ASCs offers 17% to 43% cost savings for orthopedic procedures compared to university hospital — 4 study insights

Researchers investigated whether ASCs could help curb costs and boost care for outpatient surgical bone and joint procedures, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The study compared ASC costs to university-based hospital costs for these procedures.

The researchers gathered the direct costs (goods and services, including drugs, implants and laboratory and radiological services) of 1,021 surgical bone and joint procedures. Patients could choose to undergo the procedure at an ASC or a university-based hospital. The same group of orthopedic surgeons at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia performed all studied procedures, and the researchers didn't assess outcomes.

Peter D. Fabricant, MD, of New York City-based Hospital for Special Surgery, served as lead author of the study.

Here are four insights:

1. Dr. Fabricant reported they found 17 percent to 43 percent savings in direct costs at an ASC, depending on the procedure.

2. The researchers noted the savings seen in an ASC seemed to be the result of efficient use of time and resources. This efficiency was accomplished due to the ASC's enhanced streamlined care processes compared to those at the university-based hospital.

3. Dr. Fabricant concluded orthopedic practices can "deliver the same care at a decreased cost, and improve patient satisfaction by offering the convenience of care location options."

4. The study emphasized patients with complex medical conditions are not good candidates for procedures in ASCs.

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