As hospitals have faced increasing demands by government, insurance carriers and the Joint Commission, physicians have been called upon to provide a variety of medico-administrative services in such areas as quality assurance, credentialing, delineation of continuing education and the management of a department.
Economic pressures also have been a major problem for both hospitals and physicians as government and third-party payers struggle to cope with ever increasing demands for high-quality health care. In addition, medical staffs are changing as our educational institutions continue to produce younger physicians who seek to practice newer techniques based on their recent experience and training.
These and many other issues are not easily managed, and often a neutral party may be the best resource to a hospital before deciding on a course of action.
ASA Consulting Services
The ASA Anesthesia Consultation Program came into existence in 1981 as a result of medical staff concerned with the quality of anesthetic care in their hospitals. Accordingly, the ASA Committee on Quality Management and Departmental Administration developed an innovative national program whereby it would make available experienced, practicing anesthesiologists to conduct on-site consultations at requesting hospitals.
Since its inception, the Committee on Quality Management and Departmental Administration has been asked to assist more than 180 U.S. hospitals and their medical staff to improve their quality of anesthetic care. Participants reported excellent satisfaction with the consultations performed.
In 2013 the QMDA committee and Anesthesia Quality Institute (AQI) collaborated to offer a new program: the Anesthesia Quality Consultation, which is intended for high-functioning anesthesia practices seeking an objective external assessment of their performance in the areas of care delivery, patient experience, and continuous improvement and stakeholder engagement.
ASA Anesthesia Consultation Program
The ASA Anesthesia Consultation Program consists of a group of Board-certified anesthesiologists who are mostly past or present members of the Committee on Quality Management and Departmental Administration. Included are several Past Presidents of ASA, and many are chiefs or former chiefs of anesthesiology departments. They come from all parts of the United States and work in institutions ranging from a 100-bed community hospital to a 1,000-bed medical teaching center.
Many of these consultants are well known as speakers at anesthesia meetings across the country, and each is actively involved in patient care. All are thoughtful, experienced clinicians who bring years of experience to the program. It is from this group that two of these individuals are appointed as an Ad Hoc Subcommittee to perform an Anesthesia Consultation. Of course, no one serves as a consultant when such service would involve even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Anesthesia Quality Consultation
The Anesthesia Quality Consultation delivers a comprehensive, confidential report, which summarizes the group's work in these areas, benchmarks them to similar practices in other parts of the country and suggests goals for future improvement. The report includes an executive summary, which is suitable for sharing with external stakeholders such as hospital administrators, payers, and surgical and procedural practice partners.
An Anesthesia Quality Consultation is conducted by experienced experts in anesthesia quality management and practice organization, typically members of the QMDA committee. The consultation begins with a series of conference calls between practice leaders and the consultants, to define specific topic areas for focused consideration. The consultants will provide the practice with a template for the review, based on the best practices outlined in the ASA Manual for Anesthesia Department Organization and Management (MADOM) and the Anesthesia Department Quality Checklist.
Interested in learning more?
If you are interested in ASA Consultation Services or would like more information, please contact the Consultations Team at Quality@asahq.org.