Q: What are the most important benchmarks that you pay attention to in your practice?
Jaideep Chunduri, MD, Spine Surgeon, Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, Cincinnati: The most important benchmarks I look at in my practice besides the obvious of patient outcomes are how quickly can we get a patient started on the road to recovery from when the first phone call is made to our call center. This includes office visit, diagnostic imaging, conservative care (PT and epidurals) and surgery if necessary. There have been many patients that have gotten four to six weeks of care in a matter of days due to our philosophy that "Patients come first"
Dennis Crandall, MD, Founder and Medical Director of Sonoran Spine Center, Phoenix: We track patient satisfaction with unannounced surveys over a 30 day time period once or twice each year. On the business side, we watch the number of new patients seen each month, track their geography and their referral sources. We also follow the productivity of our midlevel providers and physical therapy unit. On the clinical side, we look at number and types of surgery performed annually. We also track our research productivity by abstracts submitted for presentation at meetings each year.
Nick Shamie, MD, Co-Director of UCLA Comprehensive Spine Center:
1. We have made "patient satisfaction" as the most important benchmark. We are fortunate enough that our institution at UCLA is onboard with our goals at the spine center. In fact, few years ago our institution started a campaign to improve patient experiences. David Feinberg, MD our CEO calls this "healing humankind…one patient at a time." We are regularly surveying our patients, system wide, and working on areas that we didn't score as high as we want to score. My mentor, late Ed Dawson, MD, told me once: "just take care of your patients…and the rest will follow." I have been in practice for 10 years and realize how correct Dr. Dawson was with this advice.
2. I also think it's important to look at the finances of any operation. Although we are in the business of taking care of patients, this goal doesn't automatically result in financial viability. We are continuously working on ways to maintain and improve our efficiency without negatively impacting our primary goal of optimal patient care.
Stefan Prada, MD, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, Laser Spine Institute, Tampa, Fla.: Patient satisfaction is one of the most important benchmarks Laser Spine Institute utilizes to measure success. In addition to a high standard of medical care, there needs to be an element of service that differentiates your practice from others. Dedicated to a patient-centric approach, Laser Spine Institute helps patients achieve a better quality of life following endoscopic spine surgery and delivers optimal surgical outcomes. We ensure from the first point of contact to years later, that patients are receiving the highest level of patient service and care."
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