What 2017 holds in store for ASCs — 3 industry professionals talk technology, cost containment & more

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The entire healthcare industry is undergoing tremendous transformations as providers work to truncate costs and maintain superior patient outcomes. ASC industry leaders are striving to reap success in this landscape, with experts sharing their plans for 2017 with Alpharetta, Ga.-based AmkaiSolutions, an EMR software and management solutions provider.

Here's what ASC leaders had to say:

On their priorities this year:

Joan Dentler, president and CEO of Avanza Healthcare Strategies (Austin, Texas).
"A big focus will be helping our ASCs clients capture case volume leaving the inpatient setting. For those clients already performing procedures in these specialties, that may require renegotiation of payer contracts and exploring alternative payment options, such as bundled payments. For those clients looking to add specialties, it may require purchasing new equipment, expanding facilities and even relocating if even more space is required."

Kerri Ubaldi, RN, vice president of operations for Merritt Healthcare (Ridgefield, Conn.).
"I think we're going to have to spend a fair amount of time on state financial requirements and cost containment. There is a new state tax in Connecticut, which is 6 percent of gross receipts. That has been a significant challenge for us and most ASCs in the state to overcome. We have to pay close attention to what we spend on each case and educate staff on only opening items if they are necessary during the case."

Jon Van Valkenburg. executive director of Upstate Orthopedics Ambulatory Surgery Center (East Syracuse, N.Y.)
"Continued increases in efficiency, operating margins and patient satisfaction while managing an anticipated short-term case volume decrease due to a relocating surgeon."

On how ASCs will make 2017 their best year yet:

JD: "Exploring the many opportunities that are presenting themselves, but never deviating from the processes that make surgery centers so effective at delivering high-quality care. They may include new procedures and specialties as well as potential partnerships with hospitals and other ASCs. This is a time and opportunity begging for leadership — bold, direction-setting, career-making, L-E-A-D leadership. The alternative is to let competition make the first move."

KU :"Taking advantage of opportunities presented by the increased outpatient migration from hospitals to the ambulatory surgery center world."

JVV: "Continuing to improve patient satisfaction and employee moral through improved communication."

On how will technology help you achieve your goals in the New Year:

JD: "Technology will be critical for achieving common objectives for all of our clients: maintaining compliance with regulatory and accreditation standards, benchmarking to improve performance throughout the organization, streamlining workflow, improving efficiencies, reducing costs and increasing patient engagement."

JVV: "We are focused on using data-based, business intelligence to drive our decisions and develop the most effective strategies. We are also focused on patient satisfaction and engagement with enhancements like our HIPAA-compliant waiting room patient tracker."

For more on the industry leaders' plans for 2017, click here.

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