Now that 2014 is over and a new year is beginning, what changes to you anticipate for your hospital or practice and how are you preparing for it?
Will 2015 be the year for outpatient total knee and hip surgeries to take off? We all know that reimbursement is not going to change and everyone is pretty good at LOS at this point. So where are the savings going to come from?
The trend seems to be continuing to move toward more specialization. For example, surgeons who specialize in knee or hip replacements have an advantage over those who do not. In business it would be called economies of scale where the price to make a produce goes down as the number of products made goes up. This is true in joint replacements too.
Surgeons who specialize in one type of surgery get really good at it. That translates into faster surgeries, enabling those surgeons to perform more surgeries per OR day, which, in turn, makes the OR costs per surgery less. It is also shown that surgeons who perform more surgeries typically have better quality ratings. The reason, repetition allows for the fine tuning of processes to ensure they are highly efficient and repeatable.
Payers are also driving this mentality, to some extent. Many are segmenting service providers by quality, cost and volume. Although they are three different variables, they are heavily interconnected. Higher quality care means shorter stays and fewer readmissions–which reduces the cost of care. Studies show that higher volume leads to better quality, or is the higher quality driving greater volume? In any event, programs such as Blue Cross Blues Distinction is focused on both quality of care and volume, and can greatly influence the success of a specific hospital or practice.