Change is rarely easy. People get comfortable in their ways. In business, implementing a new and different policy or procedure presents a challenge, especially when it threatens to disrupt a major source of revenue. One reason for the difficulty in implementation, from an executive perspective, may be lack of experience managing change. This is often the case when a hospital makes the decision to switch its anesthesia group. It’s also the reason why many opt not to change.
Given the critical nature of anesthesia services and the role they play along the care continuum, and against the backdrop of all the changes taking place around compliance, avoiding a good look at your group may no longer be an option if you want to remain financially viable.
The following tips will guide a review and mitigate any pain in the process:
- Make sure the group’s head possesses good clinical, people and business management skills. S/he must align the department’s goals and objectives with the hospital’s. If the goals aren’t aligned, the outcome won’t be positive.
- Look for on-site administration and flexibility in the group when it comes to keeping the OR running smoothly. This will also require a leader who possesses a fair amount of diplomacy.
- You want team players. Since the OR is such a critical source of revenue, surgeons are key stakeholders. Good group leaders will manage their relationship with surgeons so the OR runs efficiently. They also will see to it that members of the department function as active participants in hospital operations, attending meetings and sitting on committees, such as clinical quality and strategic planning.
- Don’t overlook the finances. Anesthesia services impact a hospital’s bottom line, so seek a group with strong financial management skills. Pay attention to the areas of payer contracting, billing and collections, and provider compensation. The right group will also be comfortable with pay-for-performance initiatives.
- Dedication to quality improvement. Every member of the anesthesia group should fully support and/or lead initiatives that strengthen compliance with all regulatory guidelines. Focus should be placed on the areas of professional practice, reporting capabilities, and quality management programs.
- Optimal delivery of clinical services. Staff shortages are straining anesthesia resources at a time when demand for the service is growing. Not a good combination. A smart anesthesia team has a formula that provides adequate coverage, decreases OR turnaround time, and improves on-time case starts.
- Choose the right model. The right mix of qualified anesthesia providers will generate efficiency and improve overall performance. Both can affect finances.
The disruption that continues in healthcare today demands professionals who are knowledgeable, flexible, and prepared for ongoing challenges. Anesthesia groups need to be all in. Is yours?
Thinking about switching your anesthesia group? Read this full set of guidelines before getting started.
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