In the surgical industry, patients are not only looking for positive clinical outcomes but also exceptional patient experiences throughout their healthcare journey.

The patient experience is vital as it spells the difference between patient loyalty versus patients finding another surgical facility.

For ambulatory surgery centers, or ASCs, that focus on providing same-day outpatient surgical care, the patient experience is the primary selling point which can make or break their facility.

Today, over 60% of all surgeries are performed either in a hospital outpatient department (HOPD) or ambulatory surgery center (ASC). Leapfrog’s 2021 Patient Experience Report revealed that ASCs received higher patient satisfaction scores than hospitals.

The reason why patients – particularly high-profile professional athletes – are drawn to ASCs is because they provide a more personalized experience compared to going to a big hospital.

On Sept. 29, Oakland Athletics shortstop Elvis Andrus went to Trinity Park Surgical Center in Arlington, Texas to treat a fractured leg. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson also underwent surgery on an injured middle finger at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan Jobe Surgery Center in Los Angeles last Oct. 8.

Some ASCs are official orthopaedic providers and provide expert care to elite athletes, keeping them in top shape so they can play at their best. For example, Premier Orthopaedics has been the official orthopaedic provider of the Philadelphia Union since the team’s founding in 2010.

ASCs have transformed the outpatient experience for patients and their families and have done so with a strong track record of high-quality care, personalized attention, and positive patient outcomes.

What is preventing your facility from being the center of choice for the biggest names in the nation?

Top ASC Challenges That Can Impact the Patient Experience

As the healthcare industry evolves, some crucial challenges remain for ASCs. Many ASCs are still running lean throughout the pandemic.

Due to the pandemic and payment updates from CMS, the ASC landscape has also changed significantly in the past year.

As surgery centers recover financially and operationally, these pressing challenges may impact the patient experience:

        Staffing Shortage

        Red Flag
        Red Flag

        There has been a major staffing shortage going on in the healthcare industry for years that is exacerbated by the pandemic. It will continue to be a significant challenge to find enough qualified nurses and other staff for surgical facilities.

        ASCs are scrambling to recruit the needed personnel to provide high-quality care for incoming patients. According to the 2021 OR Manager Salary/Career Survey, 40% of ASC leaders reported that the most common staffing challenge was hiring more direct care staff.

        The high price of dealing with the COVID-19 staffing crisis is another financial hit for surgical facilities. When expenses are going up and not enough revenue is coming in, surgical facilities’ financial health are suffering.

              Overworked Staff and Workflow Inefficiencies

              Overworked
              Overworked

              When there’s inadequate staff, those who are on staff would be obliged to work more hours.

              This puts a strain and significant stress on staff and results in burnout – a long-standing issue in healthcare.

              A recent study analyzing data from 3.9 million nurses revealed that of those nurses who left their current employment (9.5% of the respondents), 31.5% reported leaving because of burnout.

              According to Medscape’s 2021 National Physician Burnout & Suicide Report which surveyed over 12,000 physicians, 42% said they were burned out. The biggest contributors to burnout might surprise you:

              • 58% of respondents said that dealing with too many bureaucratic tasks is the biggest contributor to their burnout (topping the list)
              • 37% of respondents attributed their burnout to spending too many hours at work.

              This means many physicians are trying to get administrative tasks done, which sacrifices time for patient interaction. When staff is overworked with not enough personnel to provide adequate OR assistance, the patient experience and operating room procedures suffer as a result.

                Impact of Regulatory Changes

                X-Ray
                X-Ray

                With the CMS 2020 Final Payment rule in effect, ASCs will increasingly handle more high-acuity cases and more types of surgeries – especially joint replacements and spine surgeries.

                These specialties are high-reimbursing for hospitals. With the continued migration of these procedures, independent centers can expect more competition from hospitals and hospital-based surgery centers.

                The increase in joint replacement surgeries at ASCs would be a great opportunity to boost volumes and revenues. But this increase in the volume of surgical procedures would also result in the increased need for staffing.

                Increasing Bad Debt

                Debt
                Debt

                According to a recent medical debt survey by Debt.com, 50 percent of Americans now carry medical debt, up from 46 percent in 2020.

                How ASCs would approach bad debt recovery and patient collections can substantially affect their revenue and also the patient experience and satisfaction.

                With more than 137 million Americans burdened with medical debt, the challenge is up for ASCs in embracing new approaches to patient billing and collections.

                How ASCs Can Win the Patient Experience

                ASCs need to stay on top of these challenges and continue striving to make their surgical facilities the safest and best option for a patient’s surgery, more so for elite athletes.

                ASCs are in a unique position to be able to deliver cost-effective, high-quality care and positive patient experiences. Patients often remark that their experience with ASCs don’t feel clinical, but more like a spa.

                For many surgeries, patients often come accompanied by their friend or family member as they are not allowed to drive themselves home.

                This is why the best ASCs provide more than just positive clinical outcomes – they provide concierge-like services to patients and their families.

                Surgical facilities need to ensure that staff is free to care for patients and someone is available to attend to guests in the waiting room.

                In the ASC environment, patients are looking for a personal interaction, not just a medical one. Having adequate dedicated staff guarantees that each patient will receive an exceptional degree of individualized care.

                One surgical administrator in Colorado found that having a patient financial counselor was the smartest thing they have done to improve the patient experience as they’ve seen much higher patient satisfaction as a result.

                Conclusion

                By working with Mnet, ASCs can quickly stay on top of their challenges in order to consistently provide an exceptional patient experience even during this pandemic.

                Mnet offers a concierge-based approach to helping patients pay which not only increases cash flow, but also contributes to a positive patient experience.

                With its First-Party Patient Billing solutions, Mnet provides every patient with the best experience possible by providing an exceptional level of service. Our Patient Financial Advocates help patients understand their bill in over 200 languages, provide financial counseling and easy ways to pay, including sensible payment plans and financing options.

                Mnet also offers innovative technologies that support concierge-level services like Text-to-Pay and PaySUITE to deliver patient financial services and state-of-the-art payment technology custom-branded to your facility.

                Having an RCM partner like Mnet helps ASCs overcome their top challenges and reap these benefits:

                • Free up limited staff and resources to focus on patient interaction and personalized care instead of billing and collections.
                • More efficient workflows translates to less-stressed staff, higher staff retention, and avoids future turnover costs.
                • Reduced administrative burden so that surgery centers can see more patients while preventing surgeon burnout.
                • Increased cash flow and streamlined processes with the help of innovative payment technologies.

                With Mnet as your partner, your ASC can stand out with its concierge-style patient experience that’s fitting for stars!



                About Mnet

                technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

                Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.