A Hospital’s Guide for Evaluating Your Anesthesia Department

Whether your anesthesia group has been in place for decades or for days, evaluation is essential. As a hospital administrator, your duty is to ensure that your facility is receiving the best anesthesia service possible at a fair price. But how can you be sure? We’ve assembled a guide for evaluating your anesthesia department that will help shed light on whether its leadership, quality, financial arrangements and clinical skills are a good match for your hospital.

Metrics to Track and Evaluate

We know how important data is to hospital administrators. While you are likely tracking quality and OR utilization metrics in-house, is your anesthesia group sharing their own data with you? If your anesthesia group does not have an open-book policy when it comes to financial and clinical data, you should press them for this information. There are also other ways you can gauge the success of your anesthesia group, including:

Leadership Effectiveness

Your anesthesia department should have a vested interest in the success of your facility. To help guide your facility toward achieving its goals, ask yourself:

  • Is the anesthesia group aligned with my hospital’s mission and goals?
  • Is there an anesthesia leader that serves as the “face” of the department?
  • Are anesthesiologists and CRNAs involved in my hospital’s overall strategy through committee involvement?
  • Am I satisfied that the group is aligned with my hospital’s overall business goals?

You should be able to answer “yes” to all these questions. If not, your anesthesia department is lacking in leadership and may be operating as though it is simply a service provider rather than a strategic partner in your facility.

Quality and Experience

Anesthesia groups should be responsible for more than simply anesthetizing patients. They should be responsible for their own compliance and quality-monitoring efforts and have policies and procedures in place to ensure positive outcomes. To gauge their commitment to quality, determine:

  • Is the anesthesia group measuring quality and identifying areas for improvement?
  • Is the anesthesia group regularly collecting and tracking data?
  • Does the anesthesia group have a formal quality-improvement program in place?
  • Are there standard operating procedures based on evidence-based practices?
  • Are your current anesthesia providers meeting expectations for providing quality care and customer service to surgeons, patients, perioperative staff members and hospital administration?
  • Are your surgeons satisfied with the daily anesthesia experience they are receiving?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, your anesthesia group’s quality and compliance efforts are subpar.

Financial Health

The financial health of your anesthesia department is important to understand when it comes to your overall budget and your ability to make accurate financial projections. Regarding finances, you should consider:

  • What is the current revenue and what are the expenses of the anesthesia department?
  • Is there an anesthesia subsidy paid? If so, why?
  • Are you certain that your hospital is paying a fair and equitable subsidy for the anesthesia service being provided?
  • What is the anesthesia group’s ability to bill and collect?
  • What staffing model is being used? Is it the most efficient?

If your anesthesia group challenges your right to learn more about the department’s financial health, that could be cause for concern.

Clinical Outcomes

Above all, patient safety is the most important element of evaluating your anesthesia department. Whether your anesthesia department has been responsible for a bad outcome or not, keeping a close watch on clinical data from your anesthesia department is a good idea. Ask your surgeons and other OR staff members:

  • Are the anesthesia leaders who are running the OR clinically competent?
  • Do they offer the newest types of services?
  • Are they partnering effectively with OR management and nurses?
  • Do anesthesia providers have the systems, processes and tools in place to manage and control costs?

Answering “yes” to all these questions is vital. Anesthesia is a rapidly evolving specialty with new evidence routinely challenging the status quo. Your anesthesia providers should be well informed and clinically competent in the latest innovations in anesthesia. They should also be working together with other OR staff members.

Does Your Anesthesia Department Have Room for Improvement?

After evaluating your anesthesia department with this guide, are you realizing there is room for improvement? CCI Anesthesia has been in the business of improving anesthesia departments since 2004. Privately owned, with no venture capitalists pressing us for wider margins, we can provide our clients with exactly what they need: a better anesthesia service at a cost that makes sense. Call us today at 800-494-3948 to get started.