Surgery centers have never been more relevant — 2 ASC experts on how to capitalize on growth

To capitalize on developing income streams, surgery centers need to have an integrated system to manage the surgical process from before the patient enters the building until long after they've recovered from the procedure.

How to effectively capitalize on emerging ASC specialties was the subject of a Oct. 16 session during Becker's ASC Review Virtual Event sponsored by Surgical Directions.

The speakers were:

  • Jeff Peters, CEO of Surgical Directions
  • Anne Cole, associate vice president of perioperative nursing at Surgical Directions.

Here are four key takeaways from the session:

1. Not the ASCs of old. Consolidation is transforming the surgery center industry. Small surgery centers are increasingly being acquired by national surgery center chains and large health systems to establish a presence in geographical markets and develop integrated care delivery systems, Mr. Peters said.This trend has made it more important for surgery centers to focus on the complete continuum of care. "You're not just focused on doing the procedure [anymore]," Mr. Peters said. "You're helping to manage the patient through the entire continuum of care. That gives you both market leverage and it's a good way to make sure care is integrated and improves care outcomes."

2. Consolidation drives migration. The growth of procedures migrating to the surgery center space has contributed to consolidation of smaller centers as companies and health systems aim to recapture lost revenue. Mr. Peters said, "80 percent of all surgeries performed in the U.S. are done on an ambulatory basis, and this will continue to grow." In the next decade, he expects 85 percent of all procedures will be done on an ambulatory basis with the most growth happening around total joint replacement, spine surgery and cardiology procedures. For independent centers, success is taking on a new definition. "For an ASC to be successful, they can't be everything to everyone," Mr. Peters said. "Our successful ASCs have focused on a depth of specialties."

3. Capitalizing on growth... For surgery centers to grow, administrators must take into account how decisions affect both patients, physicians and the bottom line. Growth opportunities exist in ramping up procedure volume, or adding new specialties. When considering a new specialty, administrators have to consider the costs associated with staffing, technology and recruitment. They also have to assess whether they'll be able to deliver excellent patient care that is up to their established standards. iMr. Peters recommends centers look at the existing market and see if there's a specialty physician group an administrator could recruit to the center. Once an administrator establishes a relationship with a new physician group, the administrator should do everything possible to ensure the surgeon keeps bringing their volume to the center. "It's not just the mechanics of getting a case done," Mr. Peters said. "They want to have a delightful day where there's no interpersonal stress." Once the specialty is established and the investment has been made, administrators need to make every effort to tout quality metrics to everyone that will listen.

4. managing the whole patient. Boosting growth will only happen to centers that continue to provide high-quality care. Centers need to continually track clinical outcomes, and ensure the patient is at the center of every decision in the surgical continuum. Presurgical staff should brief patients before the procedure and follow-up with patients after the procedure. Administrators need to capture Press Ganey patient satisfaction scores above 94 percent to grow their market share, Mr. Peter said. Providing quality care with high-levels of patient satisfaction will show payers and patients alike that ASCs are the right places for outpatient care. "Clinically, ASCs have always been passionate about providing value and making sure the patients are optimized, that they are really treated well," Ms. Cole said. "... But again, [growth today is about] taking it to that next level as we become busier, and then as we become more specialized.

View a copy of this session here. Learn more about Surgical Directions here

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