This project was a significant component of the ASC’s strategic plan, she says. “Our average over 12 months was 99 percent satisfied. We only had a handful of negative com- ments, but we took them all very seriously and investigated each one to see if there was an opportunity for improvement.”

After completing its first year

of surveys, Risdorfer says the staff decided to continue benchmark- ing patient satisfaction. “That will be ongoing because as we bring new sur- geons on, we want to evaluate their patients’ satisfaction with the center.” She says the staff also chose to internally benchmark another area: surgeon tardiness. “We heard com- plaints from some of our surgeons that cases that followed a particular surgeon would typically start late.” To measure this metric, Risdorfer

says she developed a form for staff to fill out that identifies the performing surgeon’s name, date of service, time the patient enters the operating room (OR) (“wheels-in time”) and time the surgeon begins the procedure. If there is an unusually long delay between wheels-in and cut time, staff work to identify the reason. “We want to figure out what is

slowing down our process and how we can correct these problems.” she says. “We are a growing center and actively recruiting. The last thing we want to do is deter someone from bringing cases just because we have a surgeon who likes to chat or per- form office work while waiting to be called to the room.”

Securing Buy-In In a busy ASC, Blake says the request to expand a benchmarking program beyond only addressing require- ments may not be received posi- tively by physician leadership. If you experience any pushback, he recom- mends making your case in language physicians are likely to understand.

Benchmark Your ASC With ASCA

ASCA’s online Clinical & Operational Benchmarking Survey provides valu- able quality and performance data about your ASC that you can compare with other participating ASCs.

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“Physicians are analytical by both nature and training. To secure buy- in, my best advice is to provide good analytical data and let the physicians come to the right conclusion.” Risdorfer says she explained the

value of benchmarking to her physi- cians the same way she explained it to her staff. “I told them that if we do not have satisfied patients, we do not have a successful center. I remind my physicians all the time that we are in a competitive market. Fortu- nately, my three heavy investors are extremely involved in my center. I work to keep them that way.” She says benchmarking issues that matter to surgeons is another way to get them on board. “At a pre- vious ASC, I had us participate in a benchmarking study on select pain management processes and out- comes. The surgeons learned about a wide range of issues such as how many of their peers were using intra- venous sedation, types of steroids used, length of procedure time, use of C-arms and more. Through this study, our surgeons, center and patients all benefitted.”

Other Considerations Not all benchmarking efforts need to focus on areas for improvement, Hiatt says. “Benchmarking can be used to support a really good prac- tice. For instance, ASCs might not realize how well they are doing with managing supply or staffing costs because they do not benchmark those numbers outside of their own ASC. They need to compare them- selves to other centers to appreci- ate their performance and even give them bragging rights with their gov- erning board for a job well done.” To maximize the benefits of benchmarking, Blake says ASCs must do more than just collect and compare information. “Benchmark- ing is not a cure-all. It cannot force an organization to correct itself, nor compel it to make necessary changes. That falls clearly on the shoulders of its leaders. What benchmarking can offer is a way to help leaders provide a better vision of what is attainable, inspire an objective review of perfor- mance, provide evidence to support the case for change and help offer a means to overcome obstacles to change acceptance.”


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