What Can ASC Administrators Learn From Football Coaches?At the 19th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference in Chicago on Oct. 25, Joseph Zasa, JD, partner, ASD Management, and Thomas K. Miller, MD, medical director, Roanoke (Va.) Ambulatory Surgery Center and Carilion Clinic Orthopaedics, discussed essential actions for ASC improvement and likened each action to that of a football coach.
"Being a head coach of a football team is not too different from being an administrator of a surgery center," said Mr. Zasa.
Here are six key elements of a successful football program that also impact the success of ASCs.
1. Culture of team. According to Dr. Miller, the most important similarity between achieving success in football and in ASC management is culture. "It pretty much is a culture issue," he said. "Everyone has a vested interest in success."
2. Game plan. "There has to be a strategic direction," Dr. Miller said. This means every surgery center needs a long-term strategy and long-term mission.
3. Systems of operation. Just like offense and defense have their own jobs but must work together, so must various areas within the surgery center, explained Dr. Miller.
4. Recruiting. Recruiting must be done with a fit for the system and culture in mind, he noted.
5. Daily drills. Just as football players must perform daily drills to hone their skills, ASC staff must focus on defined tasks and repeat them for improvement.
6. Review. While ASC administrators don't review game tapes, they must review benchmarks and other measures. Administrators must perform "consistent review of what has worked and what hasn't," said Mr. Miller.
Mr. Zasa then shared four "SURE" elements of a successful football or ASC "program."
System. A system is all about the structure and processes in place required for operating the business. For ASCs the "system" includes billing, coding, collecting, scheduling, risk management, clinical improvement and much more. The "system" is shared via the center's policies and procedures.
Understanding. Once a system is in place, administrators must ensure the staff actually understand the policy and procedures. If staff members can't understand them, they can't follow them. "The staff has got to understand the system," Mr. Zasa said.
Recruiting. "Just because some doctor does a lot of cases is not necessarily the right reason to recruit that surgeon," he said. There needs to be congruence with the center's culture and the values of each physicians and staff member.
Executing. Once the system is in place and staff that aligns with the culture is recruited, the only thing left to do is execute. :Executing is about completing a series of small tasks that create success in the long run," said Mr. Zasa.
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