Most ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are focused on effective patient strategy overall, working hard to surround every patient with thorough information and resources, before, during, and after they visit the center for a procedure. But a growing number of ASCs is discovering that adding a focus on women and women’s health improves outcomes with patients overall and could help grow case volume.
“I think first about how women drive healthcare decision-making,” says Stephanie Martin, vice president of operations at Regent Surgical Health. “From an ASC standpoint, targeting women makes sense because moms and women are doing all they can to take care of their families, to keep them out of the hospital, and to get good care at a fair price. As family decision makers, women often are the ones really pulling it all together.”
Martin says a focus on women helps facilitate better care across all patients, and also can open doors for new case volume opportunities related to women’s health procedures, including breast health, orthopedics, and potentially in the future, additional gynecological procedures.
“Breast health procedures like biopsies, needle localization, and early lumpectomies are a good fit for ASCs,” Martin says. “We’ve seen a big uptake in women really thinking about breast health, and proactively managing it. The convenience of ASCs makes them a very good choice for minor breast procedures.”
When it comes to orthopedics, a focus on women may also create opportunities:
- Several studies point to the increased incidence of knee injuries among women, due to anatomical and hormonal differences from men, especially as women engage in more sports and fitness activities.
- In addition, the New England Journal of Medicine reports underuse of arthroplasty for severe arthritis is three times as prevalent in women versus men, bringing preventable disability.
- And, a majority of total joint replacement surgeries are conducted on women in the U.S. today.
Finally, select gynecological surgeries are appropriate for ASCs today, with the potential for additional cases to move outpatient in the future as ASC staffing, facilities and technology evolve.
Emerging evidence suggests the trend is catching on. Already in 2018, Becker’s ASC Review reports news of ASCs adding women’s health resources: Expansion to the Omaha (Neb.) VA Medical Center includes a new ASC slated for completion in summer 2020, featuring exam rooms, an outpatient surgery suite, and a women’s health clinic; and New York-Presbyterian recently opened the David H. Koch Center, a new ASC offering a wide range of ambulatory care services, including outpatient surgery, interventional radiology, and imaging. By 2020, the building also will house the New York-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns.
A national leader in managing ASCs, Regent suggests those interested in developing women’s health strategies consider evolving market demographics and social trends, as well as changing reimbursement and care standards. For more information, click here.