Opportunities for Improving Communication and Documentation


As I was thinking about the topic for this month’s TWT, SmarTrack (ST) and SmarTrack Next (STN) came to mind because they are the communication hubs of the Picis portfolio. While preparing the presentation for this session I started thinking of the word “communication” and what that really means in the hospital setting. There are MANY communication points in the Picis software that benefit staff, patients and patient family members.

Let’s start at the beginning of the perioperative process – Scheduling; when a scheduler receives a request or reservation from the surgeon’s office to the hospital scheduler. The office staff enters in the surgeon and the procedure while the prepopulated average time communicates to the office the amount of time to book for the procedure. The scheduler is alerted if equipment/instruments or resources are available, which is a communication to let them know if they can schedule at that date and time. This is then followed by an automatic email that sends to the surgeon’s office and the patient once the surgery is booked. Just in this scheduling section alone, there are a lot of communication points that occur.

For the next phase in Preop, utilizing Statuses and Census List is a great way to communicate with Anesthesia providers. Some Picis customers have certain statuses set in their system (along with a census list of that status) to let Anesthesia know if a patient has abnormal EKG, lab results or anything else that needs to be reviewed during the preop process. Anesthesia can notate in the system what they need to be ordered for the patient and then change the status to communicate with the PAT (Pre-Admission Testing) nurse. All convenient and efficient communication tools are built right into the system.

The integrated TPA (Total Perioperative Automation) solution shares data between the modules and allows for seamless communication in the OR. The circulator nurse documents the patient’s time in the room and the data flows over to the Anesthesia documentation. The Anesthesia provider documents the start time and that information flows over to the circulator’s documentation. If you have ever been in an OR, staff must remember to ask those questions about that specific documentation which many times results in a debate over the answers. This will alleviate those conversations!

Let’s not forget that SmarTrack and SmarTrack Next are the BIG communication tools for the perioperative staff and beyond. Ensuring that everyone knows every step along the way when a patient arrives, is ready for surgery and then comes to recovery will help decrease the need for many phone calls between the departments. Always remember to use those tools in every part of the hospital that needs to know about surgical patients.

SmarTrack Next took the system to a new level with the ability to text the patient’s family members or caregivers automatically and for necessary updates during the perioperative process. This is a HUGE step in helping to improve family and patient satisfaction for the hospital.

So when thinking about communication, don’t forget to take advantage of all of the communication features Picis. If you’re looking for additional ways to optimize your workflow, I can come to your facility for a HealthCheck. Contact or for more information. See you in August for our summer edition of TWT.

About the Author

Theresa Sullivan, Director, Sales Support

Theresa has worked for Picis for 15 years and is currently the Director of Sales Support. With Picis, Theresa has implemented the Picis solutions across a variety of commercial and VA facilities, functioned as a Clinical Consultant in Sales, managed the Picis Reference Program and supported customers as a Senior Strategic Consultant in professional services. Before coming to Picis, Theresa was the Clinical System Administrator at a large medical center in Houston, Texas.