Ambulatory Surgery represents a large portion of business according to industry leaders throughout the country. As much as half of the patients being seen each year are admitted on an outpatient basis and of those, a majority of the patients are admitted for surgery. In the last four decades, surgeries performed on an outpatient basis have grown from less than 10% to more than 70% of all elective surgeries.
Advances in medical care and technology as well as preferences in the marketplace are driving this explosion in the sector of health care. New techniques and drugs are now being used to help the patient manage their pain, which allows procedures to be done on an outpatient basis that previously would have been inpatient only.
The trend toward an increase in these cases is part of a shift from inpatient to outpatient care. Outpatient surgery is typically elective in nature and is thus scheduled well in advance which contributes to the profitability of the medical facility. Many hospitals across the country are in the process of creating programs based on the more profitable outpatient procedures, such as orthopedics, pain management, gastroenterology, and gynecology to name a few.
However, competition for such cases is strong, coming from outpatient hospitals as well as physician owned ambulatory surgery centers. Many physicians see surgery centers as a good option to help offset any cuts by commercial payers and Medicare, malpractice insurance premiums and increased expenses.
Some physicians have noted that hospitals typically tend to mix inpatient surgery and emergency department surgeries with ambulatory surgeries. This causes delays that create longer turnaround times for the operating rooms and also diverts the focus of the support staff and nurses, which can be exasperating for doctors. Thus hospitals that wish to compete with a competitor as adept at ambulatory surgery as an ASC will need to strategically consider how to reconfigure services to meet the expectations of very demanding marketplace.
Cutting edge surgical and anesthetic practices have created an opportunity for outpatients all over the world to make use of ambulatory surgery. Since the emphasis has shifted to more value based health care, it has become clear that ambulatory surgery can provide optimal patient care at the most reasonable price.
As the American population grows older, the obvious expectation is that the number of surgeries being performed will steadily increase. No doubt, many of these will be ambulatory surgery. It seems apparent at this point that such a rise in cases will likely create enough demand for everyone involved in ambulatory surgery within the health care world.