Using modern, cost-effective equipment is an integral part of a well-maintained ambulatory surgery center

August 15, 2008

The efficiency of an ambulatory surgery center can be accomplished by aligning leadership, having congruent goals of leadership, the placement of a consistent pattern for analysis of processes, problems, and situations in the surgery center, and a courageous leader on the frontline. Finally, and probably the most significant-recognition that quality produces quality.

Key Points

1. Alignment of leadership.

2. Congruent goals of leadership.

4. A courageous leader on the frontline.

5. Finally, and probably most significantly-recognition that quality produces quality.

The tasks of the leader and the team on the frontline in the ambulatory surgery center (ASC) are carried out most easily when supported by the governing board, medical director, and physicians on staff. One must understand up-front that when the framework "role modeled" for the team is to "do the right thing" it will often be in opposition due to "inconvenience." The inconvenience of a situation must not be overlooked, ignored, or bypassed, as the action will negate the value of the stated alignment of leadership, under congruent goals.

The prioritization of tasks comes after filtering through the requests of several constituents with multiple agendas and finding the ability to determine which of these agendas is congruent with the agreed-upon goals and what takes priority at that given moment. It is important to have an exceptional staff, one that will not tolerate mistakes and has goals compatible with those of the leaders.

Success and efficiency have many objective measures, including a satisfied patient, team member, and surgeon. Patient satisfaction begins at registration, continues through the surgery experience, and is concluded with a zero balance on the patient's account. A "satisfied" team member is one who understands and realizes that his or her presence is valued, his or her performance is praised, and most importantly, the team member knows that he or she is making a difference and working for the good of the whole. With the previous two members feeling satisfied, it will create an environment ideal for the satisfied surgeon.

Definition of roles and goals

Multiple philosophies exist regarding the role of the leader. The role that has worked best for me personally is that of a leader working among the members; not just management by walking around, but management by working around. An attempt is made to request of a fellow team member only what one is capable or willing to undertake.

An additional benefit of working among the team members is that of finding the "correct fit." While working among the team, one may readily recognize strengths and weaknesses of members. The analyses of the tasks/jobs to be accomplished are created with the talents of each member in mind.

Team members are assigned a responsibility for a particular job or function that are quite possibly not within the "traditional" job description, for example, completion of lens log, supply ordering, pharmacy, etc. Occasionally, a certain person may only be able to perform in one task area. As a leader, it would be futile to assign that person additional tasks only to discover the job is incomplete, inaccurate, or not completed in a timely manner without constant oversight. Because the foundation of a successful ASC is based on surgical and staff excellence, one must determine if the member's contribution to the team is significant or decide that he or she should be assigned to an alternate capacity (prn) or possibly be removed from the team.

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