Our Department of Anaesthesia provides anaesthesia and perioperative medical care for a wide range of elective and emergency complex surgical patients. In particular, the department provides support for national services including heart and lung transplantation and spinal surgery.
A hospital's anesthesia department plays a key role in many areas of the facility's operations including operating room efficiency (on-time starts, recovery time, etc.), patient safety and clinical outcomes and patient, surgeon and surgical staff satisfaction. Despite this level of influence, it's not uncommon for hospital anesthesia departments to feel and even act slightly like outsiders.
While it's clear that anesthesiologists who are engaged and involved in hospital issues outside the OR are beneficial, it 's not always the status quo. So, how do hospital executives engage their anesthesiologists in hospital leadership?
It begins with selecting an anesthesiology chief and group that exhibit behaviors and characteristics that suggest a concern for the hospital's overall operations and success, not just the department's. Or, if your current group falls short, it's about giving them the impetus to change.
"Any good anesthesia chief has to be involved with all disciplines," says Dr. . "If he or she does not have good relations with other departments that are closely linked to the OR — such as radiology and the emergency department, for example — it's a disservice to the patient and the situation." After all, strong care coordination can improve outcomes.
Despite this level of influence, it's not uncommon for hospital anesthesia departments to feel and even act slightly like outsiders. This is because in many hospitals — save academic medical centers — anesthesiology services are outsourced to a contracted anesthesiology group, rather than provided by employed physicians. Additionally, anesthesia groups may hold a number of contracts in a single market, meaning hospitals may not always have a dedicated anesthesiology team.