In the world of Patricia Stibbs, administrator at the Plastic Surgery Center of Hampton Roads in Newport News, Virginia, the messaging needs are more internal and more pragmatic.
With five surgeons and 50 support people serving between 600-700 patients in a facility that includes two operating rooms in a 14,000-square foot building, she
was just looking to cut down on the use of the intercom system and eliminate piles of Post-Its notes used to track patients."It was all very low-tech," Stibbs
We are in the cosmetic surgery business, and patients are looking for ambience," Stibbs
Of course, implementing Lotus Instant Messaging did more than make the Plastic Surgery Center a quieter place to work or visit.It helps employees better care for and keep track of patients.Whether it's making certain a patient sees a counsellor before she
schedules a procedure or that she
sees billing before she
leaves the office, it can all be communicated among workers in real-time without any speaker phones or the employee having to leave her
desk."It allows multitasking," Stibbs
For example, Stibbs
said, "We have to track patients for an FDA
study on silicone implants."Basically, all cosmetic surgery practices are required to monitor the progress and health of the patients that have had implant surgery."We are responsible for 350 people in the study," Stibbs
Even though, Ascendant Technology
is based in Colorado, Stibbs
said, they provide on-going support over the phone."I'm not a programmer, but they can walk me through it."
In terms of the staff reaction, the new messaging system was quickly accepted even though it was a huge change in process."There was no reluctance, just a little trepidation," Stibbs
said.Now, though, the employees have fun with it."But it's not a deterrent to work at all," she
Keep Things Private
You have to prove you have taken precautionary measures," Stibbs
said.HIPAA also requires the practice to have a secure network, ensure screens not accessible for public viewing and use screen savers.However, the company probably had "more privacy issues with PostIt notes in the trash," she
The Plastic Surgery Center has no plans to extend IM beyond the building, but Stibbs
said the infrastructure is now place to implement technology such as electronic Medicaid forms.But, for now, Stibbs
is happy with the more efficient form of internal communications offered by Lotus Instant Messaging.