Key Factors to Consider Before Opening an Ambulatory Surgery Center

Updated on December 6, 2021

An ambulatory surgery facility, whether an ASC, may be a challenging prospect, especially when starting from the ground up with new construction, unestablished systems, and staff unfamiliar with the complexities of ambulatory surgical treatment. The ASC environment necessitates careful preparation and attention to detail.

Patients who need same-day ambulatory surgeries or preventive procedures can have them done at ambulatory surgical centers, also known as surgicenters, which are highly regulated healthcare facilities. Ambulatory surgery centers have grown in popularity due to lower costs, greater convenience, and the ability to achieve the same favorable patient results that can be completed in a hospital.

They are consulting services to facilities that are building a new center (or need assistance in simplifying an existing one) (or need help streamlining an existing one). In making a new home, we’ve learned that construction planning is one of the most vital yet sometimes overlooked components of the process. You must carefully consider the design and workflow of the building throughout the planning stage to avoid overbuilding.

ASCs and HOPDs operate differently than hospitals; therefore, getting this right can be difficult, primarily if the project is being directed from the perspective of a hospital. An in-depth operational review of a new HOPD building has previously been done via consulting services provided. It is a tremendous job to ensure that all ASC-specific protocols were in place before the center was ready to open to the public. As a result, here are some takeaways:

Utilize Space Effectively

A typical ASC requires far less space than a hospital. This facility had drawn up a 200,000 square foot expansion design for a new site positioned across a sky bridge from the current hospital. The spacious floor concept comprised 36 bays—nearly double what is needed for an ASC. After evaluating the construction design and seeing the site, you help the team build a revised floor plan to restructure patient placement, instrument processing, staffing spaces, and supplies. Although a considerable amount of space was left empty, these improvements allowed the center to save money by avoiding filling additional rooms with collections and staff.

Availability and Innovation

In surgery, it is essential to stay on top of the latest developments in technology. As many as 23 million procedures are performed in ASCs each year, requiring that the surgery center’s facilities and equipment be up-to-date and well-maintained. The greeting and waiting areas should be welcoming and peaceful, not only for your patients but for your staff as well.


The ASC must maintain a continuous crisis plan. All doctors and employees should sign the program, which should include monthly staff meetings and regular updates. In addition to coding audits, accounting audits, operational audits, and frequent legal assessments of reporting requirements, the compliance strategy should include outside coding audits with action documentation to remedy any problems discovered.

Establish ASC-specific Processes

Ensuring ASC-specific protocols are in place is critical. You can work with the team at the ASC to aid with staffing ratios and to set PAR levels for different supplies to maximize efficiency and keep costs down. We also evaluated and changed the current hospital policies so that they were appropriate to an ASC. In addition to reviewing the center’s readiness before completion, my work extended for months post the opening to examine continuing operations, including aiding the staff to prepare for an impending Joint Commission survey.

Qualified staff

Surgeons in private practice or group practice can use the courteous, highly qualified staff at surgery centers. Make sure that the facility you are looking into has a team available while you do your research. Hospital-based outpatient surgery has been altered by introducing ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), both freestanding and in the outpatient department of a hospital.  They have become a popular and lucrative commercial prospect for both hospitals and physicians. Everyone from administrative personnel to RNs, LPNs, PAs, paramedics, and scrub techs is included in this category. You save money, your appointments run more efficiently, and your patients are more relaxed as a result of these benefits as well.

Easy Scheduling

According to this article from, block scheduling, which is more common at ambulatory surgery centers than in hospitals, makes it easier for patients and surgeons to plan surgeries. The quicker patient turnaround times at ASCs allow doctors to fit more patients into their schedules than they could in a hospital setting, with an average of three surgical cases per operating room per day. Back-to-back outpatient surgeries can be organized for more efficiency and better time management, allowing for greater flexibility. As a result, surgeons can switch between cases with minimum downtime.

If you’re a doctor, the most valuable benefit of block scheduling is the freedom it gives you to schedule surgeries at times that work best for you. There is a lower risk of patient appointments being delayed or postponed at a surgery center because their status as “non-emergency” surgery is not a factor.

Increasingly, doctors are questioning the efficiency and feasibility of operating on patients in major hospitals. Physicians can provide their patients access to high-quality surgical operations on an outpatient basis in a more comfortable and less scary atmosphere through ASCs, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs).

Cultivate an ASC Mindset

If your team is new to the outpatient setting, educate them on the “ASC mindset,” which is radically different from a hospital perspective, exceptionally patient flow. Ensure that they grasp not just how an ASC varies from a hospital but also why it has changed the surgical experience for patients.

The shift of treatments from inpatient to outpatient settings continues. We’ll see more ASC and HOPD construction. Getting it right will be critical in an increasingly competitive climate if you’re considering new development or would like an in-depth operational audit of your existing building.

Value-based care initiatives are likely to benefit healthcare programs in the long run if they shift appropriate surgical cases to ASCs. However, the health care system’s decision to invest in a certain ASC will be determined by the specific circumstances it faces. Health care systems that can provide the most affordable surgical procedures while still delivering high-quality treatment will be the ones that will survive in the future.

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