Whether it’s from the perspective of the patient or the care provider, there are some benefits to increasingly popular ambulatory surgical centers. For example, surgical centers save money for patients and insurers.
The following are some of the key things to know about the more specific benefits of these centers. If you’re a patient, these might be relevant if you’re considering a procedure. If you’re a health care professional, understanding these benefits can be a way to help you increase your revenue and improve the patient experience by looking at multiple perspectives.
For physicians, ASCs offer numerous benefits.
For example, physicians have more control over their surgical practices. A physician can conveniently and efficiently schedule procedures and have the skilled staff on hand they need. They can also make sure they have the right supplies and equipment and that the design of the center meets their needs and the needs of their patients.
There’s a high level of autonomy for physicians in ASCs as compared to doing procedures in a hospital setting.
Even when physicians don’t have an ownership interest in an ASC, they often prefer them.
When the physician has this level of control, this is something that’s going to improve the patient experience. Patients who have control over their work are able to offer the highest level of accessibility and both pre-and post-op care to patients.
Some of this goes back to the idea of physicians having a greater level of control in an outpatient surgery setting, but there are so many scheduling variables that affect hospital procedures. Many procedures are delayed or rescheduled because of hospital challenges, like being overwhelmed in the emergency department.
Safer and Cleaner
There is some research suggesting that ASCs can be both safer and cleaner than hospitals.
A relatively high percentage of patients who undergo surgery in a hospital go on to develop surgical site infections, compared to a lower percentage of patients in ASCs.
There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that a patient who has a contagious disease isn’t permitted to have a procedure at an outpatient center, so the risk of facility-acquired infections drops significantly.
That’s one of the big risks overall for hospitalized patients—acquiring infections during one’s stay.
An ambulatory surgery center is a smaller environment and one where there’s a high level of control over who comes in, whereas in a hospital there’s virtually no control.
There’s an element of convenience with an ASC for not only physicians but also their patients.
First, surgical centers may be closer to a patient’s home and require less travel time and time spent parking or dealing with traffic issues that often occur around major hospitals.
A physician is also going to have fewer constraints to work around as far as scheduling, meaning this is, again, another element of convenience for the patient.
Research has shown that the amount of time a patient spends in an outpatient surgery center is almost 26% less than the time spent in the hospital for the same procedure. There’s also evidence that after surgery in an outpatient environment, patients end up then having to repeatedly visit the clinic less often in the following week.
Along with reduced infection rates, the recovery time following an outpatient surgery tends to be faster compared to procedures done in a hospital.
For example, there was a study that looked at ankle fracture surgeries and found when patients went to an ASC, they had reduced rates of blood clots, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections. They were also less likely to need blood transfusions compared to hospital patients.
Specialized Care and Attention
Since a surgery center doesn’t have to offer a broad range of services or operate 24/7 or on an emergency basis, they able to give not just efficient but very tailored, specialized care. Plus, patients are working with doctors and staff that are familiar with their situation, so they don’t have to repeatedly explain what’s going on.
The service is very personalized as a result.
Finally, there are cost savings that come with ASCs. Procedures done at ASCs are anywhere from 45 to 60% less expensive, so everyone is saving including patients, insurers, and taxpayers.
These cost-savings come with improved quality of care or at least equivalent care, so everyone is deriving the benefits.
The difference in price is thanks to the efficiency and the lean operational structure of an ASC.