It’s no secret that surgical departments across the country are experiencing a sharp shift in dynamics concerning anesthesia service providers. Approximately 25% of anesthesia providers have retired in the last 36 months, while MGMA reports a median increase of 24% in anesthesia compensation during the previous 36 months. Hospitals are overwhelmed, and the problem worsens as leaders grapple with negotiating anesthesia contracts that far exceed previous contract amounts. Beyond outright negotiating with anesthesia providers, hospitals can address these shifting dynamics by auditing their current practices, assessing levels of utilization and productivity, and developing a balanced scorecard.
How Can Hospitals Respond to Shifting Dynamics?
In the face of current dynamics, Sullivan Healthcare Consultants (SHC) can assess your situation and determine the right mix of anesthesia providers and staff on a daily/hourly basis—all benchmarked against one of the largest databases of individual surgical records in the world.
SHC President Randy Heiser, MA, offers these insights: “Sullivan’s extensive database is one of our greatest strengths—translating data points into actionable recommendations. Those data points come from several systems originally derived from hospitals and include data from operating scheduling, financial systems, electronic medical records, materials management, contracts, and payroll systems. From audit to implementation, our reports are assembled with confidence.”
- Validating the anesthesia care model that is required for anesthetizing locations with special attention to anesthesia and CRNA utilization levels
- Enlightening administrators and anesthesia providers on what SHC is seeing in the industry nationally and sharing the necessary moves to accommodate the increase of salaries and decrease of anesthesia providers
- Examining levels of care and coverage plans to ensure the hospital is operating at the highest productivity levels (see block scheduling)
SHC experts can assist with developing a balanced scorecard that will move the organization forward while level setting expectations on what the market demands.
Fulfilling the Healthcare Demand
“Surgery and surgical services departments are very complex. There is no one number to measure everything; however, SHC possesses the expertise, first-hand experience, and robust data sets to adequately address the most complex of challenges,” according to Heiser.
How we translate rich data into actionable insights:
Utilization – There is a delicate balance to be struck between utilization and productivity. Sullivan’s team of experts actively seek additional opportunities for optimization, like cross-examining the number of surgeon cases to utilization and productivity rates.
Analysis of Throughput – Our team further leverages our robust database to examine patient care to a granular degree with clarity into what’s happening on a daily/hourly basis with the ability to cross-compare different days of the week. This is especially helpful when spotting variability in resource consumption. With this information, we help adjust and reallocate resources to other days of the week based on demand, generating models that can show how to best manage resources specific to hours and days of the week.
Staffing – It’s important to examine unique staffing models and to look at surgical services based on the demand of actual cases being performed, match nursing staff, sterile processing staff, other clinical supports, scheduling staff, etc. Sullivan’s proven models can pinpoint the number of trays being processed, variability based on production measures of the department, staffing number, and recommend what needs to shift. Our pre-op and post-op models examine historical volume by the hour of the day and are based on the nurse to patient ratio (patient care demand) to identify total staff needed by the hour of the day and days of the week. We can analyze very detailed individual procedures performed by each surgeon to provide improvement benchmarks. Each model we generate can be as specific as minutes in the day, factoring in multiple scenarios and staffing requirements.
Scheduling – Sullivan’s database can identify target utilization rates based on thorough analysis and determine correct staffing coverage to address differences. Sometimes adjusting FTEs is enough, but this isn’t always the case. In response, SHC can propose creative solutions to improve throughput to produce more volume and generate greater revenue. From the obvious issues of average OR time being twice as long as it should be, to more nuanced complexities, like leaning on CRNAs to practice more independently—our perioperative experts will find the issue and pose a solution.
We can do this in multiple ways:
- Benchmark individual providers against the aggregate of providers
- Compare providers against a select group of comparable hospitals
- Evaluate overall hospital performance vs. regional or national
SHC’s team of seasoned, leading-edge perioperative experts helps healthcare organizations manage to higher margins by optimizing surgical services. The process is simple: assess and benchmark all perioperative services and their interdependencies, clearly identify what isn’t working, build consensus for a best-practice-based solution, and help all stakeholders work together to correct it. Sullivan’s recommendations are always realistic, achievable, and sustainable over the long haul.
Contact our team today to tap into our robust data sets and vast perioperative knowledge.