The role of IT in orthopedic patient satisfaction: Q&A with Twin Cities Orthopedics' IT manager

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

Jacob Kaufmann, IT manager for Twin Cities Orthopedics, based in Minneapolis, recently earned recognition from the practice for his contribution to improving patient satisfaction.

As the IT manager, Mr. Kaufmann has had a huge impact on patient experience from behind the scenes and has made a difference by championing new technology to streamline case communication. Here, Mr. Kaufmann discusses the role of IT in improving patient satisfaction and the overall care experience.

Question: How does your role in the health IT space contribute to TCO's ability to provide quality care for patients?

Jacob Kaufmann: Patients may not think of an IT person behind the scenes playing a role in providing quality care, but there are many elements from the IT perspective that help to ensure a patient has their best experience. Primarily, my team and I support and manage TCO's EHR, physician dictation system, scheduling system and more. The software behind each of these programs helps to make the entire patient experience more efficient and streamlined so physicians and others can put more focus toward the patient. For example, through our scheduling system, the entire care team can track a patient’s progress easily and [can] also communicate that to the patient’s family.

Q: What are the significant projects you've worked on that allow clinicians to provide better patient care?

JK: One important project has been the implementation of a web-based surgery coordination technology that offers patient track boards and collaborative scheduling software. The track boards have allowed staff to keep the patients, their families and clinicians updated on the progress of a patient during their day of surgery. This keeps the clinicians more prepared as the patient moves from one area of the center to the next and the families more informed with less need to ask staff about their status. The collaborative scheduling solution has made it easier than ever for doctors to schedule surgeries at the center quickly and accurately. The system also proactively updates surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and vendors of changes to upcoming cases so they are not showing up at incorrect times if a time moves or a case is cancelled.

The implementation of the Casetabs technology has had a big impact on patient satisfaction. So much so that it resulted in Mr. Kaufman being named the "Be the Difference" winner — an award Twin Cities Orthopedics created to reflect the company's commitment to make TCO a great place for both patients and employees, measured by patient and employee satisfaction.

Q: How can health IT improve the patient experience?

JK: Ultimately, health IT streamlines the process for clinicians, nursing staff, doctors and others in the surgery center, so they can focus more attention on the patient to deliver quality care. Health IT also extends beyond the surgery room.

Q: Where do you see the biggest opportunity for IT to improve healthcare in the future?

JK: I see the biggest opportunities in the combination of streamlining processes and removing redundancies, which can help in eliminating dated and time-consuming tasks such as digging for paperwork and even deciphering handwriting. IT can make the process that much more efficient and essentially give back time to the care team so they can focus on what really matters — the patient.

More articles on orthopedics:
Dr. James Ware joins MidMichigan Physicians Group: 3 details
Iowa Specialty Hospital welcomes orthopedic surgeon: 3 things to know
Drs. David Evanich, Chris Evanich perform 59 total joints in a week


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