Although the balance in cardiology care currently leans toward hospitals, cardiology has become the fastest-growing specialty at ASCs due to multiple factors, according to a blog post from consulting firm VMG Health.
Approximately 70% of cardiologists are employed by hospitals, but many hospitals and health systems are increasingly closing or cutting service lines, citing declining patient volumes and rising costs — which poses an opportunity for ASCs.
The migration of higher-acuity procedures — particularly cardiology procedures — to ASCs can be attributed to a rise in demand and lower costs facilitated by conducting procedures in outpatient settings.
From August 2022 to August 2023, cardiology patient volumes increased in four of five geographic regions in the U.S., according to a "Strata and Syntellis Performance Trends" report released Oct. 26. Notably, patient volumes increased 24% in the Western U.S. in the 12-month period.
This cardiology migration does not benefit only practices and payers, however, according to the blog post.
There are 3,142 single-specialty ASCs in the U.S., and that number continues to rise, presenting employment opportunities for physicians. Doximity's 2023 "Physician Compensation Report" found that single-specialty practices are the highest-paying settings for physicians, where they earn an average of $438,959.
As cardiology procedures continue to move to ASCs, physicians, payers, practices and investors can reap the benefits, the post said.