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Understanding Key Anesthesia Metrics | Anesthesia Staff and Operating Room Efficiency

When seeking to improve the performance of your anesthesiology practice knowing what to focus on is crucial. Through our decades of work with practices of all sizes, we’ve identified key factors that have the greatest impact your financial health. By focusing on these you can see a massive improvement in profitability.

Understanding key anesthesia metrics helps you increase your practice’s profitability.

One of these key factors is staff efficiency. In this post, we examine the impact of operating room efficiency and provide insights on how to effectively measure and manage the metrics associated with this key variable in practice success.

How Staffing Impacts Operating Room Efficiency

Many anesthesiology practices are effectively overstaffed because hospitals often require you to have a certain number of staff available for shifts, whether or not they actually need them. This requirement means your staff are regularly underutilized. This brings additional consequences such as reduced operating room efficiency, higher staff salaries, and bored anesthesiologists, all of which negatively impact a practice’s bottom line.

To address this problem, we recommend you work with your hospitals to determine whether certain shifts are being overstaffed and negotiate appropriate financial arrangements. For example, in a scenario where the hospital requires that you staff a particular shift with two anesthesiologists but has only used
that shift 11% of the time in the past year – this can work, but the hospital needs to pay for that privilege. With data in hand, you can negotiate a subsidy.

The Numbers

Moving from 55% to 80% staff utilization causes a dramatic shift in profitability. Assuming this shift happens in a 22-MD practice, that amounts to a $5 million swing that can make the difference between relying on a hospital handout versus making a healthy profit for each partner after paying out salaries.

Key takeaway: Document and communicate shifts on which efficiency is lower than optimal (usually around 75% to 80%) and have the hospital alter their requirements or compensate the group for lost income.

Arm Yourself with Data

At Fusion Anesthesia, we equip all our groups with an up-to-date analysis of which shifts have high utilization and which don’t. This paves the way for win-win negotiations where hospitals and groups can make rational staffing decisions that maximize operating room efficiency and lower the strain on MDs while decreasing costly financial subsidies for the hospitals. Ask your billing company or internal analysts to provide you with similar data on a regular basis.

It’s critical to ensure that your operating room efficiency and staff utilization is within the standard range. If you’re not certain whether either are within range for your region, contact us. We’d be happy to talk about what we’re seeing in the market

Want to see how this plays out in your own practice?

We have a tool for that. Our efficiency calculator allows you to enter data from your own practice to gauge how changes in specific variables impact these metrics and overall profitability. For example, you can model the impact of specific staff utilization rates, increase or decrease in your group’s government work as compared to private payors, changes in vacation schedules, etc.

Check out the efficiency calculator

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Anesthesia jokes are funny - getting underpaid isn′t.

Contact us to learn how you can maximize your take home.

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