In some regions, the COVID-19 curve is successfully flattening, and we are getting closer and closer to restarting elective surgeries. Already, administrators should be evaluating the backlog of missed operations and re-prioritizing how to proceed when they get the sign-off to re-open. How has COVID-19 changed the landscape of outpatient surgery?

Continuing social distancing

Even as we resume elective healthcare services, ASCs will need to adjust operations for new COVID-19 guidelines. For example, is your waiting room set up to allow for social distancing? Do your pre-admissions forms include the necessary screening questions? Have all your staff received a refresher on infection prevention measures?

In this new environment, digital communication has become more critical than ever. With the right software solution, you can offer patients no-contact options. For example, you can send text and email instructions for filling out pre-admission paperwork digitally. Not only does this lead to a more streamlined workflow for your facility, but it also can put patient’s minds at ease to fill out paperwork in the comfort of their own homes.

 

Increased trust in ASCs

Experts predict that more and more patients will be opting to have elective procedures in an ASC setting. Unlike hospitals, these facilities have likely been isolated from COVID-19 exposure, which is an appealing reality for patients.

ASC leaders should prepare for an influx of patients in the coming months as people schedule their procedures in the ambulatory setting. Look at your current OR capacity and consider how you can deal with the surge to accommodate more patients. If you have a digital OR board, analyze your data from previous months to identify areas of operational improvement.

Flexible payment options

Although many people will be electing to get surgery at an ASC, many patients will be coming out of isolation with significant financial challenges. Start researching what payment options are available to make surgery more accessible for patients. Can you implement payment plans for patients who need more accommodations?

Get ready for growth

Even before COVID-19, CMS put new rules in place that expanded what surgeries could be performed in the ASC setting. Still, as more and more procedures are safe to do on an outpatient basis (joint replacements being one example), nationally, we have not fully been utilizing the potential of the ASC.

With a clear plan in place, start communicating with patients about your preparations for re-opening. Building trust can start now. In the coming months, ASCs are perfectly positioned for an explosion in growth.

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