What is an ASC?
An ambulatory surgery center (ASC) is a healthcare facility that provides same-day, outpatient surgical care. ASCs are typically freestanding facilities, meaning they are not found within a hospital. They are staffed by a team of surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who provide high-quality, cost-effective care.
ASCs offer a variety of surgical procedures, including:
- Cataract surgery
- Ear, nose, and throat procedures
- General surgery procedures
- Gynecological procedures
- Orthopedic procedures
- Urologic procedures
ASCs offer advantages over traditional hospital-based outpatient surgery. These advantages include:
- Convenience: ASCs are typically found closer to patients’ homes, making it easier for them to get to and from their appointments.
- Cost savings: ASCs are typically less expensive than hospital-based outpatient surgery.
- Shorter wait times: Patients can often get scheduled for surgery sooner at an ASC than at a hospital.
- More personalized care: ASCs typically have smaller staffs than hospitals, which allows patients to receive more personalized care.
ASCs can be an excellent choice for patients who are looking for convenience, cost savings, and shorter wait times.
Here is some additional information about ASCs:
- Accreditation: ASCs must meet strict standards to be accredited by the Joint Commission or another nationally recognized accrediting body. This ensures that ASCs meet the highest standards of quality and safety.
- Insurance coverage: Most insurance plans cover surgery performed at an ASC.
- Preparation for surgery: Patients who are having surgery at an ASC follow the same preparation instructions as if they were having surgery at a hospital. This may include things like getting pre-operative blood work done, stopping certain medications, and following a special diet.
- After surgery: Patients who have surgery at an ASC will typically go home the same day.
The Rise of ASCs:
The number of ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) has grown significantly since 2018. According to the American College of Healthcare Executives, there were over 6,000 ASCs in the United States in 2022, up from just over 5,000 in 2018. This growth is due to several factors, including:
- The aging population: As the population ages, there is an increasing demand for outpatient surgery. ASCs are well suited to meet this demand, as they can provide high-quality care in a convenient and cost-effective setting.
- The rise of minimally invasive surgery: Minimally invasive surgery is becoming increasingly popular, as it is associated with shorter recovery times and lower risks of complications. ASCs are well-equipped to perform minimally invasive surgery, as they have the necessary equipment and staff.
- The shift to value-based care: In recent years, there has been a shift to value-based care, which focuses on providing high-quality care at a lower cost. ASCs are well-positioned to deliver value-based care, as they can provide high-quality care at a lower cost than hospitals.
The growth of ASCs is likely to continue in the future. As the population ages and the demand for healthcare services increases, ASCs will continue to play a significant role in the delivery of outpatient surgery.
Here is additional information about the growth of ASCs:
- The growth of ASCs is expected to continue in the future: The American College of Healthcare Executives projects that the number of ASCs will increase to over 7,000 by 2028.
- The growth of ASCs is likely to lead to a decline in hospital-based outpatient surgery volume. This could lead to a loss of revenue for hospitals.
- The growth of ASCs is a positive development for patients as it provides them with more convenient, cost-effective options for outpatient surgery.
How Do ASCs Affect Hospitals?
ASCs have had a significant impact on hospitals in recent years. ASCs offer some advantages over traditional hospital-based outpatient surgery, including convenience, cost savings, and shorter wait times. As a result, ASCs have been able to capture a significant share of the outpatient surgery market.
The growth of ASCs has had significant implications for hospitals. First, ASCs have led to a decline in hospital-based outpatient surgery volume. This has resulted in a loss of revenue for hospitals. Second, ASCs have forced hospitals to compete on price. To attract patients, hospitals have had to lower their prices for outpatient surgery. Third, ASCs have led to a change in the way hospitals operate. Hospitals have had to focus on providing more complex and specialized care, as ASCs have taken over the provision of less complex and less specialized care.
The growth of ASCs is a trend that is likely to continue in the future. As the population ages and the demand for healthcare services increases, ASCs will continue to play a significant role in the delivery of outpatient surgery.
Here are specific ways in which ASCs have affected hospitals:
- Revenue loss: As ASCs have captured a larger share of the outpatient surgery market, hospitals have lost revenue. This is because hospitals typically charge more for outpatient surgery than ASCs.
- Competition on price: To compete with ASCs, hospitals have had to lower their prices for outpatient surgery. This has led to a decrease in hospital profits.
- Change in operations: Hospitals have had to change the way they run to compete with ASCs. This includes focusing on providing more complex and specialized care, as well as streamlining their operations to reduce costs.
How Do Hospitals Respond?
The rise of ambulatory surgery centers has posed a challenge to hospitals in recent years. ASCs offer advantages over traditional hospital-based outpatient surgery, including convenience, cost savings, and shorter wait times. As a result, ASCs have been able to capture a significant share of the outpatient surgery market.
However, there are several ways that hospitals can adapt to the rise of ASCs and increase revenues. Here are a few tips:
- Focus on complex and specialized care: Hospitals should focus on providing more complex and specialized care, as this is an area where they can still compete with ASCs. For example, hospitals can focus on providing cancer care, heart care, and other high-acuity services.
- Develop partnerships with ASCs: Hospitals can develop partnerships with ASCs to provide a more comprehensive range of services to patients. For example, hospitals can partner with ASCs to provide pre- and post-operative care, as well as diagnostic services.
- Develop their own ASCs: Hospitals are developing their own ASCs to compete with independent ASCs.
- Streamline operations: Hospitals can streamline their operations to reduce costs. This can include things like reducing administrative overhead, negotiating better contracts with suppliers, and improving efficiency in patient flow.
- Invest in innovative technologies: Hospitals can invest in new technologies to improve the quality of care they provide. This can include things like new surgical equipment, telemedicine, and electronic health records.
- Focus on patient satisfaction: Hospitals should focus on providing high-quality care and a positive patient experience. This will help to attract patients to hospitals and keep them from going to ASCs.
By following these tips, hospitals can adapt to the rise of ASCs and increase revenues.
In addition to the above, here are three other strategies that hospitals can use to compete with ASCs:
- Offer value-based care: Hospitals can offer value-based care, which focuses on providing high-quality care at a lower cost. This can be done by collaborating with payers to develop bundled payments or other arrangements that reward hospitals for providing high-quality care at a lower cost.
- Develop a strong brand: Hospitals can develop a strong brand that attracts patients and payers. This can be done by focusing on providing high-quality care, a positive patient experience, and innovative services.
- Be proactive: Hospitals should be proactive in responding to the rise of ASCs. This means staying up to date on the latest trends, developing new strategies, and working with payers and other stakeholders to ensure that hospitals remain competitive.
Let us know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future topics.