We’re Listening…

There are lots of opinions out there regarding healthcare reform. I received a great email the other day from a friend of mine who also happens to be an orthopedic surgeon. I felt it would be appropriate to share his concerns about the current debate surrounding health reform. He has graciously agreed to allow me to post his thoughts on our blog.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you — surgeons, support staff, device reps, and administrators — still have a voice. Your voice can make a difference. Ask for what you want. Stand up for what you believe. We are counting on you and your expertise to lead us into the future of healthcare. We’re listening to you.

Here is what Dr. Woods had to say:

Doctors are not very politically active as a group and we mostly hope that if we do a good job taking care of our patients everything will work out for the best.

That includes the 2AM drunk biker who crashes and gets hauled in on the helicopter so we can all get out of bed and fix him (or her) up. We put up with that scenario where we work on these people and follow them along for substantial amounts of time and never get paid a dime. Again, most of us figure that it will all be OK, and it’s part of our job. Oh yeah, I almost forgot…we also have federally mandated regulations with financial and possible jail sentence penalties if we refuse to treat an emergency patient based on lack of ability to pay us. That also goes for the hospitals as well. So, essentially, we are forced to work for free. Isn’t that called slavery? The “loss” associated with writing off the fees charged for those “free procedures” represents tens of thousands of dollars per year, just for me alone. It is also illegal for me to deduct those losses on my business tax returns. So if any or all of the above could somehow be fixed we doctors would love that.

Also, if something goes wrong with that patient, or if he just doesn’t like his outcome, he can and frequently will sue everybody; me, the hospital, the anesthesiologist, the implant manufacturer. It doesn’t matter that he was the one who rode his motorcycle drunk and crashed. It doesn’t matter that we all did our best to put him back together. He and his attorney want somebody to pay for his situation. It would also be nice to regulate that broken system.

The other big problem that physicians have is that for the most part we are unable to set our own fees for our procedures. We cannot even discuss what we charge with another colleague; that has been deemed illegal by the feds. The insurance companies that eventually pay us on behalf of patients, however, are able to discuss what they are going to “allow” as a “reasonable” fee. Who decides what a reasonable amount of money is for taking someone’s spine apart and putting it back together? Answer: a CEO of an insurance company somewhere. Want to guess who makes more money: the guy that does the work or the guy that controls the money. This is a huge problem in this country, and really is THE big problem with health care costs. These gigantic companies charge more each year for insurance premiums and pay the guys doing the work, physicians, the same or less each year.

Where is all that excess cash going? If it’s not being paid out to physicians, and employers and patients are paying more each year, it’s obviously staying in these gigantic companies. Much of it is being paid out in equally gigantic bonuses. A ton of that money is also being used to lobby the feds as well. That hasn’t changed a bit with the new administration and congress. It doesn’t matter who’s in power…money talks!

Buy the way, Medicare pays us as much or less for many procedures than they did in 1994…I kid you not!

We all signed up for this when we decided to go to medical school, so I guess somehow it’s our own fault…See my first statement about being politically naive. However, if the Feds and these private insurance companies step in and further regulate how I do my job and pay me less and less, you can bet that many doctors will not be able afford to keep their offices open. Many more of us will decide that it’s not worth the legal exposure and the late nights and will simply refuse to do it anymore. At some point doctors as a group will say “Enough!” and that may happen very soon. Let’s watch a CEO or a Senator or a plaintiff’s attorney fix a broken femur at 2AM!

Further, any bright kid coming up that is intelligent will not want to put in the effort required to become a physician. This is already happening and will get much worse if the current reforms take place. This obviously will have far reaching consequences for us Boomers as we get older and sicker.
So how do we fix all this…Sorry…I’ll bet you were hoping that I’d have an answer…unfortunately I don’t.

I can tell you that the current cluster that is occurring in Congress will NOT EVEN COME CLOSE to fixing any of the above scenarios, and will make the problem much worse. Until somebody reigns in the malpractice attorneys and the CEO’s of those big insurance companies the above scenarios will get worse, not better. You can write to your congressman, but they are mostly part of the problem, not the solution…as long as the big money lobbyists have their ear.

It will likely take a literal “revolution” by the medical community to change this, and my prediction is that it’s coming sooner than everybody thinks. I probably sound angry…and if I’m honest…I really am. But I am not the only doctor that feels this way…I would say that the majority of physicians have similar feelings to this. Recent surveys have shown that 65% to 70% of practicing physicians would not go into medicine if they had to do it over again…that’s a sad statistic.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

No Comments

Case-Connect Brings Hope for the New Year

New Year’s resolutions serve a definite purpose – to give us something to feel badly about when we don’t live up to our expectations. How many workout videos, gym memberships, running shoes, and packages of rice cakes have been purchased at the beginning of the year only to be completely neglected come March 1st?

But with the New Year comes new opportunities – new ways to lift ourselves from past failures. If we didn’t have hope for a better outcome, we would sleep right through the Time’s Square celebration and begin January 1st like every other day of the year. But the New Year does bring hope, we did stay up late in anticipation of a new start, and we do have a chance to change.

Personal resolutions often center around improved health or stronger emphasis on relationships. Professional resolutions should be no different. There is a simple way to improve your practice’s health and make your business relationships a priority. Case-Connect, the revolutionary new platform for scheduling surgeries, might just bring you exactly what you need for 2010.

Here’s to Your Health

How do you measure your personal health? Often, our metrics include the number staring at us from the bathroom scale, whether or not our LDL count is lower since our last doctor visit, or simply the way we feel. We can measure the health of our practice in similar ways: how is our bottom line shaping up…are we reducing lost revenue caused by administrative challenges…how do we feel at work?

While Case-Connect may not solve every ill we face in the office, it is a great start for the New Year. Its streamlined way to run scheduling increases productivity, eliminates costly errors, and gets rid of the frustrating aspects of practice management that make us dread getting up in the morning. A healthy practice for 2010 starts with Case-Connect.

Should Old Acquaintance be Forgot

One of the best ways to make an impact in 2010 is to improve your relationships. At home, this means spending more time with others in meaningful ways — we don’t get credit for taking our kids to only the first inning of a baseball game or going to the movies and forgetting our wallet. The same goes for the office. We need to maximize every interaction with patients, hospitals, device reps, and support staff. We will get no bonus points for rescheduling surgeries because of incorrect implant deliveries, backed up OR facilities, or other scheduling mishaps. When we forget (or neglect) to take care of our partners, our practice suffers.

With Case-Connect, our professional relationships are managed in a clear, organized manner. When we see the anesthesiologist at the hospital, we don’t have to apologize for wasting her time. Device reps will put us at the top of their list because they know everything will be in place. Patients will leave with the best possible treatment and attention. Relationships thrive with Case-Connect.

The New Year is in front of us, and we can make it the best year ever. To learn more about how Case-Connect can make your practice more efficient, please visit our website.

Healthcare IT is changing and hope has never been brighter. Happy New Year, everyone.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

, , ,

No Comments

Our Head in the Clouds…

We have been talking a lot lately about “cloud computing.” This may sound like some new-fangled idea to suddenly hit the market, but in reality it has been around for quite some time. Let’s take a look at the basics behind cloud computing and why it is so important to the future of healthcare IT.

Cloud computing is basically a way of delivering hosted services via the Internet. Its name comes from the “cloud” image commonly used to represent multiple computers around the world being connected together (i.e. the World Wide Web). These services (or platforms) are hosted on a main server, thus enabling users to log in remotely and avoid installing software on their own computers. The only software needed is a Web browser.

The Internet is everywhere…thanks to Wi-Fi, 3G, and those “can you hear me now” commercials. Cloud computing, as a result, has grown exponentially in recent years. There are lots of cloud computing applications that you probably already use. Some notable applications include Gmail, Amazon.com, Quickbooks Online, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr.com, Blogspot, Google Docs, PayPal, your online bank statements, and more. These platforms or services allow you to access your information from any computer with an Internet connection (without installing the software on your computer).

Banking, entertainment, and personal communications industries have recognized the value of cloud computing. They’ve noticed that individuals and businesses want to be more efficient and more streamlined, and they’ve responded with market-driven solutions. “There’s an app for that,” so to speak.

But in the healthcare IT world, practices have been slow to adopt the cloud technology. The key words are “have been.” Things are changing rapidly, thanks to healthcloud solutions like Case-Connect. The introduction of this new “healthcloud” is being accelerated by increased awareness of benefits, a stronger commitment to improved efficiency, and government initiatives requiring technology upgrades. Electronic Health Records (EHR) and practice management tools are looking to use cloud technologies to get the job done.

We are at the precipice of a new era in healthcare IT. Great things await us as we move forward with new ideas and new technologies. Surgical Data Solutions is poised to stay on the cutting edge as we move forward.

The future is bright and the sun is beginning to shine…through the clouds.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

, , , , , ,

No Comments

Trademark Status Symbolizes Great Things for Case-Connect

We’ve all seen the famous “R-in-a-circle” trademark symbol. We see it on restaurant signs, clothing labels, sports paraphernalia, and much more. Now, Case-Connect will proudly add the “®” to its wardrobe. On Monday, we received notification from the U.S. Patent and Trademark office confirming that Case-Connect is now a registered trademark.

Let me officially introduce you to Case-Connect®.

The product has not changed; the new Case-Connect® is still the same great surgical scheduling platform it always was. This new symbol is merely a…symbol, if you will.

It symbolizes the uniqueness of Case-Connect® as a scheduling platform. It symbolizes how Case-Connect® is indeed a pioneer in the “healthcloud” (the adoption of cloud computing models within the healthcare IT industry). It symbolizes that Case-Connect® is here to stay.

We are pleased with the progress of Case-Connect®; it is making a big splash wherever it goes. The future holds many great things for Surgical Data Solutions and its products. This trademark registration is just one of many victories that Case-Connect® can expect in the coming months and years.

Enjoy your new look, Case-Connect®…you deserve it!

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

, ,

No Comments

Press Release: Case-Connect Selected as Force.com Forty Innovation Showcase Finalist

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (November 16, 2009) – During the past year, software powerhouse Salesforce.com has been seeking the best innovators in the cloud computing industry. After viewing hundreds of demonstrations, the expert panel at Force.com has selected Case-Connect as one of the top 40 innovators of the year. The overall winner will be featured this week at Dreamforce 2009, the premier cloud computing event of the year.

Healthcare efficiency is a hot topic in the United States. The federal government has recently dedicated over $40 billion dollars to provide incentives for streamlined administrative procedures in the medical field. Case-Connect has entered the marketplace at a crucial time. “We are poised to be a major player in the healthcare IT revolution,” says Mark Roady, founder and CEO of Surgical Data Solutions. “Case-Connect brings new procedures and technologies to the table that will drastically improve the efficiency of surgical offices.”

Case-Connect is a healthcare IT application that helps surgical offices schedule cases using up-to-date technology. “Our goal is to provide surgeons with the tools that will help their practice,” says Roady. “We consistently hear about the scheduling challenges facing surgical offices, and Case-Connect is our way of eliminating most of those challenges.”

Case-Connect is gaining recognition as an important piece of administrative efficiency, right alongside the innovators in electronic medical records (EMR) and other healthcare IT measures. The Force.com finalist selection opens the doors to widespread recognition. Roady notes that “Case-Connect is the only application in the final showcase that is geared toward the healthcare industry. I think we are indeed showing ourselves to be a true pioneer in our niche.”

Salesforce judges will select the top overall application to be presented at Dreamforce 2009. This event is held November 17-20 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. For information about Dreamforce 2009 and the Force.com 40 Innovation Showcase, please visit the showcase website.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

, , ,

No Comments

Case-Connect Helps to Find Hidden Revenue


Okay, so the revenue we’re talking about isn’t necessarily hidden, it is just inaccessible. We know where it is – it’s in the surgeries we aren’t performing. For a surgical office, that’s not breaking news. When we analyze the problem of lost or delayed surgeries, however, we discover a few hidden gems that might just help us put a few more dollars into out top-line.

Let’s just say that you lose 1-2 surgeries a month to scheduling errors. That results in revenue losses of up to $20,000 for the month. That’s a quarter million dollars in lost revenue per year! If there was a way to avoid missing surgeries, we could add significant numbers (the ones followed by all the zeroes in a neat row) to our revenue line. But we have to determine why we are losing surgeries…

What causes us to lose a surgery? Let’s take a look at some of the culprits:

No devices or implants. You show up to the OR only to discover that the device you ordered is not waiting at the table. Upon calling the device rep, you learn that he “never got that schedule.” You have to reschedule the surgery and eat the time you wasted in preparation.

Incorrect devices or implants. You discover that the implants you received from your rep are definitely not the ones you need for this surgery. Again, when you call your rep you find out that the fax was “a little fuzzy” or the updates you requested were never received. Lost time, lost revenue.

Support staff no-shows. It’s hard to perform a surgery without the anesthesiologist or 1st assistant. When they don’t show up because of scheduling mishaps, you pack up your bag and say goodbye to today’s revenue.

Hospital delays. Upon arrival at the hospital, you often discover that the OR won’t be available on time. Pushing back the schedule an hour or two takes time out of your busy day and makes the whole process more expensive for everyone involved.

Case-Connect solves these problems. It takes less time than your current scheduling processes and eliminates all of the errors. Online confirmations, double-checks, and e-paper trails make sure your surgeries happen the first time, every time. Hospitals, vendors, and support staff will be better equipped as well – everyone wins with Case-Connect.

It’s time to stop making wasted trips to the OR because of poor scheduling. Case-Connect opens the doors to a fully staffed, “surgery ready” operating room. That hidden revenue will be waiting for you inside…it’ll be the one wearing green and not saying much.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

, , ,

No Comments

Case-Connect Selected as Semi-Finalist in Force.com Showcase

“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”
-Abraham Lincoln

Here at Case-Connect, we have done our best to provide a product worthy of recognition. We’ve received tremendous positive feedback from surgeons, schedulers, device reps, and hospital staff who have seen the benefits of this unique program. We haven’t really sought the recognition of those outside our niche…but they have found us, anyway.

I’m pleased to announce that Case-Connect has been selected as a semi-finalist in the Force.com Forty Innovation Showcase.

We have been selected from hundreds of cloud-based applications that use the force.com platform. Next week, I will have the opportunity to present our product to a panel of judges in San Francisco. If all goes well, we could earn the chance to present Case-Connect at Dreamforce 2009, the premier cloud-computing event of the year.

It’s nice to receive this type of recognition, even if we weren’t seeking it. As the nation continues to focus on healthcare and new ways of promoting efficiency, Case-Connect is emerging as a relevant voice in the conversation. Our platform has many of the answers to the healthcare IT questions, and it’s nice to know that others are beginning to take notice.

So here we go, buckle up for the ride. This is just the beginning…there don’t seem to be any limits as to where Case-Connect can go from here.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

, , , ,

No Comments

Online Scheduling is the Best Tool in Your Bag

You’ve probably seen a television show where a vacationing doctor miraculously performs a life-saving surgery using a ball point pen, a paper clip, and a restaurant napkin. Impressive? You bet. Plausible? Well, maybe not so much. Ideal? Obviously not.

When it boils right down to it, you need the best tools available to help you succeed. You wouldn’t dream of going into surgery with whatever you happen to have in your lunch bag or briefcase. There are specialized instruments that help you get the job done right: forceps, retractors, etc. The same principals that apply in the OR also apply in your office – you need specialized instruments to help you do the job the right way.

There are many tools available to schedule a surgery. The fax machine, the telephone, a pad of paper, and Post-it notes are old favorites. These “tools,” however, are the equivalent of the ball point pen in a surgery – they may (or may not) get the job done in a pinch but will undoubtedly leave collateral damage. There is a better way to schedule.

Enter cloud computing. The Internet Revolution has opened the doors to a whole new world of resources. By using the miracle of modern information technology, Case-Connect has developed an online surgical scheduling platform that gives surgical office a whole new set of tools. Surgical schedulers can now schedule a surgery with multiple participants with a single click of the mouse.

Think of Case-Connect as your clean, sterilized surgical tray. It will give you the options and flexibility needed to perform a life-saving operation on your bottom-line.

There’s no reason to use an old makeshift tool like the fax machine. In a pinch, you can probably get away with sending a few schedules using the old telephone-line-connected-to-a-typewriter trick. But that is unlikely — you won’t ever be in a scheduling pinch again. Thanks to cloud computing, your surgical schedules are always only an Internet connection away. It’s time to get connected with the right tools.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

, , , ,

No Comments

Going Green with Cloud Computing


We’ve discussed the financial advantages to using a web-based scheduling system. We have also outlined the time-saving features of cloud computing. One benefit we haven’t yet explored is how an online surgical scheduling platform can be good for the environment.

Now, I’m not saying that a cloud computing solution will produce an endless supply of clean water or save the panda bears. It will, however, help your practice to be environmentally responsible without putting forth much effort. With a cloud computing system such as Case-Connect, your most important benefits are unbelievable cost-savings and significant time-management improvements…the “green” part is merely a free bonus.

Green Benefits

First, an online platform decreases the need for bulky, energy guzzling computer systems. Scheduling via a cloud computing system does not require multiple, specialized computers loaded with extensive software programs. A simple computer with an Internet connection is all that is needed. Office staff may be able to use energy saving laptops or streamlined desktops to do the same work that was once done through multiple networked computers, fax machines, and photocopiers.

Another green benefit that comes from cloud computing is paper conservation. Online processes eliminate the need for hard-copy schedules, stat sheets, and confirmation notices. Information sent through a web-based system also eliminates the need for a fax machine. When your practice is free of the fax machine and other print-based systems, you can rid yourself of reams of unneeded paper. File cabinet space opens up, more trees remain in the forest, and paper-cut incidences reduce dramatically.

Our Small Part

Like I said, cloud computing may not save the planet. What it will do is save you money, time, and a lot of headaches. It will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your small part to be environmentally responsible. In the end, isn’t that all we can ask of ourselves?*

*If that isn’t enough, take some of the money you save using a cloud computing system like Case-Connect and adopt a panda bear…

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

, , , ,

No Comments

Cloud Computing Brings Big Savings to Healthcare


Whether or not you agree with the new healthcare bill, one thing makes sense – saving money. The Democrats say that there are ways to save up to $500 billion by making Medicare more efficient…Republicans would be happy to save that kind of money from a public program. The argument seems to be what to do with the extra money once it is found. That’s a topic for someone else’s blog. We’re here to talk about saving you money.

What would you do with extra money in your bottom line? Are there ways for you to “trim the fat,” so to speak? There may not be $500 billion floating around in your overhead, but there is definitely some cash that would be better spent elsewhere.

The experts seem to agree that a big chunk of this wasted money can be saved through streamlined processes and technology improvements. The same goes for your practice – efficiency is always good economics. By implementing a few modern procedures in lieu of outdated stand-bys, everyone’s wallet seems to benefit. Savings attained by surgeons, hospitals, and vendors eventually work their way down to patients.

Cloud computing is the modern procedure that will make the most difference; both short-term and for the future. Let’s take a look at the cost and efficiency savings that come through cloud computing (savings that have been enjoyed by other industries for some time now).

Cash-flow
Freeing up cash-flow is paramount to freeing yourself. If you could distance yourself from one more nagging liability on your balance sheet, your world would be a better place. Cloud computing does just that. Since cloud computing applications use web-based platforms, you avoid costly infrastructure and IT costs. Most credible software as a service (SaaS) applications are pay-as-you-go, thus eliminating the need for big, static liabilities.

Instant Implementation
Unlike many software and IT solutions that require weeks or months of initial training, cloud computing options typically hit the ground running. Intuitive design and ease of operation make cloud computing options a great way to save on training costs. Time saved in the implementation process also means a quicker road to efficiency and money-saving results.

Increased Productivity
Working with a cloud computing system will bring your office increased productivity. Let’s take scheduling as an example: Surgical schedulers have been plagued by outdated methods since…well, since the fax machine was invented. A cloud computing service, such as Case-Connect, opens the doors to much-improved productivity. Surgical offices can now schedule many more cases in a shorter period of time. The efficiency of Case-Connect also affects the surgeon’s productivity by eliminating scheduling errors and wasted trips to the OR. Surgical offices are free to book more cases and grow their practice because of their newfound productivity.

Cloud computing may have taken a while to enter the healthcare sector, but it is a welcomed addition. While the politicians discuss healthcare reform in Washington, we can find our own hidden treasures in our own procedures. Cloud computing opens the doors to significant savings – and while it may not bring $500 billion in lost revenue, it will eliminate our version of “wasteful” spending.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

, , , , ,

No Comments