If you were asked to name a business that isn’t doing more with less these days, odds are you might be hard pressed to name one. And, if you were able to name more than one, the likelihood is they can all be counted on one hand. Healthcare, despite its most noble mission, is no different.
Anesthesiology departments, which resemble a business unit within a corporation, must deploy bottom-line driven efficiencies that align with corporate strategies laid out by the hospital, ambulatory facility, or group practice to which they supply services. The fact that supporting their compensation often requires a subsidy from the institution with which they contract places them squarely in the role of cost center, a designation nobody wants these days.
Identifying and deploying operational efficiencies and being cost efficient is no small feat in the complex arena of anesthesiology. It requires impeccable data management (not easy in the era of big data), systems and processes (that need to be repeatable), and transparency (everyone knows everything) to demonstrate the value an anesthesiology department delivers to any healthcare institution.
True, compensation can account for the lion’s share of a subsidy, but that view needs to be seen through the lens of fair market value. Factors such as location, local labor market, need for anesthesia services, and work requirements all play a role in the cost of anesthesiology. Perhaps sharpening that focus is the need for optimal revenue-cycle management. Naturally, the goal is to generate the revenue necessary to cover the expense of this mission-critical service; achieving it takes skills that may fall outside the realm of the clinical.
Managing data the right way, timely reporting on performance, financials and other outcomes, and creating new revenue streams often takes assistance from a third party service provider who can facilitate all these activities and liaise between the clinicians and the facility. The right anesthesia managed service provider (MSO) can align the goals of both parties and ensure 360˚ success, partly because it’s easier to see the forest from outside, but also because they’ve done this many times before.
The role of the MSO is not to lower anesthesia subsidies by slashing compensation. It is to generate long-term stability of the anesthesia group, improve efficiencies, especially in the OR, and improve quality results. Achieving cost efficiencies and operational effectiveness isn’t about cutting salaries. Far from it.
Click here for the third and final installment in this series on Debunking Three Myths About Anesthesia MSOs, “They’re All The Same.”
Read all of Somnia Anesthesia’s posts here.