Peripheral nerve blocks, continuous local anesthetic infusions save time and money
For most modern-day anesthesia providers, the biggest reason to use regional anesthesia is because of the vast improvements the techniques can bring to a patient’s post-op experience. Improved patient outcomes can result in major efficiency gains, which means saving time and money for the patient and the facility. Overall, it’s a win-win for everyone.
Regional anesthesia’s post-op analgesic effects are known to dramatically lower pain scores in patients, which then leads to a decline in the use of opioids. Opioid use for post-op pain can increase the risk of grogginess, nausea, vomiting and delirium in patients, some of which are the main causes for prolonged stays in a hospital or surgical facility. More time means higher costs for both patients and insurers. By decreasing the need for opioids and using regional anesthesia, patients recover quicker and are discharged much sooner.
“For an outpatient facility, any technique that avoids the use of opioids is advantageous,” said Mark E. Hudson, MD, MBA, associate professor of anesthesia at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, in an article in Outpatient Surgery magazine.
“Under regional, within minutes after surgery they’re having 7-Up and crackers,” added David Rosen, MD, president of Midwest Anesthesia Partners of Naperville, Illinois. “In 20 to 25 minutes they’re dressed. In 30 minutes, they’re in a wheelchair, heading for the car.”
Fast-track to success
It’s no secret that fast-tracking surgical recovery times can be financially rewarding, as long as the techniques are seen as beneficial to a particular patient. Since regional anesthesia has already proven to be just as effective, if not more, for post-op pain management, it’s no wonder facilities are beginning to see the benefits these techniques can provide for them as well.
Although there isn’t a big difference between the cost of drugs used for general anesthesia and the ones used in regional anesthesia, others resources still play a pivotal role in the discussion.
“Anything that reduces the time the patient spends in the facility is going to save the facility dollars,” said Dr. Hudson.
“When people are out in under an hour, as opposed to 2-plus hours, you’re saving a lot of money on your personal costs,” added Dr. Rosen.
For more information on the economic advantages of regional anesthesia, including what you’ll need in order to take full advantage of these techniques, click here: Regional Anesthesia’s Economic Advantages.
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