What is an Ambulatory Surgery Center?


  • Introduction to Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs)
  • ASC origins and benefits
  • The future of ASCs

Within the vast world of ambulatory care and all that it encompasses, there is one specific healthcare modality that undoubtedly reigns especially important. This modality includes all of the services provided by Ambulatory Surgical Centers, also known as ASCs. But what exactly is an ASC? Why are they important? For those who are freshly exploring the world of ambulatory care, it will be useful to understand the interior and exterior of these ever-so-essential healthcare structures.

Introduction to Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs)

Simply put, an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) is a healthcare facility in which medical procedures, oftentimes surgical in nature, that do not require an overnight patient stay take place. ASCs are usually either freestanding medical facilities or part of larger healthcare organizations. These centers offer patients several advantages over traditional hospital-based surgical procedures, including shorter wait times, lower costs, and smaller chances of infectious disease exposure.

ASC origins and benefits

To better understand why ASCs are the future of ambulatory care, it would first be beneficial to briefly explore the history of these medical centers, while also unpacking the unique benefits they provide society. The first ASC facility was opened in 1970 by two independent physicians and located in the popular city of Phoenix, Arizona.

Tired of the frustrations that came with working for a hospital, including scheduling delays, sedate operating room turnover rates, and equipment limitations, the two ambulatory care pioneers seized the opportunity to establish a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to inpatient hospital care, specifically for surgical services.

Unsurprisingly, outpatient surgeries offer substantial advantages over in-patient surgery, ranging from being more cost-effective, all the way to providing an increase in patient safetyThe life-saving benefits of ASCs is outlined through these main points:

  • Lower Costs – Ambulatory surgical centers are often 45-60% less expensive than hospitals, which benefits patients and taxpayers equally. And yet, arguably more important than fair costs is the fact the quality of healthcare provided by these surgical centers is equal to, if not often higher than, that which is offered by hospitals.
  • Safety – Another advantage to choosing an ASC for one’s qualifiable medical procedure is the fact that the procedures are believed to be cleaner, and thus safer, when performed at an ASC. This belief is supported by the fact that contagious diseases are strictly controlled and prohibited from access to ASCs, as opposed to hospitals where various health exposure risks are uncontrolled.  
  • Accessibility & Convenience – Not only are ASCs beneficial to patients, but also to the practicing physicians that are trusted to care for such patients. At ASCs, physicians have more control over their work and the quality and value of care provided. This, combined with the frequently convenient and accessible locations ASCs makes them a far more agreeable option than an inpatient hospital.

The future of ASCs

With all of the benefits that they provide, the rise in popularity of ASCs is unsurprisingly conspicuous. Ambulatory surgical centers provide the most viable alternative to hospital-based care while still maintaining a beyond feasible quality of care. 

In fact, Studies have shown that the performance of ASCs generally exceed that of hospital-based facilities, with the quality of surgery and postoperative care oftentimes being far superior to that which is provided in a hospital. 

This revelation has created steady growth in the market for ambulatory surgical centers, highlighting their overall importance in the medical world. As a result of their growth, ASCs were found to perform anywhere from 30% all the way to 50% of all outpatient surgeries in 2021, depending on the specialty. Additionally, studies indicate that ASCs will continue growing on average 6-7% per year, increasing from 4-5% over the last three years. The multibillion-dollar business surrounding ASCs alone speaks volumes.

With patients and providers alike supporting the convenience, cost-effectiveness, and quality of care that ASCs provide, the growth in their necessity appears boundless. In conclusion, this highlights the bright and fruitful future of ambulatory surgical centers and their services. And luckily, there exists EMRs, such as Ambula, that are built to support the prosperous future of ASCs, providing them with the structural integrity and architecture needed to run smoothly. 

To learn more about how Ambula’s EMR is changing the way ASCs are being run, contact the Ambula Healthcare staff at (818) 308-4108. And now, discover ways to improve the productivity in your ASC!

Published On: February 10th, 2022 / Categories: Healthcare EMR Software /

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