Ambulatory surgical centers market has received a commendable stimulus in recent times, subject to the potential of these centers to help avoid scheduling delays, slow operating room turnover times and challenges in obtaining new equipment due to hospital budgets and policies. Additionally, privacy is a major concern in hospitals which can often be stressful environments for patients. Ambulatory surgical centers provide very effective solutions for surgeries that can be completed within a few hours and require minimal after-surgical care. Indeed, ophthalmological and dental surgeries have already contributed toward the cumulative traction registered by ambulatory surgical centers market. This is essentially because these surgeries involve minimized risks and can be very efficiently conducted within a few hours without requiring overnight stays.
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Pertaining to the convenient nature of ambulatory surgical centers, there has been a major shift in the preference of venue for pivotal procedures. Convenience, lower out-of-pocket costs for patients, and decreased cost-per-case for insurers are some of the major factors that can be credited for this change of inclination toward ambulatory surgical centers over outpatient hospital departments. In 2011, an analysis showed that surgeries performed at ambulatory surgery centers saved Medicare $829 million when compared to costs for the same surgery in hospitals. The cost-effective factor alone is a principal factor augmenting ambulatory surgical centers industry outlook.
The rising geriatric population in the U.S. is one of the major factors that has added stimulus to the regional ambulatory surgical centers market. However, analysts have pointed out that relatively younger patients with a higher income are also likely to undergo surgery in ambulatory surgical centers. In addition to this, patients also have to pay much lower coinsurance for procedures performed in these centers than they have to pay in hospitals. For example, for a cataract extraction procedure, a Medicare beneficiary could have to pay as much as $496 in coinsurance when the procedure is performed in a hospital outpatient department. The same procedure performed at an ambulatory surgical center would mean that the beneficiary’s copayment is only around $195. The increasing awareness regarding the benefits of these centers has majorly driven U.S. ambulatory surgical centers industry trends.
With lower reimbursement rates, ambulatory surgical centers market is bound to receive more promotion from payers, a phenomenon which will facilitate a competitively priced healthcare scenario. This is because outpatient hospital departments will be forced to reconsider healthcare prices in order to preserve consumer revenue. However, lower costs do not affect the quality of service provided at ambulatory surgical centers, as these care sites endorse a limited number of procedures with a high level of professionalism and maximum patient satisfaction.
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Speaking about the care quality, it would be imperative to mention that during a three-month study period in 2007, it was found that 71% of ambulatory surgical centers did not have a single complication per 1,000 patient encounters and 69% did not have to transfer patients to hospitals. As compared to hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers also registered less spread of infections which resulted in more than 90% of ambulatory surgical centers reporting 3 or fewer infections per 1,000 patients. In fact, studies overwhelmingly show that the quality of care delivered in ambulatory surgical centers is equal to or better than comparable hospital care. This prime factor has indeed played a major role in impelling ambulatory surgical centers market share. Convenient scheduling and reliable service also prompt patients to choose these sites. For example, nearly a third of ambulatory surgical centers report that greater than 90% of their surgeries start within 7 minutes of the time the procedures are scheduled to begin.
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