Ambulatory surgery costs

Generic Clinical Sciences

In today’s ambulatory surgery centers, more complex surgical procedures are being safely performed while providing a clear economic benefit in an era of cost containment. The development of improved anesthetics and minimally invasive surgical techniques have made the growth of ambulatory surgery possible. These advances have helped to decrease hospital resource utilization, morbidity and mortality, and procedural costs and improve patient satisfaction and OR efficiency.

In the preoperative setting, timely preoperative evaluation and screening should minimize cancellations and delays. The recognition and optimization of medical conditions preoperatively is very important. When compared to hospitalized patients, fewer preoperative lab tests and unnecessary screening tests are done further reducing costs.

Delays in PACU discharge or unanticipated hospital admission significantly increase the cost of ambulatory surgery. PONV and pain are the most common contributors to delay in PACU discharge. The “fast-track” process may decrease cost by reducing the amount of time spent in the postoperative period. This is especially important when the peak number of patients in the PACU is high. This process, in conjunction with anesthetic techniques that include antiemetic and analgesic prophylaxis, are important for reducing postoperative stay.

As the number of available hospital beds declines, ambulatory surgery with play an even more important part in reducing overall healthcare costs. A focus on streamlining the patient through the ambulatory surgery process, while maintaining quality and safety, is vital in reducing costs. The Anesthesiologist can contribute by choosing anesthetic techniques that minimize side-effects, decrease anesthesia time, and provide rapid recovery.

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2012

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