A Comparison of Ambulatory Perioperative Times in Hospitals and Freestanding Centers

Published in: The American Journal of Surgery, v. 204, no. 1, July 2012, p. 23-27

Posted on RAND.org on July 01, 2012

by Brionna Hair, Peter S. Hussey, Barbara O. Wynn

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BACKGROUND: The volume of surgical procedures performed in ambulatory surgical centers has increased rapidly. METHODS: Ambulatory surgical visits of Medicare beneficiaries were compared for hospital-based and freestanding ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). The main outcomes were time in surgery, time in operating room, time in postoperative care, and total perioperative time. RESULTS: The mean total perioperative time for all procedures examined was 39% shorter in freestanding ASCs then in hospital-based ASCs (83 vs 135 min; P < .01); surgery time was 37% shorter (19 vs 30 min; P < .01), operating room time was 37% shorter (34 vs 54 min; P < .01), and postoperative time was 35% shorter (48 vs 74 min; P < .01). CONCLUSIONS: Perioperative times were significantly shorter in freestanding ASCs than in hospital-based ASCs. It is unclear how much of the difference was the result of efficiency versus patient selection.

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