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Digital Opportunities for Future ASC Success

At the 12th Annual Spine, Orthopedic and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference + The Future of Spine in Chicago on June 12, panelists discussed current challenges facing the ASC industry, as well as opportunities for success.

Declining profits and catching up to the digital age were recurrent themes voiced by the panel, which was moderated by Carrie Pallardy, assistant editor at Becker's ASC Review.

Jeff Peo, vice president of acquisitions and development at Ambulatory Surgical Centers of America, said increasing pressures weighing down on ASCs, such as hospital pressures, employing primary care physicians who control referrals and declining reimbursements, are affecting ASCs' profitability. However, he does see huge opportunities for ASCs as the preferred providers. "In the end, healthcare costs are being driven down to the low-cost provider, and we are the low-cost provider. I think the future is rosy," he said. "There are tough times ahead, but I think we can overcome."

Craig Veach, senior vice president of corporate sales at Amkai, said profitability issues are prohibiting many surgery centers from being able to fully join the digital age. "What we see with a lot of surgery centers is many of them want to go and join the digital age. A lot of them are having trouble finding the funding," Mr. Veach said. "The biggest challenge I've seen is seeing the industry find creative ways to make that leap into the digital age."

On one hand, this transition into the digital age is a challenge, but, as Mr. Veach said, it also presents an opportunity for future success. His sentiments were echoed by other panelists.

Tamar Glaser, president of MMX Healthcare, said automating centers, everything from a simple admit to accreditation tests, presents a large opportunity for ASC success, as well.

From a supply chain perspective, Jon Pruitt, vice president of procurement solutions at Provista, said data collection and data analysis tools are going to be highly beneficial to planning and taking improvement actions. "It all starts with data," he said.

A minority of ASCs are sharing data, said John Seitz, CEO of MMX Healthcare, but data sharing is where many opportunities lie. "Only 10 percent of the centers are putting data we should be sharing," he said. "Again, the opportunity is to rise above that stuff. My kids are spending all day on Facebook and Twitter. How much time are you spending sharing data with the guy down the street?"

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