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On The Right Track

Mon, 04/20/2009 - 5:43am
Amanda McGowan
The SIS Trax system manages tissue throughout its lifecycle, helping to prevent patient safety errors and optimize the hospital's bottom line.

The operating room is nearly every hospital's biggest source of revenue—and its most costly department. Along with using expensive surgical instruments and resources on a daily basis, OR professionals are handling expensive pieces of inventory in the form of surgical tissue. According to Kermit Randa, FACHE, Senior Vice President at Surgical Information Systems (SIS), the surgical suite is the single largest consumer of tissues in the hospital, leaving to question, how are they managing that perpetually aging inventory?

Finding the appropriate solution for managing tissue is crucial for hospitals on a number of levels, from patient safety to hospital financials. With its SIS Trax system, SIS introduces a tissue management solution fully integrated with the perioperative information system to keep stock of tissue throughout and manage its entire lifecycle. "SIS Trax standardizes a hospital's processes for acquiring, receiving, storing and allocating tissues according to Joint Commission Standards," Randa says. "The system traces each step of issuance from receipt to implantation, handling, movement, storage temperatures and disposition."

Essentially, the SIS Trax automates the typical paper inventory, implant and disposal forms used in most hospitals. SIS Trax standardizes the process of managing and tracking tissues to support initiatives to improve patient safety, optimize revenue, reduce costs and ensure compliance with Joint Commission regulations and tracking requirements from the FDA. According to Randa, the SIS Trax system works like this:

  • When the hospital receives a tissue, SIS Trax automates receipt of all tissues into the inventory using barcode scanning features and ensures each tissue is verified and the initial attestation is complete.
  • The tissue is placed into storage and appears in the hospital's tissue inventory as available for use.
  • To manage the attestations of this large, costly inventory, alerts assist with identifying and completing the attestations on schedule. 
  • All information in the system appears on a customizable dashboard. T
  • The system maintains manufacturer storage and preparation recommendations and makes them available to staff in the point of care application –SIS Nursing Intraop for reference, so that each tissue is stored and prepared properly promoting patient safety and compliance.
  • Integrated with SIS modules allowing tissue managers to assign a serialized tissue to a surgical procedure based on the surgeon's preference card When assigning tissue to a procedure, staff members can identify tissues that are close to expiration so they can be used first.
  • Expired tissues cannot be selected.
  • During the surgical procedure, the assigned tissue displays on the patient's record.
  • The nurse follows their routine process and verifies the tissue was implanted and completes minimal documentation.

SIS Trax supports one point of entry to decrement the inventory, generate a charge, update the implant log and maintain the patient's surgical record seamlessly. "Everyone in the process can manage tissues in one place," Randa explains, "with no redundant data entry. The result is better inventory management, increased case charges and reduced time documenting for nurses."

The system operates on a single database with the SIS modules, so data entry is always completed just one time – administratively or clinically. All information including on-hand inventory, failed attestations, damaged or wasted tissue and more is communicated instantly resulting in a better-prepared and safer operating room. The system is also Web-based, meaning tissue managers can access SIS Trax anywhere they have access to the hospital server.

Moreover, an integrated business intelligence dashboard provides instant knowledge to the location and status of the tissue inventory. Aside from automating the process for tissue tracking, the SIS Trax system offers hospitals a way to maximize revenue and reduce costs by identifying exactly when, where and why tissue is being wasted. It also helps hospitals prevent infections in patients and associated ‘never events,' which is not only dangerous for the patient, but costly for the hospital.

"If the patient becomes infected after surgery, the hospital will take on the cost for caring for that patient without reimbursement," Randa says. "It can be staggering. There is really no excuse for a preventable medical error."

SIS Trax helps prevent infections in patients in several ways:

  • Ensuring tissues are stored and prepared according to the manufacturer's recommendations to prevent contamination.
  • Alerting tissue managers and staff when tissues are expired or close to expiring so that a contaminated tissue is not accidentally implanted.
  • In case of a recall or adverse event, records for each and every available or implanted tissue is readily accessible within SIS Trax so contaminated tissues can be removed from inventory and patients at risk can be identified.

The SIS Trax module is currently available to SIS customers. Overall, Randa says, the solution simply helps hospitals improve their processes—and their bottom line. Tracking tissue throughout its lifecycle helps a hospital prevent patient safety errors, ease workload, optimize revenue, and ultimately, allow the OR to operate at its full capacity at the highest level of safety and efficiency possible.

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