PCs daily or monthly pays off in spades!  It may also help to work with your financial liaison to review the charging process to ensure consistency throughout. Ask your business manager or coding specialist to review whether they are capturing all of the supplies. Perhaps there are missing items creating charging and documentation issues that can be addressed during this maintenance phase.

See the Big Picture!

It’s important to remember the OR contributes directly to the success of the hospital. Therefore, accurate charging of supplies and implants from the Preference Cards and reducing opened and unused supplies have a direct impact on financials. Most importantly, having accurate and efficiently maintained Preference Cards creates a safe environment for your patients, contributes to excellent patient outcomes and fosters a positive atmosphere in our operating rooms.

We’d love to know how you are doing in your process. Be sure to let us know in the comments how your process is moving along!

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