Within the healthcare industry the “triple aim” is known as an industry-wide quest to improve the quality of care, while reducing the cost of care, and also improving the overall health of the population. Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are ideally suited to accomplish all three, and their ability to do so is closely intertwined with ensuring patient, surgeon and employee satisfaction.
As Senior Vice President for Regent Surgical Health, Beth Johnson, RN, BS, is charged with operations oversight of a portfolio of ASCs centers, the development of high performance teams, clinical excellence and delivering bottom line profitability. In her mind, patient, surgeon and employee satisfaction and the triple aim are virtually one and the same.
“To achieve patient satisfaction, we must deliver a quality service” Johnson asserts. “The goal is to make the operation of the center so seamless and efficient that all three groups are thrilled.”
Johnson says one of the things Regent does to help achieve excellent satisfaction levels across the board is to focus on surgeon satisfaction, providing them with an environment where they can enjoy their work – where the schedule runs smoothly, where they have everything they need for every patient, and a consistent team that can anticipate their needs. Another focus for Regent is involving physicians in the management of the centers by soliciting their input, and not just on clinical matters.
“Physicians make really great business decisions if they’re given solid information to work with and they trust their business partners. At Regent, we are their business partners in the truest sense of the word, and we feel very strongly that it’s important to have that level of communication with them.”
A focus on employee satisfaction is another critical piece of Regent’s success. According to Johnson, employee satisfaction is about building a culture that the employees want to be part of. Consistently named a “Top Place to Work” in the ASC industry, Regent’s R.I.S.E. values (Respectful Caring, Integrity, Stewardship and Efficiency) help its people stay focused on the convenience, comfort, and quality of care for patients.
“How many times have you been on the phone with someone and you can just tell that that person is smiling, and they love what they do? Isn’t it a joy to be on the other end of the line with someone like that? Those are the people that we want on our phones and taking care of our patients. . Because the ASC environment is smaller, the person the patient speaks with pre-operatively on the phone, may also be someone that cares for them the day they come in for surgery. This is the continuity of care that we strive for.
Finally, since patient satisfaction is a key driver of growth in the ASC industry, it has become “something we make every effort to effectively measure,” says Johnson.
“I think what’s important for us to remember is that to have any kind of surgery is incredibly stressful. So, anything that can be done for the patients to eliminate some of that stress is a goal of ours,” Johnson says. “It’s in the simple things, like making sure in advance that they won’t be driving around a parking garage and trying to find the entrance to where they’re supposed to be on the morning of their surgery. And on the flip side, to reduce stress after they’ve gone home, we take great pains to make sure we’re providing comprehensive discharge instructions and planning with the patient. Once they’re home, we follow up the next day to insure they are doing well . They want to feel as if we know them as an individual, so we make sure we do!”
Outpatient surgery is growing because it’s an experience that delivers patient advantages in terms of convenience, cost and lower risk of infection. In Regent’s case, a focus on surgeon, employee and patient satisfaction is paying additional dividends thanks to the development of best practices.
“We are able to really share what works and what doesn’t work across all of our centers, and that’s huge in promoting better outcomes and making sure that the service we deliver is of the highest quality with no adverse complications for patients,” concludes Johnson. “It’s all about recognizing best practices and remaining focused on the patient.”
For more information about Regent’s ASC management services, click here.