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10 Trends for ASCs and Outpatient Surgery in the Next Decade

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

As we look ahead to the future of outpatient surgery and Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs), several key trends and predictions emerge.

Top 10 Trends in ASCs

Here are the top 10 trends for ASCs that will shape the landscape of ASCs and outpatient surgery through 2027:

  1. Shift towards Outpatient Care: Over the next decade, inpatient discharges are expected to decrease by 2 percent, while outpatient volumes are projected to grow by 15 percent nationwide. This shift is driven by cost scrutiny and the push towards value-based care.

  2. Orthopedic and Spine Procedures Moving to Outpatient Setting: Inpatient orthopedic and spine surgeries are expected to decrease by 3 percent over the next 10 years. Conversely, outpatient spine surgeries, including spinal fusions, are anticipated to increase by 35 percent during the same period.

  3. Consumer-Driven Choice: Consumers will play a significant role in choosing outpatient settings for orthopedic and spine care. This trend will reduce growth in rehab follow-up visits and steer care away from hospitals and emergency departments.

  4. Advancements in Cardiovascular Care: While cardiovascular care is declining in the inpatient setting, the shift to outpatient care is limited due to the older patient population requiring additional support. However, continued technological advances and payment approvals may enable interventional cardiology and electrophysiology procedures to move to outpatient settings.

  5. Accelerated Shift in Gynecology Procedures: The transition to outpatient care for gynecology procedures is expected to accelerate in the coming years. Inpatient gynecology is projected to decrease by 28 percent in the next decade, with outpatient hysterectomies becoming more common.

  6. Increased Competition for Outpatient Care: As CMS removes high-revenue procedures like knee replacements from the inpatient-only list, there will likely be a surge in competition for outpatient care. Both ASCs and health systems are reevaluating their ambulatory footprints in response.

  7. Non-Provider Organizations Entering the Market: With the industry's move towards value-based care, non-provider organizations such as private equity firms and insurance companies are showing increased interest in outpatient surgery and ASCs. This trend introduces new competitors to the space.

  8. Growth of ASC Market: The ASC market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4 percent from 2017 to 2027. The hospital-based ASC segment is projected to reach $69.7 billion by 2027, with multispecialty ASCs dominating at $76.8 billion.

  9. Continued Market Growth: ASC surgical volume in 46 of the 50 largest U.S. markets experienced a 10 percent growth from 2015 to 2016, and market factors indicate that this growth will persist. Payment reforms, evolving consumer sentiment, and technological advancements are disrupting traditional care models.

  10. Surge in ASC Surgical Procedures: In the 50 largest markets, the overall ASC surgical procedure volume increased by 22.9 percent nationwide, with 35.8 million outpatient procedures occurring annually in hospital-based outpatient departments and ASCs. GI procedures witnessed a growth of 19.4 percent from 2015 to 2016, while eye procedures saw a 2.8 percent increase.

Top Trends on a Rise

As we navigate the next decade, these trends will shape the ASC and outpatient surgery landscape, requiring healthcare providers and organizations to adapt and embrace the evolving healthcare environment.

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