While much of the conversation today concerning healthcare focuses on rising costs, stagnant quality, declining access and discouraged providers, the migration of surgical care out of the inpatient setting and into office-based surgical practices represents a silver lining.
Within this setting, when clinical performance is held to the highest standards, patients receive quality, efficient and cost-effective care. Physicians maintain greater control of their staff and equipment, supporting efforts to ensure procedures are performed consistently and with high efficacy. Hospitals can better concentrate their efforts on the most complex treatments and more urgent health issues.
As higher acuity procedures move to outpatient facilities at historic rates, ambulatory surgery is proving itself as the optimal model for elective care. Physicians in office-based surgical practices are performing a growing number of surgeries in specialties that include urology, ENT, orthopedics, gastroenterology, and gynecology. In just the past few years, patients have safely undergone millions of procedures such as UroLift (for treatment of an enlarged prostate), balloon sinuplasty, shoulder and knee arthroscopy, ACL repairs, and polyp removal, and endometrial ablation in these settings with exceptional outcomes.
If office-based surgical practices want to continue to represent the ideal solution for outpatient surgical care, they must remain committed to a quality-based, patient-centered model of care that adheres to appropriate, necessary systems. Organizations need to embrace checks and balances and the importance of following strict clinical protocols that always keep patient safety and positive outcomes as the highest priorities.
Processes must be established for proper credentialing, privileging and peer review of all providers. Emergency preparedness cannot be viewed as a low priority. Rather, it is essential that facilities are fully prepared for the unexpected. This should include ensuring members of their clinical team are trained in ACLS (and PALS, if applicable) and the availability of an appropriately stocked crash cart, with items such as a defibrillator, emergency suction device, dantrolene and succinylcholine. The maintaining of appropriate equipment must be considered the norm.
Achieving this level of effectiveness and preparation does not happen in a vacuum. It entails hard work and a willingness to accept outside support. It also requires an understanding that to attain growth and sustainability, one must embrace consistent reevaluation of performance to find improvement opportunities and reduce risks that can derail an organization’s mission and promise to its patients.
At Mobile Anesthesiologists, we consider ourselves part of the answer to ensuring safety and quality in the outpatient surgical arena. We take tremendous pride in working closely with our partner practices to accomplish their clinical and operational objectives while helping maintain the low-cost, high-efficiency model that allows these facilities to achieve long-term viability. We look forward to continuing our support of our partners’ efforts to be the gold standard in healthcare.