Recently, I was conducting a practice analysis for a consulting project when I came across an interesting OMS practice administration dilemma. Partway through the onsite assessment, a group of surgical assistants pulled me aside and expressed their concerns about the practice letting patients leave before they were fully recovered from surgery.
This was a very busy and successful practice located in the Midwest. They were the only OMS practice for miles (the nearest was 60 miles away), and so this practice had the wonderful problem of scheduling surgeries three weeks out and even longer during the busy wisdom teeth season. The OMS surgeons at the practice preferred to schedule surgeries in the morning and then conduct follow-ups and consultations in the afternoon. Sounds reasonable enough, right? They wanted to get in and do their surgeries while they’re in peak performance mode. The problem, however, was that when all three surgeons performed surgeries in the morning, the practice did not have enough recovery beds to adequately recover the number of patients they were seeing. In trying to accommodate their patients, please their referrals, and maintain good reviews from patient-centered care, they were letting patients leave too soon, which presented a risk and compliance concern.
After investigating, I learned there was a communication breakdown between the surgical staff and the OMS surgeons on how much time was needed to recover patients. Everyone needed clear guidelines in several areas, including what are the policies and procedures for post-op care? What documentation is required pre- and post-surgery? What documentation is required in the patient’s recovery room?
To resolve these issues, I turned to the OMS National Insurance Company (OMSNIC) for their online repository of resources, including helpful guidelines on the standard of care for post-op. Here are a few OMSNIC resources I used with the practice:
- Recovery Room Records: This form helps you document patient status at discharge.
- Surgery Checklist: This checklist provides a list of tasks for before, during, and after surgery to document patient safety measures taken before discharge.
- Informational Guide for Post-Op Patient Escort Policies: This document can help your practice establish clear policies for patient escort after surgery that enhance patient safety and reduce practice risk.
At that practice, we instituted the guidelines from these OMSNIC resources, adjusted protocols accordingly, and developed a plan to communicate them to all staff. Everyone got clarity on what was necessary to safely recover patients, and the practice, with a few modifications, was able to maintain their high level of performance and meet patient needs in their region.
If your practice could benefit from streamlining and formalizing some of your protocols (I’ve yet to meet a practice that doesn’t need at least some help in this area), the OMSNIC resources can be incredibly valuable. You may also consider working with OMS Consulting Firm to conduct a formal practice analysis to identify opportunities to implement these resources and improve your practice’s operations.
Contact us to learn more about our practice analysis and other services for OMS practices.