Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Understanding the Basics of an Ambulatory Surgery Center

Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) provide same-day surgical care, including diagnostic and preventive procedures. They have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their convenience, cost savings, and high quality of care.

In this article, we’ll look at the basics of an ASC—including the types of surgeries they offer, differences between ASCs and hospitals, advantages that ASCs provide to both patients and physicians—as well as how they are regulated by state and federal governments.

The Types of Surgeries Offered in ASCs

ASCs offer a variety of surgeries, including orthopedic, gynecological, ophthalmologic, ear-nose-and-throat (ENT), and general surgery procedures. Many ASCs also provide endoscopy services.

Some types of procedures are not typically found in ASCs, such as major reconstructive surgery, cardiac care, and trauma or emergency care.

Differences Between ASCs and Hospitals

One of the key differences between an ASC and a hospital is their size. An ASC typically has around 10 to 15 operating rooms while a hospital may have hundreds. This means that ASCs generally offer fewer services, as well as shorter wait times and more personalized care.

Advantages of ASCs

ASCs provide numerous advantages to patients and physicians, including:

  • Lower costs. On average, procedures performed in an ASC cost about half the price compared to a hospital. This can be beneficial for both patients and insurers.
  • Privacy. ASCs generally provide more privacy than hospitals, as they typically have smaller numbers of staff and patients. This can be especially beneficial for those seeking more intimate or sensitive types of care.
  • Shorter wait times. ASCs have shorter wait times than hospitals due to their smaller size and streamlined operations. This can result in a better overall experience for patients who need same-day surgical care.

What You Should Expect from an Ambulatory Surgery Center Visit

When visiting an ASC, you should expect a higher level of care and convenience than at a hospital. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Pre-operative consultation. Your doctor or nurse will discuss the procedure with you and answer any questions you may have.
  • Informed consent. You will be asked to sign an informed consent form that outlines the benefits and risks associated with your procedure.
  • Keep records. You should bring any relevant medical records or test results with you to your appointment. Many ASCs utilize electronic health record (EHR) software to store patient information and track the progress of their treatments.

Regulations for Ambulatory Surgery Centers

The U.S. government has set guidelines that all ASCs must adhere to to be certified. These guidelines address areas such as patient rights, quality assurance, and infection control. ASCs are also required to have a board-certified physician on staff at all times.

In addition, each state has its own set of regulations that must be followed for an ASC to operate legally. These laws often address issues such as licensing requirements and patient safety protocols.

How to Choose a Quality Ambulatory Surgery Center

When choosing an ASC, you should look for one that has a good reputation and is certified by the appropriate state and federal authorities. It’s also important to make sure that the facility is up-to-date on its safety protocols and provides quality care.

You may want to ask your doctor or insurance provider for referrals or visit the ASC’s website to learn more about their services, staff qualifications, and patient satisfaction ratings. This information can help you make an informed decision before selecting your ambulatory surgery center.

Now that we have explored the basics of an ASC, it is clear why they become increasingly popular in recent years. They offer a wide range of benefits to both patients and physicians—from lower costs and shorter wait times to more personalized care and greater privacy. With proper regulation in place, ASCs can be a safe and reliable choice for same-day surgical care.