Innovative Care at Surgical Specialists of Carolina
May 17, 2017
Dr. Jerimiah Mason is an independently practicing physician in Asheville who specializes in minimally invasive procedures for abdominal and GI surgeries, as well as vein disease treatments.
1. What are the innovations at your practice that help you to streamline?
Dr. Mason: The biggest innovation is the Clearwave kiosk that patients utilize for their appointment check-in. It was a primary goal of mine to eliminate the redundancy and inefficiency of the check-in process. The Clearwave kiosk is able to collect all of a patient’s demographics and insurance information without requiring the patient to type anything into the system. The kiosk has the ability to scan driver’s licenses and insurance cards and automatically fill all of that information in for the patient. Additionally, there are consent forms in the kiosk that can be signed digitally. Ultimately, it only takes 2-3 minutes to check in using the kiosk.
In my last practice, I felt the 20 minute process of the patient hand writing all their information was inefficient and the kiosk has eliminated that problem. Eliminating paper from the process has also helped the medical record storage process immensely.
2. What were the reasons that you launched the innovation?
Dr. Mason: There were multiple reasons why the kiosk was going to benefit my practice and the patient. The primary reason being that a shortened check-in time would lead to more “free time” which would enable me to see more patients in a day. I’m also able to spend more time with my patients.
3. How will this innovation help you handle or manage various aspects of healthcare reform?
Dr. Mason: The kiosk doesn’t necessarily help with aspects of healthcare reform, but the EHR system we use helps with certain things. Greenway Prime Suite is the EHR system we’re currently using. The system is effective in generating the reports we’re now required to provide. Greenway is also very responsive to customer suggestions for improvement which will prove helpful as the healthcare system continues to evolve.
The improvement process occurs through the system’s online forum where users are able to share their ideas. Once a suggestion for improvement has been shared, the users have the option to vote “yes” or “no”. If the suggestion receives enough support from other users Greenway will implement the suggested improvement in the next system update.
4. Did you have any mentors in creating this innovation?
Dr. Mason: I did not have any mentors in implementing these innovations in my practice. I’ve learned along the way through trial and error.
5. In what ways does this innovation improve the physician-patient relationship?
Dr. Mason: The Clearwave Kiosk allows me to spend a lot more time with my patients. If it’s used appropriately, I’m able to minimize the amount of data entry while I’m with a patient. We also use a system for checking patient’s vitals that automatically uploads the vitals into our EHR, without a staff member having to manually type it in. It allows for more discussion between the staff member and the patient, less time spent on data entry, and significantly reduces the chance of data entry errors.
I also use a program called Bright Sign which allows me to use my laptop to display things on the TV in each exam room. Using Bright Sign, I can show patients detailed information about their procedure and recovery.
6. What advice would you give to others interested in implementing your innovation?
Dr. Mason: The most important thing is to have a very clear vision of what you want the patient experience to be like. There’s a good chance it can be done, even if you have never seen it done before. Unlike a lot of other fields, healthcare is very slow to respond to changes in what the market demands. Don’t be afraid to do something differently than everyone else.
You’ll also definitely need to consider the costs and benefits of implementing any innovative technologies into your practice. Even though the initial cost of implementing the kiosk was high, it pays off through increased efficiency, resulting in more time to see patients.
About Surgical Specialists of Carolina:
Surgical Specialists of Carolina focuses on minimally invasive techniques for all of its procedures. This primarily refers to abdominal and GI surgeries which use a small camera and a few <1 inch incisions to perform a wide range of operations. The practice offers some common procedures such as removing the appendix or gallbladder, and hernia repairs. They also perform more complex operations like anti-reflux procedures to treat GERD, and bariatric procedures to help certain patients lose weight.
Dr. Jerimiah Mason and his staff also take the minimally invasive approach when it comes to office-based procedures for treating vein disease. Instead of surgery, they use a small catheter based procedure to treat the root cause of most patient’s varicose veins. They are also among the first practices in the area to use the ClariVein device in their treatments, which can drastically shorten procedure time. Most people feel very little pain, and are in and out of the office in no time. For those patients that are unhappy with the appearance of their legs due to spider veins, these are treated in an office setting with a procedure called “sclerotherapy”. The veins are directly treated with an agent that over time causes the veins to shrink and eventually disappear.
The days of big scars and long recovery times are a thing of the past. Surgical Specialists of Carolina strives to get their patients well again as quickly as possible, with the least amount of pain and scarring as possible.