A road map to running a strong ASC, per 5 orthopedic leaders

From benchmarking to "SMART" goals, five orthopedic specialists recently connected with Becker's to share what they would add to their own successful ASC management cheat sheet.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

David Altchek, MD. Co-Chief Emeritus of Hospital for Special Surgery Sports Medicine Institute (New York City) and Founding Medical Director of HSS Florida (West Palm Beach): One thing outweighs all else: culture. 

Jeron Jackson. Service Line Administrator for Musculoskeletal and Orthopedics, Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic Health System:

  • Benchmarking tools for staffing.
  • Tools for standardizing purchasing
  • Tips for improved room turnover times
  • Best practices for insurance screening/verification
  • Summary of various ownership structures possible/legal with both employed and independent surgeons.
  • Innovations found across the country.
  • Opportunities areas for additional service specialties in ASC settings.

James Parsons. Administrative Director of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Neurosurgery, Pain Management at Indiana University Health Arnett Physicians (Lafayette): Know your operational metrics forward and backward. Build a scorecard and track the data as close to real time as possible. Additionally, build good relationships with your surgeons. Their insights will help identify opportunities for improvement.

Robert Quickel, MD. Vice President of Medical Operations, Surgery, Procedural and Orthopedics at Allina Health (Minneapolis):

  • Safety first, no matter what.
  • Check in with your staff regularly and often to ensure that they are happy and engaged. 
  • Keep a close eye on your metrics and share them with your staff and surgeons often.
  • Set "SMART” goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound)
  • Accountability is key: Hold yourself and others accountable for the center's outcomes.
  • Have a low tolerance for poor behavior from surgeons. Nothing poisons culture more than turning a blind eye to misbehavior like failure to uphold standard processes or toxicity toward staff.
  • Celebrate successes often and recognize those who drive good outcomes or go above and beyond.

Peter Whang, MD. Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at Yale University School of Medicine (New Haven, Conn.): I think it is always important to remember that an ASC is more than just a physical location where procedures are performed and actually represents a system for us to provide quality surgical care to our patients. Thus, what is equally as important as securing the right equipment and keeping the lights on is making sure that there is an adequate investment in personnel as well — physicians, anesthesia specialists, nurses, administrators, and other staff — because without them there is little chance of long-term success. When you have the right people involved in your ASC, you will have the ability to create an environment in which patients can undergo a wide range of therapeutic interventions in a more efficient, safer and cost-effective manner.


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