Crunching the numbers: the profitability of anesthesia

Data reporting is a powerful tool for any successful anesthesia practice; however, Tony Mira, chair and CEO of MiraMed, stressed the importance of proper analysis of collected data in a recently published blog post.

The success of a surgery facility can make or break an anesthesia practice. In the past, surgeons often dictated the flow of procedures, while anesthesiologists were along for the ride.

The old strategies and beliefs "will not get us to where we need to be tomorrow to survive," Mr. Mira said.

According to Mr. Mira, the most lucrative ways to use collected data are:

  1. The collection of metrics. In the past, not all anesthesia practices collected any metrics, such as average cases, units billed and hours of anesthesia time per anesthetizing location. The recent uptick in measuring and using these metrics is extremely valuable, as it provides a method of identifying unproductive ventures or venues in which an unreasonable amount of activity occurs outside of typical business hours, which Mr. Mira referred to as the "so-called misery index."
  2. Identifying the best data to measure. When determining things such as the ventures that generate the highest yield per hour, decisions need to be made on what methods are used to evaluate the collected data to achieve the desired results, such as deciding if a numerator in the calculation uses billed hours of coverage hours and things of that nature. A highly trained analyst should be a priority for practices.
  3. The value of measurements found. Metrics provide trend patterns, which are of interest to every practice. Data allows practices to back up their requirements from a facility with numbers to show things like if a facility's coverage expectations are unrealistic.

All in all, the anesthesia billing database is an invaluable resource for anesthesia practices to improve and refine their processes.

"While success used to be based on revenue generation, it is now based on cost management," Mr. Mira said. "The practices with the greatest likelihood of survival and success are those with the most timely and effective decision-making."

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