Outpatient Knee Surgery Advancement for ASCs: Q&A With Mark Smith of Orthopaedic Associates of Wisconsin

Knee BoneOrthopaedic Associates of Wisconsin Chief Administrative Officer Mark Smith discusses new technology for knee surgery in his ambulatory surgery center.

The group recently decided to purchase the Navio System for robotic partial knee surgery system for their surgery center as the start of their robotics program.

Q: Why did you decide to consider a robotics program at your ASC?

Mark Smith: We've been familiar with robotics in orthopedics since around 2009. Our surgeons have used them for a few different procedures since then and it became a natural evolution for our ASC. We are now looking to do more traditional inpatient procedures in the outpatient setting and since we were familiar with the technology we wanted to look for an opportunity to incorporate it into our ASC.

Q: Why did you decide to purchase the Navio system?

MS: From a business standpoint, being able to perform those surgeries traditionally inpatient in the outpatient ASC will deliver volume to the ASC. It's much less expensive for the patient and payer because charges are less than in the hospital. Additionally, we think the robotic technology gives patients a superior outcome. There is greater precision, minimal incision and shorter rehabilitation times.

We think it's going to provide our patients with the best outcome and drive new business to the ASC.

Q: What benefits do you see over comparative technologies?

MS: First of all, there is no CT scan required. That already makes it a less expensive procedure because you don't have to include those images. There is also an ease of use our surgeons experience with this technology. Our surgeons are excited about that.

We were really fortunate because our guys have used the robotic technology for years, so there was a high degree of familiarization with it.

Q: How many procedures will you need to do in order to break even on the Navio investment?

MS: That will be contingent on the payer mix, but we estimate if we can do somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 to 40 procedures we'll break even. We don't think that's a lot. We're going to be very selective in the patients we bring to the ASC, but we hope to see a return on investment within six months to a year.

Q: Do you think we will see an increase in ASCs adopting robotics?

MS: I certainly hope so. We see some real advantages in seeing those procedures in the outpatient setting. We are allowed to do Medicare partial knee replacements in ASC, which is what the robotic technology allows us to do. We see this as a natural evolution of the ASC and this technology allows us to provide patients with the latest equipment and best outcomes possible.

More Articles on Transactions and Valuation Issues:
13 Ambulatory Surgery Center Openings, Plans & Expansions
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Industry Evolution: Where Does the Future of ASC Independence Stand?

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