February 9, 2023

Session: Getting your preference cards right

Editor's Note

In order for perioperative services to operate smoothly, it is crucial to manage surgical preference cards efficiently, Megan Eubanks, MBA, Senior Director of Business Operations, Perioperative and Procedural Services, The University of Kansas Hospital, discussed in a session, “Getting Your Surgical Preference Cards Right.”

She shared with the audience her experience cleaning up and improving preference card management and what she would do differently if she could start over. Some key tactics she used at her institution include defining the project and taking note of each step. “We made sure that we were measuring ourselves along the way,” she said, adding that she looked at immediate, expected, and long-term gains at the beginning of the project. She also shared a helpful graphic showing everything that needs to be involved in cleaning up preference card management, as seen below.

This project is like “eating an elephant one bite at a time,” she said, not just one team does the work. Eubanks shared some key tactics that worked for her.

  • Focus on the process of elimination and establishing a clean foundation.
  • “Everything didn’t have to be a big negotiation,” she said, set up policies and procedures going into it the project.
  • Communicate with your team and make them part of the project. “Team leads are very protective of their preference cards,” she said, it’s better to involve them in the process.
  • Make the work manageable, break it down by milestones.
  • Prioritize your resources.

If she could do it all over again, Eubanks would have shortened the time of the project by doing a lot of the manual work, such as going through and cleaning out the existing data, beforehand. 

This work matters because it all leads to better case performance, she noted. After the completion of this project, Eubanks has seen cases authorized faster with the correct preference card. Therefore, the correct procedure is performed, correct supplies charged, and the correct CPT is coded and billed, leading to increased revenue and decreased denials. 

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