Are surgical cases at your outpatient facility canceled frequently? If so, you’re unfortunately not alone.
A team of researchers recently examined more than 4,000 elective surgical cases in both the general OR and ambulatory surgery settings at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to determine why procedures were canceled at the last minute. And the results may be surprising—or not. Published in the Journal of Anesthesia and Clinical Research, the study found that 7 percent of all cases in the sample were canceled. They also found that the cases were canceled primarily for preventable reasons like scheduling and staffing issues and inadequate preoperative preparation.
“Unexpected surgical cancellations are not uncommon, decrease patient satisfaction, waste medical resources and undermine the morale of medical personnel,” the researchers concluded. “Before seeking a strategy to reduce case cancellation rate, many medical providers and institutes investigate the cancellation rate and understand cancellation reasons.”
Why are cases at your facility canceled? While patient no-shows and unforeseen medical issues inevitably will occur from time-to-time, many others are 100 percent preventable. For example, an ill-prepared or unexpectedly absent anesthesia provider. This critical service for outpatient facilities can have a dramatic effect on patient satisfaction, efficiency and the long-term financial viability of a practice. Consider the following:
- The real costs of canceled cases: A typical ambulatory surgery center averages 4,801 cases per year, and the median net revenue per case for a gastroenterology procedure is $963. If 5 percent—the overall cancellation rate for ASC-based cases identified by researchers in the Penn hospital study—of these surgeries are scratched, that’s $231,168 in lost annual revenue for an individual center.
- Patient choice and satisfaction: What’s a surefire way to make patients unhappy and lose them as customers forever? Cancel their colonoscopies at the last minute because of preventable staffing issues. In competitive markets across the country, patients have many choices when it comes to purchasing healthcare services. Staying competitive as healthcare transforms into a consumer-focused retail industry means eliminating unnecessary cancellations.
- Morale and recruitment challenges: The Penn hospital study found that surgeries canceled at the last minute can directly harm overall employee morale. Compounding matters? A looming nationwide anesthesiologist shortage identified by the Rand Corporation, which is already affecting the South and Midwest.
Today, eliminating anesthesia staffing issues that make patients unhappy, reduce case throughput and harm the long-term financial viability of a practice should be the expectation, not the exception.
Is your facility as efficient as it can be? Could your facility be doing more cases daily? Without a successful anesthesia management strategy that optimizes operations, improves satisfaction scores and delivers patient comfort, you may never know. Here are three areas to consider:
- Experience: Outpatient GI procedures require specialized expertise. Your anesthesia provider must be skilled in this clinical setting to ensure both patient comfort and safety. CarePlus manages more than 50,000 cases per year.
- Guaranteed coverage: What do you do if your anesthesia provider is sick or unexpectedly absent? CarePlus has never missed a day of service.
- Commitment to the team: From participating in pre-op calls and record requests to pushing gurneys and starting IVs, a proactive anesthesia provider can improve throughput, patient satisfaction and staff morale. CarePlus finds the best anesthesia provider for your center and makes sure they contribute to your success.
CarePlus provides superior, turnkey anesthesia management services that result in improved efficiency and patient satisfaction. Physicians also rely on us to give them peace of mind, so they can take care of their patients and run their practices. As a guest in your home, we always exhibit professionalism and respect, while keeping clinical safety paramount and delivering patient comfort.
Isn’t it time to maximize efficiency at your center? Take the first step: Click here to contact us today!
 Journal of Anesthesia and Clinical Research, “Dynamics of Elective Case Cancellation for Inpatient and Outpatient in an Academic Center,” 2013
 VMG Health, “2016 Multi-Specialty ASC Intellimarker”
 Rand Corporation, “The Anesthesiologist Workforce in 2013”