In today’s healthcare management climate, multiple factors are contributing to many hospitals and surgery centers changing anesthesia management providers. Some of these factors include the continuing trend of consolidation among anesthesia groups and management companies, a larger provider shortage among both anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists, and an increased demand from facilities for more cost-effective operations from their anesthesia group. When a facility chooses to go with a different anesthesia management company, it is a major decision that will be felt by the facility, surgeons, prior anesthesia group and the new anesthesia group. These transitions are typically very taxing on all parties involved. All things considered, I believe there are three transitional elements a new anesthesia group should focus on to make the transition as smooth and seamless as possible.
– ENGAGED LEADERSHIP –
The first key to a smooth transition is engaged, hands-on leadership. This leadership comes from the group’s executive team and the potentially new clinical leaders who are hired for the group as it moves forward at the facility. As transitioning an anesthesia department is a very complex and difficult task, it is imperative for new leaders to have the correct skill set and experience to take on the challenge. Any anesthesia transition likely leads to a culture change (hopefully for the better), and many new anesthesia providers will likely be hired. The new medical director and chief CRNA for the anesthesia department must be highly skilled in their abilities to retain the anesthesia providers they feel will be a good fit going forward and in their abilities to recruit at a high level to avoid any interruptions in surgical services. Recruiting and retaining anesthesia providers is a real challenge in today’s market, so anesthesia group leadership must bring the right values and earn the trust of the staff, surgeons and facility administrators quickly.
– HAVE A PLAN –
The second key to a smooth transition is to present a clear plan with strategic goals and milestones. This transition plan should outline what the first day, week, month, quarter, and year should look like once the new group has transitioned. Medical staff, surgery staff, and administration should be included in this planning effort as important stakeholders in anesthesia management. Setting goals and milestones will ensure all stakeholder goals are achieved on time, with progress being reported to administrators and surgical staff in monthly or quarterly review meetings.
– COMMUNICATE CONSISTENTLY –
Speaking of review meetings, the third key to a smooth transition is effective, consistent communication. A successful transition requires anesthesia department leaders to communicate clearly with the anesthesia staff, surgeons, OR staff and administrators. Expectations of the OR flow and schedule should be laid out very clearly and any issues that arise—even small ones—should be addressed and corrected immediately. It is essential for the new anesthesia group to be aware of clear and achievable expectations daily, and anesthesia leadership should be participating in the OR and hospital committees as soon as possible. Your anesthesia management group should be your strategic partner, so it is important for anesthesia leaders to have a seat at the table when OR activities are being discussed.
The transition to a new anesthesia group is complex and can be difficult for all parties involved. The new group must bring great leadership, a clear plan for both the short-term and long-term deliverables and communicate diligently throughout the process. A strong focus on these three key points will provide a path for a smooth and efficient transition.
If your facility is interested in transitioning to a new, experienced anesthesia management group, contact us today. DPI’s transition process has proven to be successful time and time again as we experience growth. Every facility’s needs are unique, and our transition process allows us to take a customized approach to transitioning focused on improved efficiencies and shared successes.