Insights on Modernizing Anesthesia Services




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Any of us would be hard pressed to identify one industry in which business is being conducted as it was even five years ago. Every market segment has become hyper-competitive and not having a differentiator can be a death knell. It’s a pretty safe bet that a majority of the shifts taking place are the result of the unending stream of disruptive technology that is permeating every facet of life. And if it’s not about technology, it’s likely driven by changes in a regulatory environment that calls for new paradigms.

In healthcare, the need to modernize anesthesia services to sustain financial viability has never been stronger. Designing a new anesthesia service model for today’s evolving healthcare landscape demands examining diverse delivery systems and implementing cost controls while maintaining strict oversight. Doing so isn’t as daunting if the task is broken down into four key areas.

1. Transformation Management

a. Competition is fierce and winning patient share in a marketplace that’s still unsettled isn’t easy. The Affordable Care Act injected consumers directly into the business model. Two key drivers of sustained success are accountability and transparency.

b. Escalating costs prompted payers, consumers and sponsors of health benefits to validate their  respective spends. Reimbursement is tied to performance and outcomes, both of which must be reported on with great transparency. Anesthesiologists must be accountable for theirs.

c. The right group management team, one that understands both the clinical and the business sides of anesthesia, can turn underperforming services into successful operations.

2Demystifying Anesthesia

a. Anesthesia is a critical, complex and nuanced specialty. It is also tied to a key revenue generator—the OR. As such, it is often left alone by hospital and ambulatory facility leadership.  While that independence isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unmonitored and inaccurate billing and revenue cycle management can negatively impact a healthcare system’s bottom line. Transparency is critical for financial success.  Service quality, compliance, operations and costs must be effectively managed, measured and reported by strong group leadership.

3The New Anesthesia

a. Today’s successful anesthesia services follow a plan to navigate these uncharted waters, have the right management expertise leading the group, and demonstrate ongoing value to the organization they serve.

b. Benchmark performance on an individual and a group basis against national measures to ensure your group is where it needs to be. Focus on areas such as productivity, clinical outcomes, and patient and surgeon satisfaction. Continuous monitoring improves performance and delivers accountability.

4. Know Your Partner Options

a. Not all anesthesia management providers are the same. They can be public companies, held by private equity groups, or be privately owned and operated. No matter the model, the one you choose should be a strategic partner whose goals align with yours.

b. Be sure the end result is better service and improved performance and outcomes.  If there are financial gains, you will want to know if they are reinvested in anesthesia services.

c. Demand ongoing, transparent reporting and accountability. Results should be quantifiable, not anecdotal.

d. If possible, find a group whose leadership holds industry recognition from groups such as the Anesthesia Quality Institute, The Joint Commission, or the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc.

Collaborating with the right anesthesia team will help transition the services you offer to the new model.

To find out if your anesthesia services are where they should be in today’s changing healthcare environment, read Somnia’s slidedoc, Modernizing Anesthesia in a Changing Healthcare Marketplace.

You can find all of Somnia Anesthesia’s posts here.

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