'I'm glass half-full': Why this leader is optimistic about ASC migration

Catherine Chang, MD, vice president and chief quality officer for ambulatory and clinical councils of Greenville, S.C.-based Prisma Health, joined Becker's to discuss why she is excited about the ambulatory expansion of healthcare. 

Editor's note: This response was edited lightly for length and clarity. 

Question: What are you the most excited about in 2024?

Dr. Catherine Chang: You're catching me at a time where I'm glass half-full, especially as it pertains to the ambulatory expansion of healthcare, which ASCs are an integral part of. It's a necessary area of growth and change for healthcare from an access perspective. It'll allow us to get patients the care that they need, especially as we're watching this evolution of cost shifting in healthcare with patients bearing more of the brunt. Moving into more efficient and more cost-effective care settings that are producing the same excellent outcomes is a benefit to everybody. But primarily, hopefully patients are not going to get that cost burden and still get a good outcome. 

I'm excited for us to navigate this shift and to figure out what works best for our organization. It's a bit of a shift from a quality perspective — what does "good" look like using the same measures as you would in a traditional inpatient space or from a patient outcome perspective? But other parameters might require a more comprehensive evaluation of services in terms of what "good" looks like to evolve. I'm just really excited to see that happen and the opportunities that it will open up for us as a company and what it'll be able to do for the patient population. The way we deliver care in the United States continues to evolve for a lot of good reasons. 

Q: How would you characterize this ASC growth in the next year?

CC: Smart. That's the way we're going about this — where we're making sure that we are providing the right care at the right time at the right place. With the patient population and their procedures, we need to make sure that the access is the right access. Anytime you're shifting a patient population in general, we need to make sure we've got good parameters in place for that, especially from a geographic perspective. We are being smart and patient and making sure that we deliver the right outcomes. We are also being smart from a business perspective — how can we set everyone up for success? We've got a pretty good handle on both of those things. 

This is really a team sport, and the shift requires a different mindset than delivering traditional hospital-based care. You really do need to make sure that you've got that team around you that understands that model of care delivery, because it is different from a regulatory perspective, an operational perspective and a quality metric perspective.

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