Anesthesia must adapt to the 'boutique' experience of ASCs, CEO says

Recent years have seen major changes in the ASC field, from the introduction of outpatient heart surgery and total hip replacement surgery to CMS flip-flopping on the inpatient-only list.

Phil Eichenholz, MD, CEO of anesthesia at Tacoma, Wash.-based Sound Physicians Anesthesia, told "Becker's ASC Review Podcast" the changes ASCs are experiencing are forcing anesthesia programs to adapt, too.

Note: This is an edited excerpt. Listen to the full podcast episode here.

Question: How does the growth in surgery center utilization require anesthesia programs to do things differently?

Dr. Phil Eichenholz: Not so long ago, and in many surgery centers still, one anesthesiologist comes and takes care of one surgeon. That's an outmoded way of looking at it, and we need to say, 'What's more efficient and what's more cost effective?' I think the answer increasingly is anesthesia care teams, meaning anesthesiologists working in concert with a number of CRNAs all at one point. 

But it has to be very much a consumer experience. The expectation is that when [patients] come to a surgery center, they want to be treated as kindly as if they were to come to a boutique. It has to be very patient-centric, very kind, very comforting, very secure. And at the same time the patients go, 'I want to get in, I want to get out and I want everything to go well.'

And by the way, the surgeons are thinking the same thing, and they are also the consumers here. They've got huge demands on their time. So if they're coming in the morning and they've got office appointments in the afternoon, they want to be able to come in and get out and get to their office and attend to their patients.

So consequently, we're moving toward a much more team-like approach.

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