Ambulatory surgery centers are growing rapidly and doing more procedures, but are under pressure to operate more efficiently.
During a session sponsored by Avail Medsystems at The Business & Operations of ASCs virtual event, hosted by Becker's ASC Review, three surgeons — who do surgeries at both hospitals and ASCs — discussed challenges ASCs face and opportunities presented by innovative technology like Avail:
- Cory Calendine, MD, Bone & Joint Institute of Tennessee in Franklin, Tenn.
- Betsy Dovec, MD, AdventHealth in Orlando, Fla.
- Scott Faucett, MD, The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics in Washington, D.C.
Four key insights were:
1. ASCs are facing multiple headwinds, making efficiency even more important. The panelists stressed operational challenges in ensuring patient safety along with business challenges such as boosting case volume, negotiating with insurers, differentiating versus competition, making providers feel comfortable referring patients and educating staff and patients. In this environment, Dr. Calendine mentioned the importance of "making sure we can support patients in the outpatient setting."
2. Avail is a fully integrated hardware and software solution that connects physicians and experts at the touch of a button, enabling real-time collaboration during procedures. Avail's technology enables peers, proctors, referring physicians, trainees, study coordinators and medical device industry reps to be in the operating room supporting a procedure or transferring clinical knowledge, without having to physically be there. "I think it adds a huge advantage to bring together people who are remote," Dr. Faucett said.
3. Avail enables multiple use cases. Each surgeon was asked to describe a specific challenge Avail has helped them solve. Dr. Calendine explained that when using robotics as part of hip and knee replacement procedures, it is necessary to have a robotic specialist in the OR. However, OR space is limited and during Covid, having fewer people in the OR is preferred. Avail helped solve this problem by allowing a robotic expert to be present virtually. This expert could control the camera, zoom in and out and speak to the team in real time. Avail helps Dr. Calendine's team deliver excellent care in this new discipline without needing to be in the OR.
4. Avail's benefits go beyond assisting with procedures. Avail enables virtual training and education, sharing best practices and even recording procedures that can be posted on YouTube and shown to potential patients to educate them about a procedure. "Many patients want deeper insights," Dr. Calendine said.
Dr. Dovec has an online library of recorded cases as part of her practice's digital footprint. Use and marketing of groundbreaking technology like Avail differentiates ASCs in an increasingly crowded space. "If you don't have a digital footprint as a provider, you really don't exist," she said. "I think this is critical, something else that you can do to market yourself, your practice, your skillset and why somebody should pick you to do their surgery."
Despite the challenges ASCs face, the panelists believe ASCs are well positioned for growth over the next decade. Technology like Avail can help ASCs stay on the cutting edge in improving efficiency and outcomes, while providing differentiation.
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