Imagine you’re riding a bicycle that slips a chain. It’s a basic fix, but you have to stop pedaling to do it. When your sterile processing chain slips, you don’t get to stop, and it’s very difficult to fix the bike yourself while you’re still pedaling. Hospital administrators and managers focused on continuous improvement are increasing attention on their sterile processing departments to improve quality, efficiency, surgeon satisfaction, and patient care. An outside sterile processing consultant who has the expertise to conduct a useful assessment and create and implement strategic plans can quickly jump start a quality improvement program without disrupting the department’s regular activities. This is a significant advantage over an in-house approach to improvement. As a result, many leading hospitals are engaging expert consultants for help.
To strengthen alignment among multiple surgical disciplines, the American Society of ExtraCorporeal Technology (AmSECT) and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) teamed up to present a terrific joint learning opportunity, holding AmSECT’s 55th International Conference in conjunction with the Centennial Meeting of the AATS in Boston. The integrated program was designed to improve care by bringing surgeons, perfusionists, and other experts together to foster effective communication and coordination in the operating room. The combined meeting was a great example of collaboration that advances quality through evidence-based learning and improvement. We are proud to have been part of this special event.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of trust and confidence in the operating room when so much is on the line. The surgeon needs to know that every member of the OR team is experienced and reliable. This is especially true of the surgical assistant, who serves as an extension of the physician before, during, and after the procedure. In addition to providing exceptional clinical skills, a valuable surgical assistant (SA) understands the surgeon’s preferences and enables a rhythm and a shorthand that promote successful patient outcomes and surgeon satisfaction.
Sometimes a few fundamental changes can breathe new life into an existing process and, as a result, enhance the performance of your surgeons and staff. Even if your routine is working relatively well, service line changes in your operating room can achieve improved results, such as higher levels of surgeon satisfaction and patient care quality, both of which can generate greater value for your organization and your patients. But any changes in and around the surgical suite need surgeon support to optimize success. Here are six guidelines to help engage surgeons as a first step toward project planning and improved performance.
Perfusion is an integral part of your hospital’s cardiovascular care program, but the overhead costs and administrative burden of maintaining and managing a team of reliable perfusionists with advanced skills can pose challenges for program administrators. It can be easy, however, to overlook both the indirect costs and benefits of clinical services. So, whether your perfusion is handled in-house or outsourced, we’ve developed a new guide, The Real Spend of Your Perfusion Program: Twelve Tips to Discover the True Value, to help you evaluate your program and any changes that you might be considering.
AORN 2017 was the place to be for perioperative registered nurses and others who share a continuing commitment to quality care. Nurses, and the hospitals they represent, are constantly looking for ways to improve patient outcomes while also reducing the cost of care. Both of these goals were addressed in some of the most talked-about educational sessions and posters presented during the conference. Cost containment and better clinical outcomes were also recurring themes among the 600 attendees who visited our booth. In addition to exhibiting, we hosted an educational networking dinner that featured a presentation on one of healthcare’s hottest topics—patient blood management (PBM).
A complex system offers a lot of places to hide bad behavior. Medicare and Medicaid—programs at the heart of the current healthcare debate—are particularly vulnerable to violations of Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and the False Claims Act. Nearly every day, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) issues details of individuals and hospitals being charged or convicted of healthcare fraud and abuse. Financial penalties and the possibility of imprisonment aside, damning headlines can destroy the bottom line and reputation of even the most respected providers. Compliance violations drive up healthcare costs and compromise patients who are overcharged or subjected to unnecessary tests and treatments.
Collaborating and sharing research findings and best practices with other medical professionals is one of the great pleasures of working in healthcare. Recently, the American Academy of Cardiovascular Perfusion’s 38th International Meeting gave SpecialtyCare’s Medical Office team members the opportunity to present two new papers to the perfusion community. One of the studies examines “The Effect of Ultrafiltration on End-Cardiopulmonary Bypass Hematocrit during Cardiac Surgery.” The purpose of this research was to evaluate the effect of ultrafiltration on end-cardiopulmonary bypass hematocrit by cardiac surgical procedure type. The findings are summarized in today’s blog.
Recently I attended the 2017 Annual Meeting of The American Academy of Cardiovascular Perfusion. The AACP, as always, offered strong educational content and a great opportunity to meet up with friends and colleagues. While there, I had the pleasure of presenting co-authored research on “The Effectiveness of Acute Normovolemic Hemodilution and Autologous Prime on Intraoperative Blood Management during Cardiac Surgery.” The AACP honored our team, which includes our perfusion associates and their tireless dedication to clinical excellence and data collection, by selecting this work as the meeting’s Best Paper. I encourage you to read the abstract for additional detail, but here’s a summary of our findings, which highlight the value of thoughtful perfusion strategies that can reduce the need for costly transfusions and increase the likelihood of better clinical outcomes.
Changes in reimbursement models are driving changes in operations, including data collection and reporting. Providers are being encouraged and incentivized to implement value-based care (VBC) that emphasizes cost savings and quality outcomes instead of the traditional fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursement model that pays according to the number of procedures performed. The idea is that when hospitals have financial incentives to be accountable for patient outcomes, then the comprehensive focus on quality will result in overall lower costs. Transitioning from FFS to VBC may be especially difficult for ORs with their high costs of procedures, but several strategies can help clear the path to progress.
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