Written by Laura Dyrda
The outpatient ambulatory surgery center is the next frontier for orthopedic surgery. Knee arthroscopies and ACL repairs have been done in the outpatient setting for years, and now technology is moving total joint replacements and spine surgeries into ASCs.
“The outpatient surgery centers are focused on orthopedics and spine procedures,” says Paul Jeffords, MD, a spine surgeon at Resurgens Orthopaedics in Atlanta. “There is a definite patient benefit because everyone on the team is focused on one thing as opposed to at the hospital where all types of procedures are going on. The ASC is more efficient and we’re doing fewer cases, so we can really give patients more attention.”
The higher patient satisfaction is an important aspect of delivering high quality care, and will be crucial as providers are graded on their outcomes and patient experience.
“I think as time goes on, you’ll see more of these cases going into the outpatient center,” says Dr. Jeffords. “Technology is driving that change, and surgeons are becoming more familiar with minimally invasive techniques and managing postoperative pain. Patient demand is also driving change; as more surgeons are doing outpatient cases, other surgeons will feel the need to learn these techniques and keep up. Thirdly, payers will eventually demand that procedures are done in the most cost-effective setting — the outpatient center.”