In a previous blog post, the idea of machines taking over the job of an anesthesiologist was discussed. Although we believed this was far off, a few new machines were beginning to gain popularity in the medical world. Just recently, however, sales of the Sedasy machine, made by Johnson & Johnson, have been stopped. Johnson & Johnson says halted sales are due to poor sales and cost cuts within the company which means the concept of facilities using machines over anesthesiologists is still far off. To refresh your memory, the most popular of these devices is called Sedasys, an open-loop system that can administer the initial dose of anesthesia a patient needs, favoring machines over anesthesiologists. The machine was developed to be used for patients undergoing endoscopies and colonoscopies. The dosage of medicine is predetermined by the patient’s weight and age, and the machine can reduce or stop drug delivery depending on the patient’s condition. The machine, however, cannot decide alone how much anesthesia the patient needs, and the dosage can only be increased by the doctor or nurse that is monitoring in case of emergencies. This more conservative approach is what offered comfort to regulators and helped win the approval of the FDA. Johnson & Johnson believed, at first, that the Sedasys system would be a cost efficient way to administer anesthesia, but the machine was quickly fought against by many medical professionals, especially anesthesiologists. Many were concerned that choosing machines over anesthesiologists would begin a less humanistic approach, which many people did not like. Safety concerns were also an issue. “While the Sedasys System can safely administer sedation for healthy patients undergoing the procedures mentioned, emergencies can and do occur, even during the simplest procedures and with the healthiest patients,” Jeffrey Apfelbaum, co-chair of the ASA committee on the Sedasys machine, said in a 2015 interview with Medscape. “Additionally, many have concerns for the safety of patients if device operators do not remain in strict compliance with the limitations imposed by the FDA on the use of the device.” While choosing the Sedasys machine over anesthesiologists is no longer an option as they are no longer being produced or sold, there are still others on the market, and new machines may begin to pop up. However, it still seems that something like this will never be accepted universally by medical professionals. As the fastest growing Anesthesia Management Solution in the midwest, Steel City Anesthesia offers more than just anesthesia services. We strive to provide exceptional patient satisfaction and meet anesthesia needs with a personal touch that will never be able to be replaced by a machine.
The last of this four part series striking down the myths behind the use of an anesthesia management solutions focuses on time. Many facilities are of the mindset that by having their own, in-house anesthesia team provides them with the most flexible option as it relates to availability and time. However, regional anesthesia management solutions actually have the ability to offer improved flexibility as it relates to anesthesia services.
In today’s world, every company is being asked to take on more responsibilities with the same or, unfortunately, sometimes even less resources. Finding cost efficiencies does not always mean going without something; it sometimes means absorbing the workload in another area. The world of healthcare, and anesthesia, is not immune to this practice.
“That’s like comparing apples to oranges.” How many times have you heard or even used this expression? In medicine, no two patients, no two hospitals, not two…well, anything is the same. So why do so many healthcare facilities still use the excuse that there isn’t any difference between anesthesia management solutions organizations?
Opportunities arise daily where facilities can improve the management of anesthesia care. The passage of the Affordable Care Act may appear to have resulted in “affordable care” for everyone, but for hospitals, surgery facilities or healthcare practices, it has created more challenges than many believed it would. The game has changed from clear standards to blurred lines consisting of regulatory issues that make the possibility of being compliant more and more difficult. When this happens, facilities look towards third party solutions to help make sense of it all.
There is a difference between providing anesthesia services and being an anesthesia management company. As more and more facilities are being penalized for not taking proper precautions to prevent patient infections and other complications considered by the government to be unavoidable, hospitals are at risk for losing millions of dollars in Medicare reimbursements. It is imperative for hospital executives to focus on ways to maximize revenue while continuing to improve quality of care in the ever changing and challenging world of healthcare. Anesthesia services make up one of the biggest opportunities where a review can prove to have an untapped source of additional financial benefits for these facilities.
The biggest factors that inflate anesthesia-related costs are insufficient OR room utilization and provider productivity. OR utilization is a measure of use of an operating room that is appropriately staffed with personnel to successfully deliver a surgical procedure to a patient. Improvements in OR efficiency can have a major impact on hospital staff, finances and OR management. Outsourced anesthesia is one way to increase the efficiency of staffing and care delivery.
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