Do ASCs need to optimize block time?

We know that hospitals rely on operating rooms to deliver the majority of their revenues and margin and that OR time sitting idle represents a significant opportunity cost. As such, hospitals use tools like Copient Health to optimize the use of valuable OR time.  Do ASCs share a similar dynamic? Might an ASC benefit from a tool to optimize the use of OR time?

Often yes, but sometimes no.  It depends on answers to several questions, including:

  • Do I have more demand than supply of OR block time?  Is it likely this will change?
  • Can I grow case volume by adding providers?
  • What are the competitive dynamics of my market?

The answers to these interrelated questions are often a function of location and corporate structure.

The sizes, specialties, and corporate structures of ASCs contain quite a bit of variability.  In our home state of Georgia (a certificate of need state), many ASCs were organized under an exception to the CON rules known as a letter of non-renewability (LNR).  These LNR ASCs are generally single-specialty centers with limitations on expansion.  As such, they typically don't bring on additional non-partner credentialled providers.  Often the existing partners may have all the block time they need, with limited to no immediate ability to increase volume via additional surgeons.  For these ASCs, OR time is likely not a critical constraint.

Multi-specialty ASCs with lists of credentialed providers that include both equity partners and non-partners typically have an OR block time supply/demand dynamic that benefits from optimization tools. The equity partner providers at these facilities benefit not only from access to convenient OR time but also from improved dividends related to higher facility utilization.  Patients typically benefit from increased access and all the associated conveniences of an ASC.

Hospitals with wholly-owned ASCs have different economic incentives but stand to benefit from OR optimization meaningfully as well.  Their priorities may be to load balance, or to manage the type and acuity level of procedures done in ASCs.  Both are predicated on access to convenient OR time delivered by optimization tools.

As ASCs continue to grow in number and markets become even more competitive, ASCs' adoption of optimization tools will become a necessity. 

Copient Health uses machine learning to bring margin-increasing case volume to your unused block time. Its powerful algorithms identify OR block time likely to go unused and give your staff the tools necessary to make effective use of that time. It includes real-time analytical tools to support decision-making around block management and allocation.  The results include meaningful improvement in utilization with subsequent margin gains. 

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