Future-proof ASCs: 10 popular strategies

ASC owners and administrators are keeping an eye on big trends in healthcare and making significant investments to "future-proof" their centers.

BD sponsored a recent Outpatient Surgery survey providing guidance for surgery center owners and operators. The survey was conducted in late 2022, and included respondents from single and multispecialty groups, independent centers and group or hospital-owned centers. The survey asked what ASC leaders are doing to future-proof their facilities; the top five responses were:

1. Adding surgeon partners: 56%
2. Evaluating and upgrading capital equipment: 53.4%
3. Purchasing new technology: 44%
4. Staff training and education: 41%
5. Adding specialty service lines: 26%

The most desired specialties right now include orthopedics and total joints, spine and neurosurgery, and heart procedures. Adding the right specialties, and specialty surgeons, can drive more volume and revenue to the center.

"As an orthopedic CEO and practicing surgeon, I've witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of outpatient hip and knee arthroplasty on our surgery centers," David Jevsevar, MD, CEO of OrthoVirginia told Becker's in September. "These procedures significantly enhance our center's efficiency, allowing us to treat more patients without the need for extended hospital stays. This not only streamlines our operations but also translates to a notable reduction in overhead costs associated with prolonged inpatient care."

The faster recovery times and ability to recover from big procedures at home appealed to patients, and from a business perspective, Dr. Jevsevar said diversifying services positioned the center to provide more innovative and patient-centric care.

To spotlight capital equipment purchases, many organizations are adding robotic technology. Alfonso del Granado, administrator and CEO of Covenant High Plains Surgery Centers in Lubbock, Texas, said purchasing a DaVinci surgical robot has had the biggest positive impact on the ASC in the last year, even though cost per case is higher. The unused time slots on the ASC's schedule are now productively filled, and surgeons are taking cases to the ASC when the hospital's wait list for using the robotic technology becomes too long.

"We will be performing a second performance review in January to decide whether to continue the program, but so far the financial impact has been positive, and the indirect benefits have been significant," said Mr. del Granado.

Emily Spponer, CEO of Pompano Beach, Fla.-based South Florida Same Day Surgery Center, said the center invested in a new ASC software platform last year that has already had a positive impact.

"Due to the lack of staffing in the healthcare industry, this program has allowed us to be more efficient without as many employees," said Ms. Spooner. "Using one platform for all our surgery center needs has greatly impacted our productivity, especially scheduling surgeries. It has really streamlined the process of complete revenue cycle management."

The report noted five more ways to future-proofing ASCs:

6. Renovations: 26%
7. Building an additional ASC: 25%
8. Expanding current space: 18%
9. Financial partnerships: 16.5%
10. Adding on-site sterilization: 7%

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