Sunday, November 22, 2015
Service innovation in healthcare industry - focused on surgical services
Traditionally, most surgical services were performed in hospitals. As surgical techniques improved some procedures could be done as outpatient services - where patient could come in for just the day, and then return home before end of the day. However, even in this model doing procedures at large hospitals resulted in excess cost, and also increased risk of infection. As a result, over the last 10 years there has been a strong trend towards doing outpatient procedures at ambulatory surgical centers, also referred to as surgicenters. These centers provide a streamlined approach to perform many of the most common procedures, involving relatively healthy patients. Surgicenters often specialize in particular areas, such as orthopedics, or GI health. The core idea for a surgicenter is to have a higher productive approach, where equipment and staff is specifically focused on these types of patients and procedures. When the model is executed well, surgicenters can also offer higher-quality surgery compared with procedures done at traditional large-scale hospitals. The downside of procedures at surgicenters is that they are less ready to handle cases if the patient becomes unstabile during the procedure, or there is some other form of medical emergency. Another potential downside is the effects on the medical staff. Having worked in both surgicenter and in acute care hospital - I personally find the surgicenter model can become exceedingly repetitive, where the staff will do a large number of similar procedures every single day. At an acute care hospital the staff usually will experience a much wider set of procedures - which allows for broader skill building and job variety. Even with the downsides for the staff perspective, I believe the surgicenter model is superior for many forms of minor surgical procedures. However, then it becomes important to select the staff members who prefer a more narrow job mix, and also potentially explore ways to rotate staff between different facilities so to maintain and develop job skills - as well as for job satisfaction.