Take a Data-Driven Approach to Ambulatory Surgery Center Growth

May 18, 2023
Doctor typing on computer
Data tells an interesting story about ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs)—they charge substantially less than hospitals, even for the same surgeries. But why is the cost lower? It’s partially because ASCs have lower overhead and operate more efficiently than hospitals. These centers expect to see continued growth, thanks to their ability to provide care at a more competitive rate.
Leveraging data can help ASCs strategically expand their businesses to capitalize on the growth trend. The ASC global market is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 31.25% from 2022 to 2027, jumping from $3.06 billion in 2022 to $11.91 billion by 2027, according to Market Data Forecast


Because ASCs can perform services efficiently with lower costs than hospital settings, Medicare reimburses ASCs at a lower rate than hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs). As a result, Medicare and its beneficiaries save more than $2.3 billion each year when patients have preventive and recommended surgical procedures at ASCs instead of other outpatient surgical facilities such as HOPDs, according to Advancing Surgical Care.
The Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting (ASCQR) program, implemented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), requires ASCs that provide care to Medicare beneficiaries to report data on certain measures of clinical quality. The measures align with CMS Quality Strategic priorities, including safety and readmissions.  
ASCQR data is publicly reported, enabling Medicare, patients and consumers to find and compare the quality of care provided at ASCs. The data offers benchmarks to help ASCs compare themselves against industry standards and uncover areas where they can improve their performance. 


Collecting and analyzing data can provide value to ASCs in several ways. These include helping identify growth potential so they can focus their efforts and resources on strategies that offer the highest return on investment (ROI) and meet their patients’ needs.
Collecting and analyzing data also allows ASCs to measure their performance against industry standards and best practices. ASCs can then identify their strengths as well as areas where they can improve the business. In addition, analytics can reveal any gaps in the organization. For example, conducting a gap analysis can determine actual revenues versus budgeted revenues and offers visibility into how an ASC’s current financial performance compares to what is planned.
Data also helps identify and drive operational efficiencies, allowing ASCs to better manage costs, uncover process improvements and automate workflows. “Companies that embrace digital technologies and harness the power of data already have the upper hand when it comes to decision-making, problem-solving, employee satisfaction and performance,” according to McKinsey
Becoming a data-driven organization enables ASCs to assess ongoing progress against established goals, then make informed decisions on any necessary strategic changes. ASCs can use their data to guide them on everything from ensuring they’re buying medical products at competitive prices to comparing historical performance against current business spending and accounts receivable.


Data enables ASCs to pinpoint ways to save money. For example, organizations can leverage data to identify medical products that are similar to, but lower priced, than the items they are currently using.
Likewise, analyzing purchasing data can uncover opportunities to consolidate suppliers. Performing this type of analytics should be done on a continual basis because vendor pricing can sometimes change quickly based on supply and demand—contracts that delivered the most value two years ago may no longer be the best ones today.  
By integrating data from all site locations across an ASC organization, the business can ensure consistent pricing at each individual facility. By aggregating purchasing spend, ASCs can leverage their buying power to ensure they receive the maximum discounts and the optimal tier pricing based on overall spending.


ASCs can utilize professional expertise via their group purchasing organization to create a roadmap that helps them strategically reach their growth goals faster. The expert can improve how ASCs gather, manage, analyze and optimize their data for benchmarking, KPIs, insights and other uses.
Experts can also perform data-driven price comparisons to ensure ASCs are paying competitive prices on the products and services they’re procuring and using every day. As the ASC industry continues to experience growth, data will be increasingly important to help facilities make informed decisions and take advantage of emerging opportunities.

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