Value-Based Care: Anesthesia’s Role & How It’s Impacting You

Given all of the change and disruption going on in healthcare today, it is about being in front of the wave rather than waiting for it to swallow you whole. The focus on price transparency, patient education and input, safety and quality of care, and needing to show it with data means that what worked yesterday won’t work in the future. In the Yelp-based, consumer driven world that has engulfed everyone, what will differentiate you from your competitors in the market? Healthcare facilities and practices resolving to pursue a path towards sustainability and prosperity need to focus on how their operations and goals are aligned with value-based care and optimal patient experience – especially where M9’s and M10’s ratings are a necessity now. There is a large opportunity out there to be a big part of this future if you are ready to adapt and willing to commit. If not, be ready for the biggest long-term threat to your healthcare organization you have seen.

Facilities have the opportunity to separate themselves from their competition by demonstrably delivering reliable, safe, high-quality care at lower costs and those that do can expect to prosper. Facilities that refuse to realize the shift, risk a decrease in both patient volume and reimbursement. All it takes is one to two poor outcomes to lead to the potential loss of Medicare certification or surgery center licensure. On top of that now, the Population Health consumerism mission is driving an additional and dynamic impact to the industry that is causing a significant shift in who you need to impress and get approval from so the voice of the patient is stronger than ever.

In today’s healthcare world, avoiding a patient death, hospital transfers, or even lengthy recovery rooms are no longer enough. Other issues and complications such as infections, post-op nausea, schedule delays, billing questions, and medication mismanagement are under the microscope. With social media, online reviews, and word of mouth being as powerful and influential as ever, you are one mishap away from being questioned and second-guessed by your patient-base and referral channel. One area that can make or break you is anesthesia.

Anesthesia Matters

With tightening reimbursements, stricter regulations and growing competition for patients, a less-than-optimal anesthesia and surgical “partnership” will derail success in the growing procedure-based ambulatory care arena. Well-trained anesthesia staff that are equipped to handle any situation is vital to ensuring patient safety and optimizing patient satisfaction. You must not only make sure the patient is safe and physically okay, but that the public relations and customer service side is also at their best. There is a reason why many of the larger health systems and innovative organizations are poaching team members from hospitality and retail service giants like The Ritz, Disney, and Nordstrom’s to be their “VP of Patient Relations”. Can your anesthesia partner represent and align with this as well? The ability to perform and track both these areas is necessary to reap the financial benefits of the value-based initiative along with growing your patient referral sources.

Because every person is unique, a one-size-fits-all anesthesia style doesn’t work in the value-based model where patient satisfaction and safety are a priority. Anesthesia requires an individualized approach to patient care that involves meeting with patients pre- and postoperatively to ensure that the delivery of anesthesia meets each patient’s unique needs. Easily recognizable benefits of a positive anesthesia and perioperative experience include reduced anxiety, expedited recovery, educated patients, and eliminated post-op pain and nausea – all while minimizing cost. This directly connects with prioritizing the combination of safety and patient satisfaction that was mentioned earlier.

A facility’s anesthesia partner should easily be able to track and share key performance indicators in which they played a role. They should also be able to share additional insight into:

  • Reasons for case cancelations
  • Recovery time
  • Room turnover times
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Unusual occurrences
  • Hospital transfers
  • Patient callbacks
  • Patient balances
  • Postoperative pain and nausea/vomiting

This data will support benchmarking efforts and help to identify opportunities for improvement across the entire clinical workflow, along with setting your center apart from the competition.

Whether you’re outsourcing anesthesia services or keeping them in-house, don’t overlook anesthesia’s role in value-based care in today’s healthcare environment. Highly-trained staff with a proven track record of safety and patient experience is essential to any highly productive facility, as is the ability to track these successes using advanced data analytics.

With the right anesthesia team in place you will be one step closer to achieving and exceeding your quest to attain excellence in patient safety and satisfaction (key components of value-based care). And if you aren’t asking your anesthesia partner to prove their value in these important measures, you should be!

While there are still many unknowns when it comes to value-based care and pay for performance, particularly around quality metrics and technology, one thing is certain. Patient safety and a positive experience will be essential to succeed in today’s consumer-driven healthcare market. Not only will it be monitored, evidence and data will be necessary to establish yourself as a premier healthcare practice that patients will covet and seek out. Ask yourself if you have the right anesthesia partner to assist with measuring and trending this data, and determining what areas are vital to establishing an excellent quality and safety report card in the quest to attain that excellence to achieve your edge.


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