A Pioneering Eye Surgery Center Continues to Pioneer


October 3, 2014

Submitted by Albert Castillo, Director of Business and Financial Development for San Antonio Eye Center and Executive Director of South Texas Total Eye Care. To submit an article about your surgery center please email Kent Jackson, Executive Director, using the following link: Member Article

San Antonio Eye Surgery Center opened its doors in 1981, pioneering what has emerged as a model for the delivery of ophthalmic surgical care

Dr. Dudley Harris

Dudley Harris, M.D.

Started by Dr. Dudley Harris even before the Carter Administration’s Omnibus Reconciliation Act that permitted doctors to build ASCs, Dr. Harris believed strongly that caring for eye surgery patients outside of the hospital was the best place to provide care. This pioneering doctor boldly moved forward and built a hospital type OR in his office—even though he received no ASC fee reimbursement.

Dr. Harris became a leader in the ophthalmology community as a charter member of OOSS. At the time OOSS was a tiny but pioneering organization of likeminded doctors, sharing the commitment to making surgery centers the new Centers of Excellence for ophthalmic care of the future.

Today the San Antonio Eye Surgery Center continues to be busy with six surgeons. The current Medical Director is Dr. Jason Zhao, and the OR Director of Nursing is Sandi Roegelein. The Administrator, Albert Castillo, has served on the OOSS Board and AAOE, and currently serves OOSS as the Member Services Consultant, continuing the legacy of Dr. Harris and his vision.

The San Antonio Eye Center team continually strives for improvement by seeking new ways to raise quality, become more efficient, and increase profitability. The surgery center recently moved to an integrated electronic medical records system. EMR opened a whole new world of management information for the surgeons, anesthesia staff, nurses, and administration in this already compact and highly efficient facility.

Albert Castillo

Albert Castillo

“Remember the days when we used to find our music by rummaging through record or tape collections? Today we have IPODs and computer cloud programs to access our music selections with ease. Similarly, EMR has opened a whole new world of management accessibility for our center. Even one of the oldest of centers continues to change…to find ways to pioneer.” according to Albert.

Not only are the charts accessible at all times, but they can also be seen on any computer or device that has internet access. This means that if a chart is incomplete, it can be accessed from the outside by the nurse or doctor.

With the various reports—including medical supply and IOL inventory—available at a click of a button, data is available to assess OR utilization over time, allowing the surgery center to run at maximum profitability.

Consequently, EMR is faster, more accurate, and less expensive than paper charts. Castillo investigated various EMR systems before selecting software designed specifically for the ophthalmic surgery setting. He consulted ophthalmic ASCs—and fellow OOSS members—who had been successfully using EMR for several years.   American SurgiSite Centers, long time members and partners of OOSS and operating nine eye ASCs in the northeast, had participated in the development of an EMR system well suited to the needs of San Antonio Eye Center and any ophthalmic ASC. And with the technical and management support of American SurgiSite, San Antonio Eye Center made yet another pioneering move… to integrate EMR for all the right reasons, to improve quality and efficiency.

By successfully vetting software, San Antonio’s entire system was installed and in use in less than 60 days. Using ophthalmic-specific EMR reduced charting time and network installation was seamless because the ASC software communicates with other EMR brands in the physician offices. Furthermore, individual surgeon profiles eliminated charting errors, with a complete medication formulary in drop down menu format.

As the years have passed, running an ASC has become more complex and challenging. San Antonio Eye Center has met those challenges for 37 years by staying on top of technology in the areas of personnel, medical equipment, and now 21st Century medical records. This pioneering ophthalmic surgery center, nestled in the elegant confines of a historical two-story mansion, continues to model the pioneering vision of Dr. Harris and a culture of surgeons and staff that share his dedication to that vision.

For more information contact Albert Castillo at acastillo@saeye.com.