Outpatient surgery, also known as same-day surgery or ambulatory surgery means that patients return home the same day of their procedure. According to the American Hospital Association, more than 5,000 ambulatory surgical centers (ASC) across the United States provide same-day surgical care, including diagnostic and preventative procedures. ASCs are either associated with a hospital or a free-standing facility.
Surgery made easy
Many procedures, such as orthopedics, ophthalmology, podiatry, hand, ear-nose-and-throat, endoscopy, and laparoscopy, can be done in an outpatient facility. People like going to ASCs because of their convenience and unintimidating environment. Unlike a hospital, where emergency surgeries are common, surgical centers run on fairly predictable schedules, so there’s less waiting and delay.
Patient care moves along as well. Once out of surgery, post-anesthesia nurses efficiently monitor patients and transition them to home recovery. Patients also generally pay less co-insurance for procedures performed at ASCs versus a hospital. Finally, in an ASC, volume and consistency are to the patient’s advantage. Physicians and staff are well-versed in the equipment and supplies needed to perform the procedure so quality is high.
Patient satisfaction and quality outcomes are the real reasons people prefer ASCs. According to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, many surveyed Medicare beneficiaries are satisfied with their surgical experience. With physicians and clinicians working together on regular schedules, teamwork and job satisfaction remains high and that transcends to quality patient care.
How to choose an outpatient facility
Surgical centers operate within a highly regulated industry with facilities required to comply with rigorous oversight and certification. If your physician determines that your surgery can be done on an outpatient basis, consider the following ASC qualities when choosing where to go:
- A facility with a track record of low infection rates
- Experienced, board-certified physicians
- Specialization. Many outpatient surgery centers focus on a select number of procedures at a high volume which allows doctors to fine-tune their skills and deliver high-quality results.
- Certification by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC)
- Expert pre-operative and post-anesthesia care
- High patient satisfaction scores
- A relaxed and friendly environment
- In-network with the majority of health insurance carriers
By: Anne Gill