7 Best Surgery Scheduling Practices

While surgery cases are primarily handled by a scheduler, it really involves everyone at your ambulatory surgery center – from the practice administrator to surgeons, to the patients you serve. However, numerous barriers can prevent your ASC or your hospital from accurately and efficiently scheduling surgical cases. Many ASCs and hospitals are stuck in the past using paper-based processes, which lead to difficulties managing complex surgeon schedules and, ultimately, losing out on potential patients.

While surgery scheduling software can solve many of your ASC’s or hospital's case scheduling challenges – it won’t solve all of them without some effort from your team. It takes a dedicated staff following best practices and using the best scheduling tools available to ensure that the surgery scheduling process goes smoothly. Utilizing an electronic scheduler, here are seven best surgery scheduling practices that your ASC or hospital should follow.

1. Replace Paper-Based Scheduling

How long does it take to schedule a surgery? While the answer varies, for many schedulers, it can take about an hour to schedule just one surgery – which is a valuable portion of the workday. Often, schedulers are slowed down by old paper-based scheduling. This approach is not only time consuming for the scheduler, but also prevents practice administrators and surgeons from easily accessing the information they need to manage and prepare for the whole surgery process. Moreover, schedulers cannot collaborate or share their work when scheduling information is siloed in paper posting forms.

Eliminating paper-based scheduling can reduce the amount of time surgeons spend on filling out papers – freeing them to spend more time with patients and, ultimately, relieving them from being overworked and stressed.

By switching from paper to an electronic scheduler, the time that schedulers spend can be reduced to only a few minutes, freeing up time to work on more cases, which will keep your ASC or hospital working as efficiently as possible.

2. Don’t Rely on Only One Scheduler

Life happens. A scheduler may leave for a new job, or something may come up that keeps them out of the office for a day or two – but that shouldn’t mean that your surgery center falls behind on cases. Training new schedulers may mean that they’re not up to speed for several days or weeks. However, with surgery scheduling software that is aware of individual surgeon case preferences, you can train anyone on your staff to use the system, eliminating the risk for lost time, money, or mistakes being made in the process, and the friction of familiarizing a scheduler on a surgeon’s particular preferences for surgery.

3. Maintain Open Communication with Everyone on Staff

Many surgery centers struggle with miscommunications between surgeons and schedulers. To prevent siloed processes, surgeons must be able to communicate their schedules and needs efficiently – without overwhelming schedulers.

With as many as 150 data points required for one patient’s surgery, mapping out all of the data successfully is an arduous task for even an experienced scheduler and surgeon. A surgeon must communicate complex surgical plans, timelines, and necessary resources with a scheduler. At the same time, a scheduler is juggling information such as supplies, insurance company communications, anesthesiologists, and more. It can be difficult to keep track of and manage all of this data and communications for just one surgery, let alone dozens of others. Just consider that a surgery scheduler must not only consider space constraints and staffing requirements but also track any potential conflicts and equipment needs, while ensuring that the timeline is met.

All of these processes then set the stage for an operating procedure to run smoothly. The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a study from the BMJ in 2019, stating, “An operating room (OR) can be considered a complex adaptive system (CAS), which requires that professionals act and communicate, adapt, learn, and self-organize over time. It is an interconnected and dynamic environment with an inherent potential for distractions and interruptions.” Successful surgery coordination and planning is the foundation that allows medical professionals to thrive in this complex environment.

With a proper system in place, the details aren’t lost in the process. By using an electronic surgery scheduling system, surgeons and schedulers can more easily communicate about schedules, patient data, billing, and, most importantly, ensure that the OR environment puts patient safety first.

4. Reduce Surgery Cancellations

Surgery cancellations can happen at any time for countless reasons, especially considering cancellations this past year due to COVID-19. While surgery centers should prepare if COVID-19 should cause cancellations again, it’s also vital to have an action plan when cancellations occur for other reasons too.

Cancellations can happen due to a scheduling error – you may not have the staff required for the procedure at the right time. Or perhaps you don’t have the correct supplies ready on the day of surgery because of an oversight with ordering.

Regardless of the reason, surgery scheduling software can help you to stay organized by enabling you to review surgery schedules in advance, supplies needed, and any potential conflicts for surgeons.

5. Avoid Lost Billing and Errors

Each year surgeons are losing approximately $500,000 in billing. And while surgery centers should not be solely focused on making money, this potential loss also translates to lost opportunities to help patients.

With an electronic surgery scheduling system, you can ensure that your ASC or hospital is maximizing the number of cases you’re able to schedule. As previously mentioned, you can also avoid cancellations, which can lead to lost revenue, when you have the scheduling insights you need.

You can use surgery scheduling software to ensure that cases are being properly billed to insurance companies and patients, as well as have a clear overview of complex surgical billing information, so you can more easily find potential billing errors.

6. Prioritize the Patient Experience

No two patients are the same, which means that no two procedures look the same either. An electronic surgery scheduling tool allows surgeons to effectively create customized cases for each patient, down to every detail, to ensure a successful surgery experience.

For example, many patients have additional health conditions that surgeons must be aware of before surgery. To avoid this information becoming lost, it can be provided by the patient electronically and confirmed through surgery software.

Beyond surgeons having the information they need to best help a patient, every ASC or hospital should work to communicate with patients leading up to the surgery. Implementing proactive communication is another way surgery scheduling software is valuable, as you can set up reminder calls or texts that will provide crucial information for the day of surgery.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that most patients are a bit nervous leading up to surgery – this isn’t an everyday occurrence for them. By keeping each patient’s case well-documented and communicating with them regularly, you can set them up for the best experience possible at your ASC or hospital.

7. Utilize Data to Track, Measure, and Diagnose Potential Problems

A surgery scheduling system can offer an overview of important data points in your surgery center. By tracking and measuring this essential data, practice administrators and surgeons can proactively diagnose potential issues with surgery scheduling and then determine an action plan so that these issues won’t pop up again.

Ultimately, surgery scheduling software offers a user-friendly way to track surgical candidates. It gives practice administrators the ability to control of key processes, with insights into the data that matters the most to everyone involved – allowing you to review and take action when needed to reduce any potential challenges in your surgery scheduling process.

Improve Surgery Scheduling with Case Builder

By following these best practices, coupled with the right surgery scheduling software, you’ll find that your ASC or hospital is better equipped to handle any issues that arise.

CaseCTRL’s software was built by surgeons for surgeons to effectively manage the entire surgery scheduling process and support surgery centers so that they can improve efficiencies. CaseCTRL integrates a point of care tool called Case Builder that allows surgeons in clinic to create and communicate complex cases with ease.

Contact CaseCTRL to learn more about how our surgery scheduling software can support your ASC or hospital.

Download the eBook: How to Improve Your Surgery Scheduling Process: A Comprehensive Guide

Supercharge your surgical scheduling. See how caseCTRL can work for you. Show me a demo.

Related Posts

Post Topics

Recent caseCTRL News

May 16, 2022
Keeping your surgical practice operating effectively and efficiently is a constant challenge, and a vital one ...
May 3, 2022
An efficiently run surgical practice is vital for a positive patient experience and profitability. The ...
April 21, 2022
For hospitals and ASCs, operating rooms are an important source of revenue. But if your OR is not operating ...
April 11, 2022
CaseCTRL welcomes Frank Wisniewski to the team as a Senior Software Engineer! ...
April 7, 2022
Let’s face it: if you’re running a hospital operating room or an ASC, delays and cancellations are going to ...
March 24, 2022
If you’re not worried about losing a valued scheduler, you should be. Less than half of surgery schedulers ...
February 28, 2022
CaseCTRL has been selected as a presenting company at the 2022 Texas Life Science Forum. The Texas Life ...
February 16, 2022
Running a hospital operating room, an ASC or any medical practice comes with a host of complex challenges. ...
February 11, 2022
CaseCTRL welcomes Mike Criollo to the team as a Junior Software Engineer!...
February 11, 2022
Our Co-founder & Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ashvin Dewan was recently interviewed by ShoutOut HTX, where ...
February 3, 2022
Whether you’re a large hospital or a small ASC team, you no doubt have suffered your share of surgery ...
January 31, 2022
CaseCTRL welcomes Nathan Rogers, our newest Business Development Intern! ...
January 18, 2022
CaseCTRL SELECTED AS FINALIST FOR 2022 SXSW PITCH...
December 20, 2021
Surgery scheduling is uniquely challenging – emergency cases may arise, surgeons are not always able to ...
December 13, 2021
If you’re responsible for running an operating room, you probably already know that you need surgery ...
December 6, 2021
It has been an exciting year for CaseCTRL. Our expansion continues with the introduction of our first ...
December 1, 2021
Another day at the OR ended with a canceled surgery. Why? The first case didn’t start on time. Patient 2 was ...
November 2, 2021
Communication is not a “soft skill” for operating rooms. Every surgery has to go through a complex scheduling ...
October 22, 2021
CaseCTRL will be exhibiting at the 2021 American Alliance of Orthopaedic Executives (AAOE) Annual Conference ...
October 21, 2021
A lot is at stake when planning procedures in hospital operating rooms (ORs) or ambulatory surgery centers ...
September 28, 2021
Have you ever watched a sports team that had all the right players but underachieved? In operating rooms, the ...
August 16, 2021
CaseCTRL is honored to be showcasing at the 2021 American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Annual Meeting! This ...
August 2, 2021
Block scheduling has become the de facto gold standard method of surgery scheduling. Hospitals and ASCs ...
July 28, 2021
CaseCTRL would like to highlight one of summer interns, Archana Revanur, in the 'Intern Spotlight' Series!...
July 20, 2021
CaseCTRL is thrilled to join The Techstars Worldwide Network for Entrepreneurs. In addition to helping ...
July 14, 2021
Anyone who works in an ambulatory surgery center is familiar with how challenging and frustrating the process ...
July 5, 2021
CaseCTRL is thrilled to be featured on the Downtown Houston Summer 2021 Final Issue....
June 29, 2021
Outpatient surgery in the U.S. is projected to grow to 144 million cases (or $1 trillion of the market) by ...
June 25, 2021
CaseCTRL is excited to announce a victory at the 2021 NRLC Alumni Championship!...
June 22, 2021
Block scheduling is a part of many operating rooms’ regular administrative business. Many surgeons work best ...
June 21, 2021
CaseCTRL is honored to be selected as a Finalist in the 2021 Napier Rice Launch Challenge (NRLC) Alumni ...
June 8, 2021
Planning is in full swing for the upcoming OrthoForum Annual Conference and Physician Entrepreneurs Exhibit ...
June 4, 2021
Operating room resources are the most valuable in a hospital setting. Estimates show that the cost of an ...
May 19, 2021
Did the pandemic highlight challenges in your operating room (OR) planning and scheduling process? Though ...
May 3, 2021
For healthcare practices, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), and hospitals, the operating room (OR) can be a ...
April 26, 2021
While the average cost of operating facilities and surgical care varies widely, research has shown it can be ...
April 9, 2021
For most hospitals, the operating room is like a double-edged sword. It accounts for a large portion of the ...
March 15, 2021
CaseCTRL CEO & Co-founder, Pamela Singh, is among the Texas-based female founders chosen by Project ...
March 15, 2021
CaseCTRL is honored to be selected as a semi-finalist at Venture Houston 2021, out of 260+ applicants! ...
March 4, 2021
A 2016 estimate showed that the U.S. healthcare system loses $150 billion to missed patient clinic ...
February 18, 2021
A successful surgical procedure is a chain of well-coordinated activities, personnel, and requirements that ...
February 4, 2021
An interesting study - Introducing a reserve waiting list initiative for elective general surgery at a ...
January 31, 2021
When it comes to surgery scheduling, efficiency can make all the difference in improving patient outcomes and ...
January 29, 2021
Did you know that the average physician spends over 15 hours per week on paperwork, and a surgeon needs to ...
December 9, 2020
Ask anyone today how they manage their grocery list and, chances are, they will show you an app that keeps it ...
December 2, 2020
Did you know that 35% of surgical candidates do not make it to the operating room as planned?   While many ...
November 25, 2020
Could you be leaving $500k a year on the table just because of antiquated surgical scheduling processes that ...
November 23, 2020
HOUSTON – CaseCTRL was recognized as one of the 10 Most Promising Companies at the 2020 Texas Life Science ...
November 3, 2020
CaseCTRL is proud to announce that we will be presenting our modern surgical scheduling and management ...
October 30, 2020
Do you know what the biggest threat to operating room efficiency is? It probably comes as no surprise to ...
October 26, 2020
Has business as usual at your ASC or hospital been more difficult during the pandemic? For many, the ...
October 22, 2020
At first glance, surgical preference cards may seem to simply supply a list of preferences for instruments ...
October 14, 2020
CaseCTRL is thrilled to announce that we have been selected as a Top 100 startup out of 1000+ companies that ...
October 10, 2020
This month CaseCTRL began the gBETA startup accelerator. We are one of five companies invited to participate ...
October 8, 2020
Complex doesn’t even begin to describe the surgery scheduling process. Did you know there is a minimum of 150 ...
October 2, 2020
With the CaseCTRL platform, surgeons schedule more cases while decreasing the administrative workload for ...
September 12, 2020
We are excited to report CaseCTRL has been invited to present at Plug and Play's University Pitch Session! ...
August 28, 2020
Artificial intelligence is all the rage these days. In the recent MIT Technology Review Insights Survey, ...
August 20, 2020
The theme of 2020 has been emergency preparedness. Surgical practices across the country have had to navigate ...
July 21, 2020
It has been an exciting month at CaseCtrl with the launch of the 3rd generation of Case Builder! Appalled by ...
July 1, 2020
What is your business continuity plan? If your scheduler contracts COVID, how do you ensure that your revenue ...
June 2, 2020
In the last few weeks elective surgery has resumed virtually everywhere. A recurring challenge is ...
April 1, 2020
At CaseCtrl, we are committed to helping our partners get through these challenging times. We are grateful ...