A Vantage client surgeon wanted to expand his practice but needed help with building his referral base in the expansion territory.
Vantage touted Dr. Jones' abilities and reputation with local ODs and helped him to quickly ramp up a profitable third satellite location.
Less than a century ago, all surgery was general surgery and virtually all physicians were generalists. No more. There are now 9 distinct surgical specialties and countless subspecialties, and it takes an entire career and all the brainpower and concentration most of us surgeons can marshal to be proficient at even one.
Yet when it comes to staffing surgical cases, most surgical facilities are still rooted in a Marcus Welby-style generalist paradigm. They assign their OR personnel to work all kinds of different cases and manage the instruments, implants and technology for each. The result is overload, and, as most surgeons will tell you, inefficiency and frustration. Daily, it seems, cases come to a screeching halt so that surgeons can explain to an overwhelmed staffer how to reboot a frozen machine or how to find the specialized instrument he or she needs. It’s not the staffer’s fault. It’s the fault of an outdated system.
And that’s why I love working with Vantage Outsourcing.
Two mornings a month, this Illinois-based cataract outsourcing company brings the equipment and most of the supplies for the cataract cases I do at Grandview Hospital in Jasper, Tenn., a location about 50 miles west of my practice in Chattanooga. Those two mornings are always bright spots in my month. The equipment is exquisite — the Vantage phaco machine is newer and better than any I use at any of my other facilities. But the real reason I love working with Vantage is the company’s surgical coordinators.
Unlike most techs, Vantage coordinators are trained to work on only eye cases. That is all they do, every day, all day — the company staffs and equips ORs for more than 16,000 cataracts per year. Their specialization and focus makes a huge difference. If the phaco machine at Grandview suddenly displays an error message, Erik McCord, our coordinator, knows how to fix it. If I need iris retractors or a vitrector or a Malyugin ring, Erik has it ready almost before I ask for it. The efficiency is simply amazing. Everything virtually always goes smoothly, even during challenging cases.
For facilities that do relatively low volumes of cataracts — say, 200 a year — using Vantage is an absolute no-brainer in my view. There is no way these facilities can cost-justify the instruments and equipment modern cataract surgeons need to meet the standard of care, much less the training. But I also think higher volume facilities ought to strongly consider Vantage too, even if it appears on the surface to be more economical to purchase the equipment. The surgeon satisfaction and efficiency that Vantage surgical coordinators produce is that good.
The practice of medicine today is so complex that no one person can possibly master more than one small part of it. The same is true for our surgical staff. Focus equals efficiency, surgeon satisfaction and excellent patient care. I see it two mornings a month — the days when I have the privilege of doing cases with Vantage Outsourcing.
Dr. Peterson specializes in cataracts and pediatric ophthalmology. He has performed almost 11,000 cataract procedures in his career.