Perioperative surgical homes can cut hospital costs

Perioperative medical homes overseen by anesthesiologists can cut hospital costs and improve patient outcomes.

Tampa General Hospital in Florida has had success with the model, according to Forbes. The organization hospital, in conjunction with the TeamHealth Anesthesia medical group, deployed what is known as a perioperative surgical home for orthopedic surgery patients.

Under this model, the anesthesiologist coordinates care with the patient's primary care physician, surgeon and other medical specialists to focus on quality of care issues.

Medical homes have become fairly commonplace in healthcare delivery because they tend to result in better coordinated care and cost reductions. They have been touted as an antidote to a broken and overpriced healthcare system. A medical home model for pediatric patients at the UCLA Healthcare system has cut down on readmissions among pediatric patients.

However, medical homes for specialty services tend to be rare. And using a medical specialist such as an anesthesiologist is even more unusual.

“Patients were going for duplicate images because our systems across institutions did not communicate,” Devanand Mangar, M.D., chief of anesthesia at Tampa General Hospital and regional medical director of TEAMHealth Anesthesia told Forbes. “Protocols for blood transfusions needed modification to limit unnecessary transfusion. Shifting from continuous nerve blocks to spinal blocks as well as a focus on better communication and more timely pain management consults realized overall improvements for our patients.”

According to a study presented at the recent meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the model led to a 9 percent reduction in the imaging tests used per patient, a 22 percent reduction in laboratory tests and an 87 percent drop in the units of blood being used.