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Client Story

Optimizing OR utilization: Hendrick Health System and Altera Surgical Solutions

Hendrick and Altera: A mutually beneficial partnership

Hendrick Health has been a long-time client of Altera Digital Health (previously the Allscripts Hospital and Large Physician Practice business segment). The organization's portfolio includes many solutions within the Sunrise™ suite.

Aside from being a loyal client of Altera, Hendrick is also an exceptional addition to the Altera Reference Program. Hendrick is frequently corresponding and collaborating with prospective and existing clients that are looking to add new solutions or to simply expand their knowledge on how to optimize their existing solutions. Whether Hendrick is hosting through a site visit, webinar or phone call, the team proves time and time again that they use Altera solutions effectively and efficiently.

Improved OR utilization through data
Increased efficiency within billing and charge capture department
Increased user satisfaction
Improvements in patient care and safety

Sunrise OR solutions prove beneficial to Hendrick

Since adding on Sunrise™ Surgical Care, Provation® iPro and Altera Surgical Logic a few years back, the partnership between Hendrick and Altera has only gotten stronger. "The partnership has grown within the past couple years because of the additional solutions that we have added and the continued support we have received from Altera," said Randy Uthe, RN, Clinical Applications Analyst at Hendrick.

The addition of Sunrise Surgical Care, iPro Anesthesia and Altera Surgical Logic delivered immediate benefits to Hendrick and its OR patients in many ways, including streamlined scheduling for both OR rooms and staff and the elimination of the need for double charting since information now flows seamlessly from the core EHR.

Hendrick had three key imperatives when looking to create a single patient record across the inpatient floor and the OR. And with the Sunrise Surgical solutions, the system achieved outcomes in these key areas:

  • Operating Room utilization
  • Integration with the acute care record
  • User satisfaction

Since the implementation of these solutions, Hendrick has gone from 24 GI, Cath lab and OR beds to 52 beds in those respective areas. The team members say they have gotten more "buy-in" when it comes to user experience and satisfaction as the solutions spread throughout the ORs, which has been great for utilizing the Surgical Care solution overall..

"It was a very easy transition because we already had the clinical aspect of the system with Sunrise™ Acute Care. The main reason we added in Patient Flow was so we could integrate under one platform and combine clinical features with registration and scheduling." 

Steven Weaver

Systems Manager

Improving OR utilization through data

Data enables Hendrick to adjust surgery timings. For example, scheduling less serious outpatient surgeries for Fridays improves flow, utilization and revenue. With the information available through Altera Surgical Logic, Hendrick has the data it needs to understand how early surgeries each day-and delays that might occur getting those started on time-affect the rest of the day's schedule.

By focusing more attention on those early-day surgeries, the hospital eliminated what had become typical 6 a.m. calls to tie off loose ends before the first surgery of the day could start at 7:30 a.m. Starting early-day surgeries on time reduces late starts throughout the rest of the day.

In addition, by using Surgical Logic Hendrick teams can capture data and report trends that help them predict and change block scheduling based on actual use. For example, moving orthopedic surgeries to days earlier in the week sometimes prevents patients from spending a weekend in the hospital. The tool also enables Hendrick to avoid situations where surgical teams aren't using their blocked time, freeing up ORs, staff and resources for other teams.

To keep the solutions running smoothly and efficiently, Hendrick's EHR educators start with Sunrise Acute Care and then tailor classes to different departments like surgery, emergency care and more, which has made providers stronger charting-wise due to personalized learning and training.


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Sunrise Surgical Care solution improves efficiency for billing and charge capture department

Due to better documentation within Sunrise Surgical Care, the billing/charge capture department can see exactly what devices are used and what their charge codes are very easily in the documentation under Intra-Operative Notes. This has been very beneficial in validating appropriate coding and pricing.

"This is advantageous on the commercial payer claims where we are paid a percentage of billed charge and, in some instances, where we had a carve out for implants. Being able to accurately substantiate the exact devices used in the medical record can result in fewer denials and lost revenue," said Kathy Huston, Charge Capture Coordinator. Huston explained that Hendrick did not have these capabilities configured in its old system.

"Because of Surgical Care, we started getting better implant documentation so we did not have patient bills kicked back to the hospital due to poor or inadequate documentation. We also had better compliance with charting the supplies being used," said Faith Thompson, MSN, RN, Clinical Analyst.

"EHRs are a key link for patient care and it takes a strong relationship with your vendor to make an electronic system work safely and effectively. It has to have that human aspect to it." 

Randy Uthe

RN, Clinical Applications Analyst

Better visibility into the acute record

iPro Anesthesia has worked well for the anesthesia team because it integrates and works collaboratively within the Sunrise suite. Moving from a paper-based system to the new cloud-based solution, iPro speeds up pre-op because EHR data is immediately available in the anesthesia workflow. In this way, discrete data is exchanged between anesthesia, OR and inpatient teams seamlessly.

The team has been able to customize iPro Anesthesia based on the clinicians' needs, which include the recent implementation of auto-vital signs, new customizations and updated workflows that surgical groups can utilize across multiple facilities.

With the system's Sunrise Knowledge-Based Medication Administration (KBMA) integration, medication data also flows automatically into the patient record, greatly reducing the chance for medication errors.

From pre-op testing and post-op to recovery and discharge, every team along the patient's care journey has full visibility into the record.

Increased user satisfaction

Surgical staff members at Hendrick say they have had a much better experience now that they have been running with Sunrise Surgical Care for a couple years.

The first immediate benefit was no longer needing to double chart. Heather Hess, OR & GI Lab Nurse Manager, said, "I like not having to double chart and being able to look up history and medications. Everything is in one place." Nurses reported that learning the system was quick and easy. With any new system, user resistance can initially be high, but once users understood the system's flexibility and potential, adoption was swift.

Key to user satisfaction is the Hendrick-Altera partnership. Hendrick user requests for improvements are always acted upon and updates are made quickly. "[Altera makes] our requested improvements in upgrades, and they make it available to all clients. Being heard and responded to is amazing. Altera values the input of its users," said Ruth Hutchins, Clinical Informatics, Project Manager.

Better documentation within the system equals increased communication. It has enabled physicians to understand their schedules better and the schedulers now have a better idea of the surgeons' day-to-day scheduling outlooks. These improvements are directly related to positive patient care outcomes.

"[Altera makes] our requested improvements in upgrades, and they make it available to all clients. Being heard and responded to is amazing. Altera values the input of its users." 

Ruth Hutchins

Clinical Informatics, Project Manager

Improvements in patient care and satisfaction

Since Sunrise Surgical Care was implemented, the Hendrick team members say that their denial rate has been greatly reduced. "With Surgical Care, patients aren't getting denied and they end up getting their surgeries quicker. I think that in patient care, patient safety is number one. They're getting the surgeries and they are not having to wait until their conditions have worsened before they can finally get taken care of," Uthe said.

Hendrick's Implant process has greatly improved as well. "Implants are not getting denied anymore because the process is standardized and in one spot. Implants have been the biggest success since implementation," Thompson said.

The team has noticed more consistent care directly related to iPro Anesthesia. "When we bring locum tenens and new physicians in, they are still able to follow a consistent pattern of care. As the educators teach them iPro, the teaching process is much more efficient and shorter. Patients from pre-op all the way to post-op tend to get much more consistent care even amongst newer team members. That reduces room for error and increases patient safety," Uthe said.

"With Surgical Care, patients aren't getting denied and they end up getting their surgeries quicker. I think that in patient care, patient safety is number one. They're getting the surgeries and they are not having to wait until their conditions have worsened before they can finally get taken care of." 

Randy Uthe

RN, Clinical Applications Analyst

What should new prospects know about Altera's surgical solutions?

When asked what the Hendrick team would tell clients that are considering Sunrise surgical solutions, customization was a key component. "With Altera, you can take a solution, tweak it and create whatever workflow you want. It is highly customizable. Our team is always great about MLMs [medical logic modules] and that has been so helpful in cutting down on charting time, reducing clicks for physicians and communication. You don't realize how important it really is to have your chart complete from acute care, to outpatient, to surgery," Thompson says.

Making decisions with solid data to support them is crucial. Hendrick can continue to make more confident decisions to better serve its patients, administrative staff and surgical teams.

"Together, we have been able to make the product better. It's not just Altera and Hendrick, but all of the sites that we collaborate with. It has given us a sense of community," Uthe said.

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