By Darla Ferrara

The core of any anesthesia service focuses on two components who the anesthetists work for and who works for them. One is clearly dependent on the other. Hiring practices are part of any business model, but for an industry reliant on return customers, the hiring process is one of the most important facets.

In the anesthesia service, there are few things more critical to business flow and growth than human resource management (HRM). This is about more than just hiring. HRM covers performance metrics, recruiting top talent and retaining key staff members. It sets the standards and creates consequences when they are not met. Once you think beyond the medicine, then an anesthesia service is a business like any other. Employee expectations are what drives it. By adding HRM to the service model, you strengthen the infrastructure of your anesthesia practice management.

Think beyond the Basics

Most HRM systems focus on rewards for acceptable performance. Companies that fail to see the human side of human resources tend to dwell on punctuality, attendance, on-call availability and that is about it. When a business measures just the basics for staff, then that is all it gets back from them.

Although details like attendance do matter, high-level services such as anesthesiology need to expand their HRM and reward staff members who reach beyond to exceed their expectations. What those expectations are will vary from practice to practice. Some may measure referral sources while others focus more on expanding the technology. Set goals that go beyond the basics to get the most out of the services HRM program.

When Reality Strikes

Anesthesia groups considering selling to an anesthesia management company could face a harsh reality. Profit margins might drive many of the decisions. Getting the bottom line where they want it might include trimming the fat by removing veteran personnel and hiring inexperienced professionals that cost less. Lets face it, hiring new graduates means lower salaries. By cutting 50 years worth of experience out of the service, they increase their profit margin but possibly hurt the business in the end.

This is where having a fully functioning HRM system in place will save the day. When an anesthesia group owner faces that perfect AMC deal or looks to shore up the business with private equity investors, it is important to show the benefit of each staff member. If a practices HRM system is non-existent or ineffective, then chances are that cutting staff, especially the senior members, may be the right call.

With a well-managed HRM, the service never lets the staff get flabby. When every member is pulling his or her load, there is no fat to trim. That is really the purpose of a proper human resource management team. To inspire, monitor and sometimes prod even the most stubborn workforce in order to get effective and efficient results.

Accepting the Service as a Business

Today, the industry has access to better-trained anesthesia professionals and more high tech equipment than ever before, yet, as a whole, it is declining. Part of the problem is that these well-trained professionals don’t see an anesthesia service as a business that relies on billing, practice management and stable accounts receivable to remain economically solvent.

A harsh reality goes with private practice. The world is evolving into a hierarchical organization that snatch up new graduates in order to reduce costs. Private anesthesia practices need human resource systems to keep up. There is more to any job than just showing up at the door. A proper HRM states very clearly the expectations for each role in the service and the rewards that come with meeting them, as well as the consequences of failing. In any business, HRM is a concept that makes sense. In anesthesia practice management, it might be the difference between staying afloat or selling out.



BIO: Darla Ferrara is a full-time freelance writer published internationally and an award-winning author. Publishing credits include USARiseUP, MedCity News, New York Times,, AOL and LiveStrong. Ferrarastudied biology at the University of Nebraska and emergency medical technology at Southeast Community College.


abeo Management Corporation (abeo) serves as a leading source of revenue cycle management and practice management with a specialization in anesthesia. The company leverages its people, processes, and software to serve independent practices, surgery centers, hospitals and healthcare systems with a scope of services that include billing, coding, transcription, practice management, and business consulting.

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