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Archive May 2017 XVIII, No. 5

10 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Anesthesia Group

Make sure you get the service you deserve and demand from your providers.

Sonia Szlyk

Sonia Szlyk, MD


regional anesthesia STARTING BLOCKS Your prospective anesthesia group should have ample experience with regional anesthesia and continuous nerve blocks, says Dr. Szlyk, shown here administering an ultrasound-guided block.

Due to frenetic consolidation in the anesthesia market, an anesthesia group may now comprise more than a thousand anesthesiologists and CRNAs spread over a dozen or so states. That can feel daunting when it comes to choosing a group to partner with. How can you tell whether that group is going to be willing to own the process in terms of optimizing pain management and patient outcomes?

You can learn a lot by looking at a group's patient satisfaction scores, and by talking to administrators and surgeons who've worked with that group at other sites. That may get you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, but you also want specifics and details before you commit to such an important, potentially long-term, relationship. Here are 10 questions to ask before you sign on the dotted line with an anesthesia group.

1. Do they know the dynamics of outpatient surgery?
Efficiency is paramount at outpatient centers, where the cases, the recovery and the turnover times are short. The setting is often more limited in terms of resources, especially when it comes to the number of pre-op and PACU bays. A group might be able to get away with having inpatients linger in the recovery room for hours at a hospital — not that they should let it happen there, either — but they have to know that it's unacceptable in an outpatient setting. The ability to manage pain and prevent nausea are essential skills.

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