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.
Change, Buddhists say, comes from within. But sometimes, the impetus for change has to come from outside. A case in point is the hospital where I do cataract surgery. We desperately needed change, but internal barriers made it next to impossible to achieve it ourselves. For true movement to happen, we needed a push from a company called Vantage Outsourcing.
Brackenridge Hospital, where I began operating eight years ago, had a deservedly great reputation as a teaching hospital, but not so much as an efficent cataract facility. Things at Brackenridge moved at a deliberate pace. The staff was accustomed to the rhythms of big inpatient cases and to the one case per hour speed of the senior eye surgeon. The hospital had lots of rules that interrupted flow. The staffers were allowed lots of breaks, and they took them. I did my surgeries in about 15 minutes each, but then I had to wait 45 minutes until the next patient was ready. In a nine-hour workday, we completed only 9 to 10 cases.
There were other challenges. The hospital required all patients to show up at 6 am, forcing them to be NPO for hours. I struggled with the creaky phaco machine favored by the senior doctor. Wednesday quickly became my least favorite day of the week. Without exception, I would fume all day and return home with a migraine. I pleaded, complained, and cajoled, but nothing happened until the nursing director had the inspired idea to give Vantage Outsourcing a try.
Vantage is in the business of bringing to your facility the supplies and equipment you need to do your cataract cases. As with Alice’s Restaurant, you can get anything you want from Vantage. I got a new Alcon Infiniti phaco machine, new surgical instruments, and three-piece IOLs to implant, among other things. It was all wonderful, but much more helpful were the Vantage people. Once they were hired, a senior executive and the surgical coordinator got busy pushing for changes. With experience doing thousands of cases all over the country, they had a unique expertise and authority. They used it to convince the hospital to open a second OR for me, to implement modern room turnover procedures, to permit the Vantage coordinator to do some circulating tasks, and much more.
Amazingly, my Vantage coordinator also helped make me faster. Based on experience at other centers, he convinced me to switch from iris hooks to the new Malyugin ring. Watching me struggle with a dense cataract, he suggested a much speedier 1.1mm phaco tip.
Thanks to Vantage, I can now fit my 10 cases into half a day, creating several hours to catch up on paperwork and see post-op LASIK patients. I’ve also stopped buying Advil by the case. I’m so happy with Vantage that when an insurer asked me to start doing cataracts at a local ASC in order to save them money, I brought Vantage with me. Now we also do cataracts together at South Austin Surgery Center, where my cases go even faster.
Not just my practice but my life is better because of Vantage Outsourcing. I’d recommend them to all colleagues who would like their cases to go faster and their days to go easier.
Dr. Vargas, a fellowship-trained corneal surgeon, specializes in LASIK as well as cataracts.