Once the stepchild of hospitals for elective surgery, today’s Ambulatory Surgery Centers are quickly taking over the market. Every year, millions of patients opt to have a wide range of surgical procedures done at specialized ASCs rather than having surgery at a hospital. In response to the preferences of patients, more surgeons are performing operations at ASCs. They are also performing increasingly complicated procedures at ASCs. What caused the change in perception? It can be traced to three reasons that resonate with patients, particularly in today’s health care atmosphere.
ASCs are Convenient
Scheduling for surgery at an ASC is typically straightforward and efficient. Either the patient's doctor can schedule the procedure, or patients can call and schedule themselves. Because surgery centers generally are smaller than hospitals, patients get more personalized attention, and the wait time for surgery is shorter. Patients are in and out quickly and can go home to recover without waiting long periods for hospital staff to process paperwork and handle countless other details. One Medical Passport’s scheduling software makes the process of scheduling even simpler.
Scheduling surgery at a hospital runs the risk of unexpected delays. Because hospitals have emergency departments and critical care units, there is always the possibility of an unexpected event that takes precedence over scheduled, non-emergency surgeries. There are far fewer rescheduled procedures at ASCs.
After surgery, patients at ASCs are processed efficiently, provided with detailed instructions, and allowed to go home sooner than at a hospital. For many patients, a shorter stay is a definite benefit. They can recover more comfortably at home, and friends and family have better access to them.
Insurance has increasingly become a problem for patients in the last few years. Many have inadequate coverage or no coverage at all. Deductibles and co-pays can be prohibitive when a patient needs surgery, but ASCs help keep costs down. Most ASC patients see a savings of between 20% and 50% versus the cost of the same procedure in a hospital. Part of this is because hospitals have much higher overhead and are less streamlined, reducing their efficiency compared to ASCs that are highly specialized. Pricing transparency aids ASCs in clearly illustrating the cost savings.
Some patients worry that going to a hospital rather than an ASC may lead to a less satisfactory outcome, but multiple studies have proved that this isn’t the case. In August 2018, the journal Neurosurgery noted there seemed to be no negative impact on the surgical outcomes for even more complicated outpatient spine procedures performed at ASCs.
Lower Risk of Complications
The most common complication after surgery is infection. The risk of infection is higher in hospitals than in Ambulatory Surgery Centers. There are several reasons for this, including:
- Physician oversight of ASCs is more direct and easier to maintain.
- Surgeons assemble a highly specialized staff and invest in state-of-the-art equipment to ensure the safest possible surgical experience.
- Many ASCs perform only certain kinds of surgery. In these centers, the surgeons and staff are highly skilled in these procedures and the attending safety measures. There are fewer complications because there are fewer variables.
- There are fewer patients in an ASC at any given time, exposing individuals to fewer germs.
- Because ASCs usually offer non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures, the risk of infection is reduced.
With the combination of convenience, lower cost, and lower infection rates, it isn’t surprising that Ambulatory Surgery Centers are quickly becoming the preferred surgery solution. By further streamlining processes at your ASC, you can keep this momentum going in the years to come.
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