Also known as outpatient surgery centers or same day care centers, ambulatory surgical centers (ASC), provide patients with diagnostic or preventive surgical care in the period of the same day. These healthcare facilities are fairly common in European, American, and Asian countries.

As ambulatory surgical centers provide services in a wide range of medical fields including dermatology, ophthalmology, urology, orthopedics, pain management, and gastroenterology, among others, they are witnessing steady grown in demand. Moreover, increased affordability of healthcare, and public investments in the development of ASCs are also key drivers that are anticipated to significantly influence growth of ambulatory surgical centers.

Advancements in Technology Improve Ambulatory Surgical Center Capabilities

In today’s scenario, a wide variety of surgeries that could only be performed with hospitalizations in the past, can now be conducted on an outpatient basis in ASCs. Ultramodern surgical infrastructure in these healthcare facilities are planned to improve on the speed on which patients can be discharged after surgery, to complete their recovery at home.

For instance, increasingly ASCs are creating dedicated operation rooms for various types of specialty outpatient procedures. Advanced equipment such as robot assisted cancer surgery tools, automated lighting sensors, high definition displays are also adopted extensively.

These facilities may also provide patients with a real time patient tracking system that reads not just the patients location, but also vital stats of the patient. This ensures monitoring of the patient remotely till complete recovery is achieved, while allowing professionals to re-check post-operational procedures for improvements in surgical results. This may be further augmented by using secure video conferencing for doctor-patient consultations post-surgery.

On the other hand, robotic technology is far from becoming mainstream owing to its high cost in capital, and the technology does not have favorable reimbursements from insurance companies.

Analytics and Revenue Cycle Management Improve ASC Operations

At present, electronic health records are only used as an expedient means of data storage. However, improvements in analytics tools and software are expected to greatly assist in care procedures by providing relevant data to healthcare professionals in a timely manner.

Unlike human resources, electronic health records will be able to store can retain a large amount of data from the patient, which improves the decision making process for doctors. Moreover, improvements in the systems, will make integration to the main system easier and boosts the level of coordination in care procedures needed to treat a patient, through improved visualization with access to new technologies that include augmented reality, for simultaneous engagement with patients and their electronic records.

Insurance businesses are more frequently looking towards risk sharing payment models with health care facilities, including features such as bundled payments and increased accountability of care organizations, which adds the benefit of availing reimbursements on the basis of quality of the procedure instead of the quantity.

Ambulatory surgical centers, will provide care facilities that will be data centric, which will bring high focus on data analytics capabilities. ASCs will have to work on standardizing and automating processes relevant to electronic health records, to make the flow of revenue for ASC more predictable.

Hospital Outpatient Departments Convert to Ambulatory Surgical Centers

Until recently, hospitals routinely converted ASC facilities into HOPDs to increased profitability of their operations through favorable reimbursement policies. However, recent changes in public preferences, new technologies, and healthcare policies that are based on value based care are increasingly driving hospitals from around the world into covering their hospital outpatient departments into ambulatory surgical centers.

This can be attributed to the fact that the benefits of running ASCs such as better operational efficiency and alignment of physicians towards a particular treatment, are more than the higher reimbursements that are usually achieved by HOPDs, which bodes well for the future of the ASC market.

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