Surgery scheduling FAQs

Use the surgery scheduling FAQs to schedule surgeries in EZHCRM. The guide walks you through surgery order, pre-surgery and post-surgery steps.

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Anything you enter on the surgery planning web page, can be transferred over to surgery documents that you need to fax payers, providers, surgery center/hospitals etc. So, the more information you enter here, once, the less information you have to write down on various paper forms.

How a surgeon places a surgery order

Your surgeons probably write up surgery orders on a paper. Something like this

They can continue to do so if they prefer to. If they do, you have to type in all the details in EZHCRM.

Alternatively, the surgeon can also enter surgery orders for a patient using EZHCRM itself.

For this, you need to click on Surgeries menu item and then choose All surgeries. Here, you will see a list of all surgeries that are currently in progress / plan.

Click on the Add button to quickly add a surgery order. In the window that opens up, start typing the patient name.

As you type the patient name, we will show you all patients of yours that have matching names. You can select one of those options. We show you the date or birth as well, so you can decide when you have more than one patients with the same name.

If you are ordering a surgery for a brand new patient, you can simply type in their name, DOB and not select any of the patients that we show you.

As a surgeon, you can decide where you want to do your surgery. You can choose to do it at your own location or you can choose perform the surgery at one of your surgery partners.

We will show you all the surgery partners that are added to your organization. Select the ASC or hospital partner where you want to do the surgery from the dropdown.

Next, you can proceed to add a suggested surgery date, surgery time.

Do keep in mind that these date/times are not set in stone. They are suggestions and can change based on various factors like patient preference, patient availability, surgery slot availability etc.

When you create a surgery order, we always start with a surgery status of PENDING.

Choose the surgery urgency next. If you had created any custom urgencies for your organization, we will show you those urgencies in addition to the system defined urgencies.

Finally, choose the surgery site – left, right, bilateral etc.

How to quickly add a surgery / procedure at your office locations from a paper surgery order

If your surgeon is not creating the surgery order using EZHCRM, you can proceed as you currently do.

Take the paper order you received from the patient / surgeon and start entering the details from the paper surgery order.

You would enter the surgery order the same way your surgeon would. The only difference is that since you have the patient in front of you, or on the phone, you can pick the appropriate surgery date / time that works for all parties.

How to plan a surgery / procedure at your partner’s locations from a paper surgery order

This would be very similar to how you transfer surgery order details from the paper surgery order your surgeon handed your patient (or you). Take the paper order you received from the patient / surgeon and start entering the details from the paper surgery order.

If the surgeon has specified a surgery partner where they wish to perform the surgery, you can choose it here.

If the surgery partner is not yet added, you can add it as described in the organization set up FAQs.

After that, you will be able to select the surgery partner you added.

How to ensure that your surgery partner can see your planned surgeries

If you have not invited the surgery coordinators from your surgery partner offices, they will not be aware of the surgery you are planning.

That’s still OK, as you can use EZHCRM as a standalone system and not have to share surgery details with your surgery partner. You can still fax surgery packages over to your surgery partner just like you currently do.

If you want to collaborate on surgeries with your surgery partner offices, you can choose to do so as well. This will allow all interested parties to be able to see the surgeries being worked on, collaboratively.

A surgery partner can only see the surgeries you are planning at their locations. They cannot see surgeries you are planning / scheduling at other surgery partner locations of yours.

You can invite a partner team member by using the steps described in the organization set up FAQs. Once your surgery partner gets your invitation, they can accept it. If they are the first team member from that surgery partner organization, they can set up their organization using the steps described in Account FAQs.

They will immediately be able to see the surgeries you are planning at their location and be able to see all updates you make to the surgery.

If the team member you invited tries to register an organization that is already set up, they will not be allowed to add a new organization. Instead, they will be added as a team member to that existing organization.

How to edit a surgery

After creating the surgery order, you can edit any and all details of the surgery.

From the all surgeries screen itself, you can edit the patient details, the surgeon, surgery date/ time, surgery location, the CPT, ICD etc.

From this same screen you can also edit the surgery status (pending, no-show, booked etc. and more). In addition to that, you can also assign tasks for Medical Clearance, COVID clearance, Prior Authorization from this screen.

Of course, there are several other details that you would want to edit about the surgery. For this, click on the “Edit” link in the actions column to the right. This will lead you to the surgery planning detail web page.

You can expand and collapse each one of these sections to edit various items under that section.

Editing surgery urgency in EZHCRM

More often than not, you will not be changing the urgency of a surgery. However, if you choose to do so, you can change it by selecting an appropriate item in the urgency drop down.

If you had created any custom urgencies as described in the organization set up FAQs guide, those urgencies will also show up here.

Keep in mind that whatever surgery urgency you choose, will show up in the surgery calendar web page as a filter for you to use.

Editing Surgery Status

More often than not, you will start with a surgery status of Pending. You will, over the course of surgery planning steps, be changing the status of a surgery. You can change it by selecting an appropriate item in the status drop down.

If you had created any custom statuses as described in the organization set up FAQs guide, those statuses will also show up here.

Keep in mind that whatever surgery status you choose, will show up in the surgery calendar web page as a filter for you to use.

Editing Surgery Type

When you first create the surgery, the surgery type will be set to TBD (to be determined). Your surgery order paper might already indicate the surgery type. If it doesn’t, you would need to consult with your surgeon about the order type.

More often than not, the surgery type will not change over the course of a surgery planning.

Editing Surgery Location Type

When you first create the surgery, the surgery location type will be set to outpatient (since a majority of surgeries are currently being done as outpatient surgeries at ambulatory surgical centers). Your surgery order paper might already indicate the surgery location type. If it doesn’t, you would need to consult with your surgeon about the order location type.

More often than not, the surgery location type will not change over the course of a surgery planning.

Keep in mind that if/when you choose location type as inpatient, there are some additional information that can be filled out post surgery (post-op note). These include hospital admission date/time, discharge date/time, alternate level of care date/time, Intubation days, ICU days etc.

Editing Surgery Anesthesia Type

This will, of course, vary from surgery to surgery. More importantly, this will come directly from your surgeon. They can enter this themselves on EZHCRM or they can let you know on the surgery order paper.

Editing Surgery Site, Position, Tissue Type

We don’t usually run into situations where surgeries are planned bilaterally – due to the risks of complications. Usually you would plan on one surgery site first, and after that, plan for the second surgery site.

You can choose surgery site to be left, right, bilateral or not applicable.

Next, you will choose the surgery position – whether it is supine, prone etc.

Your surgeon will probably indicate the tissue type they expect. If they have not indicated any details, you would need to consult with your surgeon.

Surgery tissue type

These values can be all chosen from the respective drop downs.

Editing Surgery CPT / Procedure Codes

Your surgeon can enter the CPT, ICD details themselves in EZHCRM. Or, you can transfer the surgery CPT / procedure code or description yourself (from the paper surgery order).

Keep in mind that whatever method you choose (CPT code or procedure code description), you will have to use the same method in the surgery calendar filter options – if you choose to filter surgeries based on the procedure codes.

If you had set up favorite surgery CPT / procedure codes as described in the organization setup FAQs, those will show up here. Alternatively, you can simply type in the desired CPT / procedure code.

ICD / Diagnosis

Your surgeon can enter the ICD details themselves in EZHCRM. Or, you can transfer the surgery ICD / diagnosis code or description yourself (from the paper surgery order).

Start typing the ICD details (either the code or the diagnosis description) and we will show you the matched ICDs. You can select one or more ICDs to add to this section.

Keep in mind that whatever ICDs you choose here, can be used in the surgery calendar filter options – if you choose to filter surgeries based on the diagnosis codes.

If you had set up favorite surgery ICD / diagnosis codes as described in the organization setup FAQs, those will show up here. Alternatively, you can simply type in the desired ICD / diganosis code.

Surgery Co-morbidities

The surgery co-morbidities section is very similar to the surgery ICD / diagnosis section. In most of the cases, your surgeon will tell you about possible co-morbidities. You will have to enter those details here or ask your surgeon for the same.

The co-morbidities are also a list of ICD / diagnosis codes and can be selected the same way as you would select the ICD for a surgery.

Adding team members to planned procedures/ surgeries

Your surgeons would probably want one or more of your team members assisting them in the surgeries. These could be your PAs, MAs, surgery technicians etc.

Ideally you have already added your organization team members as described in the organization set up FAQs. If not, once you add team members to your organization, you can add these team members to the surgery planning.

Once you add/remove a team member, they get notified via email.

Adding co-surgeons to planned procedures/ surgeries 

Your surgeons sometimes want one or more of your organization providers assisting them in the surgeries.

Ideally you have already added your organization providers as described in the organization set up FAQs. If not, once you add providers to your organization, you can add these providers to the surgery plan as co-surgeons.

Once you add/remove a co-surgeon, they get notified via email if they also have an account to login to EZHCRM.

How to handle insurance prior authorizations 

The next part you want to get 100% accurate is the insurance / payer / financial responsibility section.

For this, expand the insurance section and gather all the appropriate insurance details here.

First, choose the correct insurance type from the dropdown.

Based on the type of insurance you select, you will have multiple items to fill out. E.g. for HMO,

For PPO and Medicare, you will see the following

For Workers Comp, you will see the following details. Note, that any time you enter the prior authorization begin date, we automatically fill in the prior authorization end date to 30 days from that date. You can, of course, over ride that based on the insurance prior authorization fax you received.

Adding prior authorization number to surgery/ procedure  planning

Make sure that you enter the prior authorization number, the patient insurance card (back and front) images to the surgery planning record.

You won’t have this number when you first start planning the surgery. However, the very first step after you create the initial surgery plan is to check the patient’s eligibility and coverage.

Based on the eligibility and coverage that the patient has, you would then fax over the insurance prior authorization request with the supporting documentation.

After the prior authorization request response is received by you, you can enter the prior authorization number here.

Setting Pre-surgery / pre-op appointment

Some practices / surgeons do not set up a pre-operative appointment. We do not recommend that. A preoperative appointment allows you to further ensure that the patient is not a no-show. If the patient has not shown up for their pre-operative appointment, they will certainly not show up for the surgery.

In addition to this, the preoperative appointment is your final chance to make sure that the patient’s anxieties about the surgeries are addressed, the patient is counseled yet another time about the surgery, the patient understands the surgery preparation methods/pre-requisites.

Set up the pre-operative appointment date/time in the PRE-SURGERY section as shown below.

How to handle medical clearance 

One of the pre-surgery tasks you would need to handle is medical clearance for the patient. Make sure that you plan the medical clearance at least 7 days before the surgery. This allows for enough time for rescheduling the appointment if needed, plus it gives you enough time to chase the primary care provider office for the medical clearance fax.

You can use your own medical clearance form and pre-fill that using EZHCRM. Or you can also use the medical clearance form given to you by other primary care providers.

Adding PCP details 

The most important part of getting medical clearance right, and done on time, is to record the correct primary care physician details for the surgery patient.

After you have set the medical clearance appointment date time, various other options will show up so you can fill them out.

After you fill out the medical clearance appointment details, you can fill out the newly appeared sections

Preparing clearance paperwork 

You can use your own medical clearance form and pre-fill that using EZHCRM. Or you can also use the medical clearance form given to you by other primary care providers.

Either way, all the patient information and the surgery information you have entered thus far will be pre-filled and printed on the medical clearance request form.

Calling PCP for clearance appointment 

We strongly recommend that you call the PCP office and set up a medical clearance appointment date/time for the patient. This way, you do not leave anything in the hands of the patient and have full control over your surgery planned date/time.

Our surgery scheduling team has evidence that the more tasks they handle on behalf of the patient, the less chances there are of surgeries being delayed or cancelled.

Faxing clearance paperwork to PCP

Our surgery scheduling team usually faxes the PCP office the medical clearance form while they are on the phone making the appointment for the patient. You can do this by clicking on the Send Fax button.

Adding clearance results to surgery/ procedure planning

We recommend setting up a task / reminder to call the primary care practice office on the day of the medical clearance for your patient, to get the clearance fax.

You can call the PCP office right from EZHCRM itself and do not have to use your desk phone to do so.

You can also receive the clearance fax right inside of EZHCRM itself and do not have to use a common fax machine to do so. Plus, if you use a regular fax machine, you would have to scan and upload the medical clearance document to EZHCRM. Instead of that, we recommend that you use the fax number EZHCRM provides you (it’s yours forever) and receive surgery faxes inside EZHCRM.

Set up a task / reminder to get the Medical clearance fax and add a due date to it from the Tasks screen like this

Once you are on the tasks list screen, click on the Add record button to add a task

How to handle COVID clearance 

One of the pre-surgery tasks you would need to handle is COVID clearance for the patient. Make sure that you plan the COVID clearance at least 2 days before the surgery. This allows for enough time for rescheduling the appointment if needed, plus it gives you enough time to chase the COVID testing lab/ office for the COVID clearance fax.

Adding COVID test site details 

You do so in the pre-surgery section like this

Once you have filled out this section, you can add this to the list of documents that you can email, text or print for the patient.

Calling COVID site for clearance results 

We recommend that you do not depend on the COVID testing site to proactively send you the COVID results fax. You can set up a task/reminder for yourself to call the lab (or practice) like this

On the day of the reminder, you can simply call the phone number listed, right from within EZHCRM.

Adding COVID clearance results to surgery/ procedure planning

You can receive the COVID clearance fax right inside of EZHCRM itself and do not have to use a common fax machine to do so. Plus, if you use a regular fax machine, you would have to scan and upload the medical clearance document to EZHCRM. Instead of that, we recommend that you use the fax number EZHCRM provides you (it’s yours forever) and receive surgery faxes inside EZHCRM.

How to handle preoperative diagnostics tests

Adding preoperative test details 

Your surgeon will order preoperative diagnostics – they can be labs, radiology, non-invasive tests etc.

Or, your surgeon might order therapeutics as well as provide directives for fluids, medications, pain management etc.

You can add these details in the pre-surgery section like this.

You can of course choose more than one order

For pre-admission therapeutics, you select the details from the dropdown or add your own

Preparing preoperative diagnostics paperwork

You can use your own diagnostics orders/ forms and pre-fill them using EZHCRM. Or you can also use the diagnostics orders/ forms given to you by your go-to diagnostics labs.

Either way, all the patient information and the surgery information you have entered thus far will be pre-filled and printed on the diagnostics order request form.

Calling preoperative lab for appointments 

We strongly recommend that you call the diagnostic lab/ office and set up a diagnostics tests appointment date/time for the patient. This way, you do not leave anything in the hands of the patient and have full control over your surgery planned date/time.

Our surgery scheduling team recommends you handle this on behalf of the patient. This leads to less chances of surgeries being delayed or cancelled.

Faxing preoperative paperwork to lab

Our surgery scheduling team usually faxes the diagnostics lab/office the diagnostics order form while they are on the phone making the appointment for the patient. You can do this by clicking on the Send Fax button.

Adding preoperative tests results to surgery/ procedure planning

We recommend setting up a task / reminder to call the lab within 1-2 days of your patient’s diagnostic test appointment, to get the fax results.

You can call the lab / office right from EZHCRM itself and do not have to use your desk phone to do so.

You can also receive the test results fax right inside of EZHCRM itself and do not have to use a common fax machine to do so.

Setting post-surgery / post-op appointment

Some practices / surgeons do not set up more than one post-operative appointment. Some practices set up post operative appointments 1 day after surgery, 1 week after surgery, 1 month surgery, 3 months after surgery etc.

You can choose your post surgery appointment cadence as you desire. A post operative appointment allows you to ensure no complications occur. Plus it also allows you to ensure that the post operative instructions are drilled into the patient’s mind one more time.

It helps a lot with patient reviews as well.

Set up the post-operative appointment date/time in the POST-SURGERY section as shown below.

How to use the surgery planning calendar

The surgery calendar will show you all the surgeries that you are currently working on. Click on the surgeries menu , then click on Calendar.

You will see a default view of the current month’s planned surgeries. Use the left / right arrows on top of the calendar to view surgeries for other months. You can also change your calendar view to weekly or daily. Again, you can use the left / right arrows to change your day or week. At any point you can click on the Today button to see today’s surgeries.

You can also filter surgeries using the filters  available on the calendar page.

Filter by Surgery center

The surgery center filter will show you all your surgery partners list plus your own location. By default the calendar page shows you the surgeries at all the locations. You can select one or more surgery centers to see the surgeries you’ve scheduled at these locations. To see all the surgeries, simply uncheck the choices you’ve made in this filter and it will show you all the surgeries again.

Filter by Surgeon 

The surgeon filter will show you all your surgeons’ list. By default the calendar page shows you the surgeries scheduled for all the surgeons you work with. You can select one or more surgeons to see the surgeries you’ve scheduled for these surgeons. To see all the surgeries, simply uncheck the choices you’ve made in this filter and it will show you all the surgeries again.

Filter by surgery CPT or procedure code

The CPT filter will not show you all your CPTs list. By default the calendar page shows you the surgeries scheduled. You can type one or more CPTs to see the surgeries you’ve scheduled for these CPT/ procedure codes. To see all the surgeries, simply clear the choices you’ve made in this filter and it will show you all the surgeries again.

Filter by surgery ICD or diagnosis code

The ICD filter will not show you all your ICD list. By default the calendar page shows you all the surgeries scheduled. You can type one or more ICDs to see the surgeries you’ve scheduled for these ICD/ diagnosis codes. To see all the surgeries, simply clear the choices you’ve made in this filter and it will show you all the surgeries again.

Filter by Surgery date range

You can type a date range to see the surgeries you’ve scheduled between these dates. To see all the surgeries, simply clear the choices you’ve made in this filter and it will show you all the surgeries again.

Filter by surgery urgency

You can select one or more surgery urgency / priorities to see the surgeries you’ve scheduled with these urgencies. To see all the surgeries, simply clear the choices you’ve made in this filter and it will show you all the surgeries again.

Filter by surgery status

You can select one or more surgery statuses to see the surgeries you’ve scheduled with these statuses. To see all the surgeries, simply clear the choices you’ve made in this filter and it will show you all the surgeries again.

Filter by Surgery Site 

You can select one or more surgery sites (these are body sites as defined by HL7 standards) to see the surgeries you’ve scheduled with these surgery body sites. To see all the surgeries, simply clear the choices you’ve made in this filter and it will show you all the surgeries again.

Filter by surgery Medical clearance status

Surgery schedulers always need to be on top of medical clearance status of their planned surgeries. You can select one or more medical clearance statuses to see the surgeries you’ve scheduled with these statuses. To see all the surgeries, simply clear the choices you’ve made in this filter and it will show you all the surgeries again.

Filter by surgery COVID clearance status

Surgery schedulers need to be on top of COVID clearance status of their planned surgeries as ASCs and hospitals still will not allow surgeries for patients with COVID. You can select one or more COVID clearance statuses to see the surgeries you’ve scheduled with these statuses. To see all the surgeries, simply clear the choices you’ve made in this filter and it will show you all the surgeries again.

Filter by surgery preoperative test clearance status

Often surgeons will require preoperative tests before the surgery date. Your surgery may or may not be rescheduled based on the preoperative test results.  Surgery schedulers always need to be on top of preoperative test results of their planned surgeries. You can select one or more preoperative test results statuses to see the surgeries you’ve scheduled with these statuses. To see all the surgeries, simply clear the choices you’ve made in this filter and it will show you all the surgeries again.

Filter by surgery Prior authorization status

Lack of prior authorization can derail your surgery. Keep in mind that prior authorizations also have a start and end date for each authorization number that you get from your patient’s payer. Obtaining prior authorization is the first step after you’ve scheduled the surgery. You can select one or more prior authorization request results statuses to see the surgeries you’ve scheduled with these statuses. To see all the surgeries, simply clear the choices you’ve made in this filter and it will show you all the surgeries again.

Filter by surgery  patient transportation need

Oftentimes patients require transportation assistance. Availability of transportation assistance from payers (commercial or government) varies from state to state. Use this filter to find out which patients require transportation assistance.

Filter by surgery expiring prior authorization status

Keep in mind that prior authorizations also have a start and end date for each authorization number that you get from your patient’s payer. While we do provide helpful hints via reminders, surgery schedulers need to be on top of prior authorization begin and end dates. Use this filter to find out which prior authorization is about to expire or has expired. 

Filter by surgery expiring COVID test validity status

Keep in mind that COVID test results also have a start and end date for each result that you get from your COVID testing lab. While we do provide helpful hints via reminders, surgery schedulers need to be on top of COVID test results validity begin and end dates. Use this filter to find out which COVID test result is about to expire or has expired. 

Filter by surgery expiring medical clearance status

A patient’s medical clearance results have a start and end date for each result that you get from the primary care physician’s office. While we do provide helpful hints via reminders, surgery schedulers need to be on top of medical clearance results validity begin and end dates. Use this filter to find out which medical clearance is about to expire or has expired. 

Filter by surgery expiring pre-admission tests status

A patient’s pre-admissions test results status has a start and end date for each result that you get from the lab. While we do provide helpful hints via reminders, surgery schedulers need to be on top of pre-admissions test results validity begin and end dates. Use this filter to find out which pre-admissions test result is about to expire or has expired. 

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