Modern surgery centers will have to rely on medical technologies to keep up with caseloads while managing costs. 

Today, 53% of orthopedic surgeries are performed in surgery centers as opposed to a traditional hospital setting. With an influx of more patients opting for out-patient surgeries, there are challenges for administration at ASCs to keep up with patient demand, while remaining efficient and profitable. The popularity of surgery centers comes at a time when technology in health is growing at an astronomical rate. 

Managing a high-caseload surgery center has no shortage of challenges. Typically operating like a start-up, executives have more options as far as implementing technologies and setting processes and procedures. Alongside the ability to implement tech more swiftly, ASCs face challenges such as an enormous amount of records, increasing case volume, and wanting to perform safe and accurate surgeries. 

While many are comfortable with current processes and not changing the status quo, taking the time to implement and learn new technologies can help improve surgical outcomes, reduce expenses, and automate processes that have typically been manual. 

Here are 5 Surgery Center technology trends that will alleviate pain points in today’s modern surgery center. 

1. Robotics continues to be a controversial discussion. 

The implementation of robotics has taken a giant leap forward when it comes to health tech. While implementing this type of technology for surgery centers is expensive, it helps surgeons conduct less invasive and more precise surgeries for their patients. Healio recently published an article outlining surgeons’ views on implementing robotics into their practice. In this article Carlos J. Lavernia, MD says robotic technology can help surgeons reduce soft tissue damage in TKA surgeries. 

“Definitely, every orthopedic surgeon needs to learn how to use these robots because in 5 years, maybe 10 [years], there is not going to be a joint replacement that is going to be done without a robot,” Lavernia said.

Robotics has the power to assist surgeons during surgery helping with navigation, precision, and ultimately giving surgeons more control over the procedure. With an increase in adoption, the prices and size of surgical robots will continue to decrease. 

The reason that ASCs need to pay attention to up-and-coming robotics is that it can save costs in re-admitting patients due to the precision of this technology. In addition, surgeons utilizing robotic assistance in the OR can perform surgeries faster, helping increase the caseload without overworking doctors. 

2. Augmented or Virtual Reality for training and surgical prep. 

For clarification, augmented reality allows a user to be in the physical world with virtual enhancements. In a virtual reality setting, the user is in a digital world and requires a headset. 

Companies such as Osso VR have developed a virtual world specifically for surgical training. When surgeons or medical assistants use this software, they are transported into an OR where they can perform a simulated surgery. This is useful when prepping for a difficult case, or it allows surgeons to train alongside medical reps, and surgical staff to learn new techniques. 

Implementing VR platforms in surgery centers helps surgeons learn new techniques from anywhere, and can help surgeries be more accurate due to practicing in a virtual realm. 

AR is another emerging technology that surgery centers need to note. During an operation, surgeons can access AR through goggles or glasses and can pull patient information quickly and easily during an operation. 

3. AI, or artificial intelligence assisting with big data. 

Each patient that walks into a surgery center creates a large amount of data. Electronic medical records, imaging files, and surgical notes must be organized and secure. 

In addition, each surgery that takes place has dictation notes, charge sheets, and other records that have to be stored securely. By leveraging AI-powered software, preoperative planning software can generate surgical plans including segmentation, landmarks, and implant size. By leveraging AI-powered software, surgery time will decrease, again allowing for a higher caseload.

But, another important outcome for ASCs is keeping patient records organized, and secure. Having patient data easily accessible will help eliminate time-consuming and repetitive tasks. 

Many believe the future of healthcare is personalized medicine. This means surgeons will need computers to collect data on each patient, their illness, treatments, and outcomes from each procedure. With this demand, many surgeons will see the implementation of patient wearables to help track outcomes and patient success. While setting up this type of infrastructure seems like a massive undertaking, once the digital infrastructure is created the cost of adding patients will be cost effective. 

4. Workflow automation.

Each patient that walks into a surgery center creates a large amount of data. Electronic medical records, imaging files, and surgical notes must be organized and secure. 

In addition, each surgery that takes place has dictation notes, charge sheets, and other records that have to be stored securely. By leveraging AI-powered software, preoperative planning software can generate surgical plans including segmentation, landmarks, and implant size. Consequently using AI-powered software will decrease surgery time, allowing for a higher caseload.

But, another important outcome for ASCs is keeping patient records organized, and secure. Having patient data easily accessible will help eliminate time-consuming and repetitive tasks. 

Many believe the future of healthcare is personalized medicine. This means surgeons will need computers to collect data on each patient, their illness, treatments, and outcomes from each procedure. With this demand, many surgeons will see the implementation of patient wearables to help track outcomes and patient success. While setting up this type of infrastructure seems like a massive undertaking, once the digital infrastructure is created the cost of adding patients will be cost effective. 

Click here to learn more about workflow automations.

5. Implementing software in ASC offices to reduce redundant tasks.

Most tasks performed in offices at surgery centers are manual, and require an extensive office staff to manage. However, using cloud-based software to digitize records is a game-changer when it comes to becoming more efficient and even eliminating office positions. 

PRO-MAPP is an example of software to help streamline revenue management for surgery centers. This software will eliminate post-operative dictation, saving surgery centers up to $3,000 in monthly dictation fees. Because this sends out coded operative reports immediately following the surgery, which allows the revenue cycle management to start the same day the surgery is completed. 

Automated digital workflows allow surgeons and ASC executives to digitize their file system which results in more organized records, easy-to-find data, and efficient back-office recordkeeping. 

One big advantage of implementing workflow automation software is that it accelerates cost savings. Tasks that once had to be accomplished by a team of people can now be accomplished with a smaller team and software. 

Typically a traditional industry, the way the medical community is managing surgeries is drastically changing. Some of the change is attributed to COVID-19 and rapidly changing technology in every industry. However, the number of orthopedic surgeries to be performed each year continues to increase while the rate of surgeons graduating from medical school isn’t growing fast enough to keep up with demand.

Today, surgery centers and hospital administration have a choice to implement new technologies. Soon it will be a necessary means to keep up with patient demand. These healthcare technology trends to help with faster, more accurate surgeries but will also manage costs in the long-term. Implementing new cloud-based software does require training and implementation, but the long-term positive effects will aid in smoother billing and less busy work.

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