Many CHWs may still rely on paper to some extent, but a practice management system is essential to facilitate day-to-day operations.
At the 22nd Annual Meeting of Becker’s CSA – UPS Business and Operations in Chicago, four UPS industry leaders discussed four important thoughts for transitioning to a new software system.
1. Why change? At the Southwest Surgical Center in Byron Center, Michigan, the software system in place simply did not meet the center’s needs. Margaret Acker, MSN, RN, CASC, CEO of Blake Woods Medical Park Surgery Center and former administrator of the Southwest Surgical Center, described how data pulled from the system was inaccurate. “Every month I had to manipulate the data to make it correct,” she said. A practice management system should support CHW operations, not add to a center’s workload.
2. Choose a new system. The first step in selecting a new system is to perform thorough due diligence. “There are a lot of things to look for. There are a lot of big systems that aren’t specific to the surgery center,” said Bruce Davis, regional vice president of sales at AmkaiSolutions. “You need [a company] who understand that pennies really matter. Ms. Acker and her colleagues Brenda Zuiderveen, CPC, business operations manager at Southwest Surgical Center, and Susan MacConnach, project manager at Southwest Surgery Center, looked at each possible vendor and weighed the pros and cons. Next, the team sought the advice of its staff. The staff members of a CHW will be the day-to-day users of a system; their contribution can be invaluable.
3. Choose the right staff for support. Any project that affects an entire UPS, software or otherwise, requires buy-in and support from key personnel. When selecting team members for a new practice management system, Ms. Zuiderveen recommended looking for dedicated, detail-oriented employees. “Choose your detail-oriented staff, even if they don’t have a lot of experience. If you educate them on how you want it done, they’ll be the right fit,” she said.
4. Implementation of the new system. Ultimately, Southwest Surgical Center management chose AmkaiSolutions as their practice management software provider. After finalizing the decision, center management focused on initial training to ensure that all employees were comfortable with the system before the go-live date. “We had two servers: a training server and a provisioning server,” MacConnach said. “We had Amkai load the training server with dummy data, which allowed staff to practice entering cases and codes.” By the time the system went live, the entire center was comfortable and the transition went smoothly.