Creating Anesthesia Stability Through Foundational Sustainability

Many of the healthcare leaders that we speak to on a weekly basis face recruitment and retention challenges that negatively impact their ability to reach stability within their anesthesia departments. Very few of these leaders consider how the sustainability of the anesthesia strategy and practice support structure impacts the ability to achieve lasting anesthesia stability.

For our purposes, we consider stability to be operating a department with a consistent group of providers that are aligned clinically and interpersonally on providing safe, quality, and efficient anesthesia to maintain a high level of patient and surgeon satisfaction.  Foundational sustainability relates to the underlying coverage model, work expectations, anesthesia practice support, and leadership that creates a foundation where providers can and will want to work and thrive.

It is easy to see both concepts as an outcome of successful recruitment and retention as opposed to a cause-and-effect relationship. To achieve stability, we must begin with creating foundational sustainability. Stability will follow. In today’s market, you can’t have one without the other. Hospitals incur increased expenses when stability and sustainability do not exist. The hidden costs associated with poor clinical quality, surgeon dissatisfaction, unutilized rooms, and poor patient feedback far outweigh the direct impact on immediate expenses.

Novus Anesthesia Partners has designed our management programs to build sustainability within our practices. Here’s how we do it:

  • Coverage Model Design: The anesthesia job market has changed dramatically.  Designing models that utilize simplified job structures with rotational call and day shift coverage that are similar for all providers is a thing of the past.  Providers today have very specific job wants and needs based upon their preference between lifestyle, income, and flexibility. Novus Anesthesia Partners accounts for these factors when designing the coverage model most efficient for our clients.
  • Facility and Provider Support: Across the entire workforce, employers are experiencing a dramatic decrease in engagement. Anesthesia departments are experiencing this with an increasing number of providers choosing PRN work, as well as fewer providers who are willing to take on additional leadership or administrative duties. These conditions require a higher degree of engagement and support from your anesthesia management partner. We refer to this as integration and it is vital to creating the conditions to attract and retain.
  • Transitional Leadership: When transitioning anesthesia, a plan must exist to reach stability within the department as quickly as possible through operational improvements. While many transition plans will involve some level of PRN engagement, the strategy of hiring temporary providers to work full time hours at PRN rates does not provide a road map for stability. Novus Anesthesia Partners leverages our team of travel providers to provide the leadership required to begin making departmental improvements much earlier in the transition cycle to improve the ability to recruit and retain full time providers who want to work in stable environments.

Hospitals of all sizes and patient demographics face numerous pressures that make stabilizing and retaining a high functioning anesthesia team a challenge. This challenge is not insurmountable but requires a holistic approach that involves committing a breadth of resources to improve the conditions in which anesthesia teams practice. Our team understands this challenge. We commit the resources necessary for success and work as an extension of the hospital, integrating with your team to create a sustainable anesthesia practice for years to come.