Considering orthopedic surgery but dreading overnight stays in the hospital? Don’t worry, there are now many options to help avoid those long hospital stays!
For over 50 years, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) have offered a different setting for surgeries that don’t require overnight hospital admission. Prior to the opening of the first freestanding surgical facility in 1970, virtually all surgeries – even the most routine procedures – were performed in traditional hospital settings. To improve patient accessibility and experience, and give surgeons more control over their own practice, ASCs emerged. By 1988, there were 1,000 active ASCs across the United States. Today, according to a recent report from Definitive Healthcare, there are more than 11,000.
ASCs continue to grow in popularity, thanks to recent technological advancements that make more surgeries possible in this environment, and both surgeons and patients alike experience the benefits. Surgeons enjoy the personal autonomy that comes with working in an ASC, while patients report higher satisfaction from ASCs than hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs).
What is it about ASCs that promote a more positive patient experience, and what are the benefits of pursuing ASC-capable solutions that can be performed there? Let’s explore some of the ASC’s strengths, as reported by industry leaders like the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
- It’s cost-effective – for patients, insurers, and Medicare. This is due to lower overhead costs and because ASCs charge less than hospitals for the same services. A study from 2019 found that common outpatient procedures were around 144% more expensive when performed in a HOPD than an ASC.
- Lower costs don’t mean ASCs cut corners. In fact, you can count on improved patient care with ASCs being highly regulated at both the federal and state levels. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), ASCs are “among the most highly regulated healthcare providers in the country.”
- Physician-ownership promotes high-quality, coordinated care. While not all ASCs are physician-owned, about 90% are. This means that physicians are responsible for selecting highly trained staff, coordinating teams, and investing in the equipment and technology used. In many cases, the business owner is actually responsible for performing surgery! That’s one way to promote accountability.
- Patients experience easier scheduling and greater convenience. In an ASC, it takes less time to turn over an OR from one surgery to the next. Put simply, this means surgeons can perform more surgeries than they can in a hospital within the same time block. This also may mean there are more appointment slots, when compared with a hospital that must contend with higher-risk procedures. In an ASC, since all procedures are done on an outpatient basis, you don’t have to worry about your case being bumped for something more critical.
- Care in the ASC can feel more personalized and less daunting. Many ASCs specialize in certain areas of care and sometimes, specific procedures. With smaller, more specialized teams, this can make surgical care in these settings feel more tailored, put a patient at ease, and help calm any pre-surgery jitters. Even if you’re not staying overnight, it’s comforting to feel like you know your surgical team!
Is surgery in the ASC right for everyone?
The simple answer is no, not necessarily. Not all procedures are able to be performed in an ASC, and high-risk, more complicated surgeries are likely to be performed in a hospital setting. We recommend connecting with your doctor to learn more and see if you may be a candidate for a procedure performed outside the hospital.
While we remain focused on delivering products to every side of care, we are committed to developing streamlined solutions for ambulatory surgery centers. Explore our solution portfolio here or use our Find a Doctor tool to locate an expert in your area that is familiar with Anika’s products.