As hospitals have faced increasing demands by government, insurance carriers and accrediting organizations, physicians have been called upon to provide a variety of medico-administrative services in such areas as quality measurement and documentation, privileging, 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 introduce into practice newer techniques based on their recent experience and training.
These and many other issues present continuing challenges to anesthesiology departments and groups. The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) can bring to them the power of aggregated data from practices across the nation and the expertise of over thirty years of assisting anesthesiologists and their facilities in achieving their highest potential.
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 (QMDA) developed an innovative national program whereby it would make available experienced, practicing anesthesiologists to conduct on-site consultations at requesting hospitals.
Since its inception, QMDA has been asked to assist more than 180 U.S. hospitals and their medical staffs and departments of anesthesiology to improve their quality of anesthetic care. Participants reported excellent satisfaction with the consultations performed. The establishment of the Anesthesia Quality Institute (AQI) in 2009 and the enormous amount of information on anesthesia practice that has been analyzed since then, has augmented the value of ASA consultations by allowing national comparisons and benchmarking.
In 2013, QMDA and AQI collaborated to offer a new program: the Anesthesia Quality Verification Consultation. This consultation service is intended for high-functioning anesthesia practices seeking an objective expert assessment of their performance in the areas of care delivery, patient experience, continuous improvement and stakeholder engagement.
ASA Anesthesia Consultation Program
The ASA Anesthesia Consultation Program utilizes the expertise of a group of Board-certified anesthesiologists who are past or present members of QMDA. They represent a wide variety of practice environments and sub-specialization, and academic and community practices across the United States. Many of these consultants are well known as speakers at anesthesia meetings and each is actively involved in patient care. All are thoughtful, experienced surveyors who bring years of experience to the program. Two of these individuals are appointed as an Ad Hoc Subcommittee to perform an Anesthesia Consultation. Potential for a conflict of interest is carefully avoided in selecting our consultants.
DEMONSTRATION OF QUALITY
The Anesthesia Quality Verification Consultation leverages the AQI's National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry (NACOR) database to deliver 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. 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. Consultations begin with a series of conference calls between practice leaders and the consultants, to define specific needs of the requesting institution or anesthesiology practice.
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.