Failing to address IT properly will likely lead to significant complications for a new center; problems that can affect efficiency, quality and aesthetics, and may even force the center to delay its opening or far exceed its budget.
Over the past 12 months, PriorityOne Group has overseen the IT implementation of six new endoscopy centers, and we are in the midst of overseeing implementation for two others. While no two centers are the same, and every facility has its own IT needs and wish lists, there are a number of steps that we take with every partner facility to help ensure a facility opens on time, within budget and in compliance.
By gaining an understanding of these steps, and making sure the IT firm you partner with addresses them, you will put your facility in a better position to open with a highly efficient workflow already in place that will help pave the way to a great future.
Once prospective partners receive architectural plan approval from their state's department of health, we sit down with key personnel from the center, such as the project's director of operations or a vice president of operations for a management and development company involved in the project, to discuss the IT direction for the center. This includes addressing whether the center intends to invest in an electronic health record system and other significant IT decisions, such as whether billing will be performed in-house or remotely and if patients will be provided remote access to their health information via a web portal.
Note: When it comes to selecting software such as a practice management system and EHR, we serve as guides for our partners during the selection process, helping them understand the pros and cons of different options. During this process, we gladly provide our input but always remain agnostic in terms of what system is the "right system" for a center, which we feel is important to the success of the project.
With these significant IT decisions made, we then review the clinical workflow planned for the facility. We have the project director explain the patient workflow at the facility, taking us through the plan room by room, starting with the reception area, going into pre-op, the OR/procedure room, post-op and then discharge, as well as everything in between. This simulated walkthrough provides a high-level understanding of the clinical workflow and allows us to then identify the technology needs of each room.
For example, we will discuss the experience the center wants for its patients and family members in the reception area. Will there be a television in the area? Does the center want to provide secure WiFi access or tablets for use in the waiting room? As another example, at the nurse's station, does the center want to provide closed-circuit televisions for monitoring patients? Will the center benefit from having mobile workstations (also known as computer on wheels or COWs)?
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