Innovation in Action - The Vascular Care Group’s model saves cost and time while preventing burnout
By Carley Thornell | September 13, 2022
Innovation is about a lot more than technology. It’s also about new ways of thinking. Across the athenahealth network, healthcare organizations are meeting challenges head-on with fresh approaches to revolutionize care delivery models, increase access, and enhance the day-to-day experiences of patients and clinicians alike.
Here is one of them:
Providing the latest innovations for in-office catheterization labs, such as C-arm technologies and intravascular ultrasounds, is just one cornerstone of The Vascular Care Group’s model. The others revolve around people and processes to support better clinical outcomes and patient experiences — and bucking the status quo.
“Vascular medicine is a specialty that, traditionally, has always been in a hospital. That said, the advent of endovascular procedures about 20 years ago enabled a lot of those procedures to move to the office setting. We’re seeing change in the field, but it’s been a very slow progression,” said Mark Rowe, chief executive officer and co-founder of Mangrove Management Partners, the Group’s affiliated management company.
The flexibility to schedule vascular procedures in-office, which would otherwise be performed in a hospital, is especially important given the strain of COVID-19 — but there are myriad other benefits.
Taking those doctors out of the hospital operating room, when feasible, is much more efficient when it comes to saving costs and time, he said. “When you do a vein ablation at a hospital, it requires two hours of OR time. If you do it in our office, it’s typically 30 minutes — one-fourth of the time. Add that to the time it takes the patient to park and navigate their way through the hospital complex, and you’re giving the patient back several hours in their day; patients love the difference,” said Rowe.
Time saved for patients also means that hospitals can use those hours to focus on high-acuity patient care. “We’re taking minimally invasive procedures out of the hospital and perform our most complex cases there. That gives them valuable OR time back for higher-complexity cases,” Rowe said of his group’s collaboration with facilities to optimize the appropriate site of service. “It’s a win-win for patients and hospitals.”
The innovative model provides more regular schedules for clinicians, which helps recruit top talent. “Whenever a provider is performing a case in a two-hour OR block, they’re also waiting for that resource to free up. In a traditional model, there’s a lot of surgeons who are forced to wait around and they’re subject to schedules that are out of their control,” he said. “That’s time they’re not spending with their families or doing something else that doesn’t contribute to burnout.”
The Vascular Group’s other recruiting and provider satisfaction advantage is a clinical trials management company owned by the platform. “We wanted to develop an environment where our surgeons could get early access to innovations from a device standpoint and understand what’s coming to the market in order to better take care of patients,” he said. “We can continue to attract best-in-class surgeons because one of their top concerns when leaving a large institution is that they’ll no longer be able to exercise their academic curiosity. So, we’ve created an environment where they can continue to do that. At the end of the day, it’s all about clinical innovation.”