4 Ways to Boost Physicians' Efficiency in Surgery Centers

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Todd Borst, managing partner of Smithfield Surgical Partners in Northern California, identifies four ways to boost physician efficiency in ambulatory surgery centers.


1. Give fastest surgeons two ORs.
Allow a highly efficient surgeon to use two ORs at once. This will optimize his efficiency. "He can bounce back and forth between two rooms without any turnover issues," Mr. Borst says. Orthopedic and ENT procedures are best suited for tying up two rooms because they are more highly reimbursed. In addition to boosting volume, the arrangement is a way of keeping these highly prized surgeons loyal to the center. "Providing two ORs for one surgeon to use simultaneously is a rare and valuable offer," Mr. Borst says.

 

2. Book opposite specialties together. If a center books all high-volume specialties at once, such as all GI cases, the flow of patients can overwhelm the recovery area. To assure a steady flow of patients through the center, match GI or other high-volume cases with lower-volume cases, such as orthopedics, where cases take longer and patients don't back up as much. Another example would be matching pain, a high-volume specialty, with ENT, which is lower-volume.

 

This tactic can be challenging, Mr. Borst concedes. Matching specialties requires physicians to shift around schedules, which many of them are reluctant to do. "It's important to help physicians understand why we need this kind of flexibility," he says. Show how it would improve the center's income.

 

3. Compare preference items. The price variation for orthopedic surgeons' preferred anchor screws runs from $300 to $500 each. With that kind of cost differential, it's worthwhile to have a conversation with the higher-priced surgeon about why he or she feels the need to use the $500 screw.

 

4. Reallocate unused blocks. Physicians should be held accountable to their block times. Check to see if they are regularly using the blocks they were assigned. "If they are not using their block times, then you need to consider giving them to someone else," Mr. Borst says.

 

Learn more about Smithfield Surgical Partners.

 

Related Articles on Improving Efficiency in ASCs:

10 Proven Ways to Improve Surgery Center Efficiency

5 Best Practices to Enhance Productivity in an ASC

6 Best Practices to Ensure an Efficient GI Center


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