How Effective is Your Surgical Procedure File

Your surgical procedure file is the foundation for numerous operational efficiencies within Perioperative Services. An accurate procedure file is crucial for realizing a predictable OR schedule. There are enough challenges in coordinating surgery without magnifying the difficulty with an incomplete or inconsistent procedure file master. Considerations for building or restructuring your catalog of procedures should include the following:

Ease of Case Posting

The language and completeness of the procedure file will directly affect the ease and ability of a surgeon’s office to accurately communicate the specific procedure to be performed. There is no way to meet the unique needs of every office, but an organized, complete, and consistent naming convention will provide sound structure to accurately post surgical procedures.

Preference Card Build

Historically, surgeon preference cards are built on unique combinations of individual surgeons and procedures – making the specificity of procedures a key component for establishing accurate preference cards. Some software applications provide functionality to group procedures that require comparable resources (supplies instruments, equipment). This enables organizations to be very precise when defining a procedure file without increasing the number of preference cards.

Procedure Costing and / or Charge Capture

Variations in procedures or surgical approach often correlates to more or less resources (personnel, supplies, room time) being required for the surgery. The level of detail within the procedure file should reflect the desired degree of cost and / or revenue analysis.

Historical Case Duration Averages

An optimal scheduling process should enable the OR scheduling office to utilize historical case durations to validate the times requested by the surgeon. When a specific procedure varies in surgery length due to alternative approaches, strong consideration should be given to the creation of multiple procedures. The amount of variance (minutes) considered acceptable will depend on individual procedure volume as well as the ability to ensure accuracy in posting among the procedure options.

Integration, Reporting, & Research

As software applications evolve and more integration opportunities are made possible – talking apples to apples becomes even more important. This may not require using a procedure file that is identical to the corresponding system and or reporting method, but it will be necessary to insert a crosswalk to map your perioperative procedures to the procedures of your target application or data. Common interfaces that are linked to the surgical procedure file include:

  • Physician Privileges / Credentials
  • Centralized Scheduling
  • Remote / Web-based Scheduling Applications
  • Data Repository / Benchmarking

Industry Standards

Often hospitals are faced with the decision on what to utilize as the basis for the perioperative procedure file. There are far too many pros / cons to easily define in a few sentences and we have often facilitated this decision point with individual hospitals to provide them with all of the perspectives that should be considered.

Each facility will have some unique considerations - give us a call if we can provide some guidance or hands on consulting assistance.