How to Reduce Costs in Anesthesia Workflows

Anesthesia is one of the most expensive departments in a hospital setting. This is probably because of its complicated workflows, which can sometimes be hard to manage. Reducing costs in the Anesthesia workflow can help increase efficiency and promote better patient care. This boils down to rethinking the Anesthesia workflows right from patient access to billing and care delivery to every other aspect that impacts the department. That can help reduce costs and the time wasted in dealing with delays, improve patient experience, and ultimately, help anesthesia centers regain their financial equilibrium.

 

That said, here are a few effective ways anesthesia departments can use to reduce operational constraints and streamline their workflows.

 

Rethink Every Aspect of Anesthesia Workflow

 

One of the best ways to minimize costs is to check and adjust current hospital designs. The facilities should assign jobs that allow team members to practice based on the scope of their experience and license. This can help non-clinical staff focus their energy and attention on tasks like registration responsibilities and patient scheduling, allowing nurses to concentrate on making screening calls.

 

On the other hand, medical assistants should focus on getting patient vitals to allow nurse practitioners to conduct physical examinations and work on patient histories. Another crucial aspect of restructuring is the flow of patients. Operation departments should standardize patient visits and flow, including scheduling times, built-in appointments, and visit workflows. This can help save the time spent on each patient, which can save a lot of money.

 

Enhancing OR Efficiency

 

Operating Room (OR) turnaround time plays a critical role in maximizing your perioperative program efficiency. You can leverage an operation care team model to reduce the time wasted between the ORs waiting and delaying the operation procedure, allowing the physician or doctor to care for multiple patients. Essentially, the anesthesia care model consists of two or more certified registered nurse anesthetists, plus an anesthesiologist. This model can help streamline OR turnover and improve efficiency, facilitating patient and surgeon satisfaction. It could also save time and revenue, which you could have otherwise spent on additional surgical procedures.

 

Rethink CRNA Compensation

 

If you’re operating on a strained budget, you may need to re-evaluate your compensation program for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. Even though these professionals will remain crucial of many anesthesia crews, the hourly pay rate and overtime structures many facilities use to pay them can take a toll on the hospital revenues and strain operations, affecting the overall performance and patient experience.

 

Consider converting the CRNAs to salaried professionals, with incentive packages available depending on hours worked, units generated, and other performance-based parameters. Research also indicates that hospitals and anesthesia centers that use salary programs deal with lower staffing costs than those that use hourly compensation packages.

 

Manage the Pre-admission Testing Process

 

One of the best ways to avoid delays is to ensure a streamlined process and management of pre-surgical tests and consultations. You should ensure the operation cases start as earlier as scheduled. At some anesthesia facilities, patients may be scheduled to arrive at 7: 00 AM for 9:00 AM surgery only to realize that they need to undergo additional lab tests before going to the operation room. This can be a frustrating experience for patients.

 

You can avoid such situations by developing a sense of ownership for the pre-admission testing program. This will help your anesthesia team to manage the process more effectively and avoid last-minute rush or delays. That is also a great way to prevent cancellations and ensure controlled processes and procedures. Pre-admission testing processes should be completed at least three days before any surgical procedure and should focus on optimizing patient experience to avoid unnecessary hiccups.