There’s a number of online and phone-based applications that can assist you in making your surgical assisting life much easier. In this article we’re going to focus just on the billing and paper works side of surgical assisting and it tends to be a thing that gets lost in increasingly hectic shuffle between hospital and hospital, and it is important for you to keep records not just for medico-legal protection but also to aid the billing and easy administration of your business.
You may opt to choose an app to assist you in your billing. Definitely, there are reputable services there that developed their own application to assist both the photography, the processing and the billing from an operation note. It is important for you to realise that there needs to be some record of the patients' details (a Bradmar or a photo of the surgeons' operation record) ideally in your own possession. This is for your own medico-legal protection and insurance defence, as well as CPD: for the latter, your own notes will also suffice. To keep track of your billing, it’s best that you have a MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) search application. These can be easily found online. I’ve personally used MBS search which is sponsored by MIGA as I’ve noticed it’s more frequently updated than other applications online. It is important to stay current, as the main thing that holds up billing is the incorrect use of groups of numbers although they are trained in certain specialties as being using just one number representing the entire operation (the main thing affecting billing can be quite different - watch for another post soon to find out how you could be losing money). A quick search on iTunes or Google Play will show you that there are application such as MBS Search or MBS Online that can easily be downloaded and used to check out the numbers. The best thing if you're using an application is to ensure that the application's last update was no more than a year ago and that you have separately documented the billing numbers that the surgeons have used at the time of surgery. Other billing providers may accept you taking photo and emailing it to them. NB: If sent through unsecured email, your email footer should include a confidentiality and privacy clause.
Documents, even in electronic format, are covered by the same Australian Privacy Principles. It's important for you to understand what parts of a document can and cannot be saved and must be recorded by you. I recommend an application like CamScanner, to assist you in quickly taking a photo and pdf for the purpose of transmission. For secure uploads and downloads of non-patient data, our business entrusts Dropbox and Google Drive; however, it must be noted that patient files and information have a requirement to be stored within Australia according to Australian Privacy Principles. Otherwise the business (ie you) who store it outside of Australia (including email servers located offshore) may be acting in violation of these Australian Privacy Principles. The other concern about security is to ensure that your phone with these patient information remains locked or only accessible by your trusted network. You may choose to use an encryption solution or you may choose to have a process in which you delete any information that has been sent.
For a very long time, surgical assistants have kept log books as to store Bradmars and their own notes on the patient’s details (eg did I put a catheter in?). How to keep this paper based book will be featured in the future article.