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So, You Want to be a Surgeon?

By Sonya Pease, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Anesthesiology

It seems like there is so much focus on patient satisfaction and healthcare client satisfaction these days that we sometimes lose sight of the fact that it is the satisfaction of our surgeon colleagues that actually matters the most. Our surgeons are valuable customers, and it is critical to our facilities and our practices that our surgeons return again and again to utilize our services.

Surgeon customer satisfaction, however, is not just good for our business, it is vital for patient safety. Communication is central to the anesthesia care we provide and to our professional relationships. The perioperative continuum represents numerous phases of care and presents opportunities for miscommunication. As a result, effective communication with colleagues helps ensure patient safety. Anesthesiology clinicians often need to bargain and convince surgeons that a particular anesthesia plan is consistent with their surgical needs although the surgeon may have requested a different anesthetic plan. In the high-acuity and often intense surgical environments where poor communication is an often-cited source for both complaints and litigation, communication skills are critical for anesthesiology providers.

How is your practice doing on surgeon satisfaction? Because we’re gearing up for our annual Anesthesia Practice Survey (APS) that rolls out in June, now is a good time to do some self-evaluations and assess how robust these relationships are. Just as surveying our patients’ vital signs is key in determining the best intervention for their care, the annual APS offers an indication of how well we are meeting our surgeons and proceduralists’ expectations as well as how we can improve.

Last year, TeamHealth Anesthesiology performed better on the APS than ever before with a survey return rate of more than 59 percent and a national average score of 4.81 on a 5.0-point scale. We had more than six sites that accomplished 100 percent participation of their surgeons. Many surgeons offered special thanks and appreciation for anesthesiology clinicians who had gone above and beyond for their patients. It is a wonderful thing to be recognized for the hard work and clinical excellence we provide every day. Although the bar is set quite high, I have no doubt we will once again outperform ourselves because that is what we always do.Thank you for all you do to take great care of patients every day.

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