Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is tasked with transforming our healthcare system from a fee-for-service model to a value-based system driven by the goals of access, affordability, and quality. Initiatives and legislation linked to Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs, such as the Health Insurance Marketplace and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, have all but upended our healthcare system, sending providers, payers, and patients scrambling to understand and manage the changes.
When Richard Lawson talks with young people about their future, he sometimes suggests a stint in the military. Other times he suggests a career in the medical field. And sometimes, he suggests both. These are not just casual recommendations—he speaks from experience. Technical Sergeant Lawson is a military veteran and a member of the Kentucky Air National Guard. He is also a SpecialtyCare perfusionist. His discipline and dedication over the years has resulted in not just one, but two, meaningful and impressive careers.
Estimates vary when calculating the money lost to fraud—it’s difficult to measure that which is undetected—but the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) states that healthcare fraud costs the country tens of billions of dollars each year. Paying for law enforcement, legal resources, and sophisticated technology to combat the problem adds to the price tag. Taxpayers and employers endure the financial brunt of fraud, but illegal schemes can also put patient health at risk. Clearly, healthcare fraud is not a victimless crime.
It’s not surprising that surgeons report high levels of burnout and a lack of professional satisfaction; nor is it surprising that the problem is getting worse. This creates concern for both the well-being of surgeons and the quality of patient care. As with other problems that might seem overwhelming, however, small adjustments can make a big difference. Here are some ways you can move the needle on surgeon satisfaction and, by extension, create efficiencies, lower costs, and realize better patient outcomes.
Our intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) research studies show that IONM helps keep patients safe during surgery, decreases complications, and reduces costs associated with the use of analgesics, length of hospital stay, neurorehabilitation, and long-term chronic care. One such study, Neurologic Outcomes Following Differential Resolution of Neuromonitoring Alerts during Extradural Spine Surgery, examines the relationship between reversal of intraoperative neurophysiologic change and neurologic outcome following segmental spine surgery.
Building a highly talented clinical workforce is imperative for providing the best possible patient outcomes. We know, however, that the most passionate and effective healthcare professionals offer much more than clinical competence and they look for value in their work that extends beyond excellence in clinical care. They look for the intangibles and meaningful connections that prompted them to choose healthcare as a profession in the first place. Our goal is to sustain a culture where our people can thrive and find satisfaction, both personally and professionally.
The source of nosocomial infections can be elusive. For investigators, infections stemming from slow-growing bacteria are particularly difficult to identify and combat when symptoms do not present for months, or sometimes even years, after exposure. Add to these challenges the severity of potentially deadly infections and a bacterial outbreak can have devastating consequences. Such is the case with nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM).
Excellence in sterile processing management is fundamental to a well-run operating room. It supports on-time starts, surgeon satisfaction, and overall efficiency—all of which translate to financial results. But, most importantly, effective sterile processing management reduces the occurrence of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs), which can significantly harm the patients entrusted to your care.
Today, the need for continuous improvement is a given. How can we do more with less, but not sacrifice quality? Ultimately, how can we deliver greater value? That is the core idea of value-based payment models now being tested across the country and lies at the heart of the mandatory cardiac bundles recently proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Getting the highest quality from all components of a bundled service is paramount. One such component, cardiovascular perfusion, can have a significant impact on outcomes, recovery, and readmissions. But, how do you know that the perfusionists in your OR are capable of driving value and helping you achieve your quality goals?
Surgeons will tell you that trust is a key driver of satisfaction with IONM services—trust that the IONM professionals will be present and ready as an integrated part of the team whenever they’re needed, trust to establish meaningful baselines before surgery, and trust to provide knowledgeable and confident support in the most crucial moments during surgery. When vetting a potential IONM provider, future trustworthiness might seem difficult to assess, but there are many indicators that will help you be confident that you’re making the right decision.