The movement of cardiovascular procedures to the outpatient setting

Historically, cardiologists have conducted most cases in a hospital setting.

However, over the last 12 years, the migration of procedures to the outpatient setting has steadily grown and in the last few years, the growth has been exponential.

During a September podcast hosted by Becker's Healthcare and sponsored by SCA Health, three experts on cardiac procedures — all from SCA Health — discussed the shift of cardiac care to the ambulatory surgery center (ASC) setting and the implications for physician specialists who would like to treat patients in this lower-cost, high-quality environment:

  • Matt Bolin, director of clinical quality
  • Marty Taglauer, director of cardiovascular program development
  • Kami Dinkel, director of operations

Four key insights were:

1. SCA Health is ideally positioned to help cardiologists migrate care to the ASC setting. SCA Health has a long history of ASC support. The company has a dedicated cardiovascular team that includes clinical staff, as well as development project managers who understand how to design new facilities from the ground up and renovate existing facilities.

"Our clinical staff members have the skills and experience needed to start a cardiovascular program from licensing and accreditation to site surveys, competencies, emergency drills and equipment and product selections," Mr. Taglauer said. "We work closely with facilities to treat their first patients and then provide ongoing care."

2. Cardiologists appreciate SCA Health's proven track record and commitment to quality. SCA Health has multiple successful ASCs that handle cardiovascular cases and share best practices. Based on SCA Health's experience, the company can educate providers and referring physicians about the benefits of treating cardiovascular cases in an outpatient setting. "SCA Health tracks benchmarks internally for quality, patient satisfaction and physician satisfaction. If variances arise, we have processes in place to identify and address those quickly. We have embraced a continuous improvement mindset and we have a network for information sharing," Ms. Dinkel said.

3. SCA Health understands what it takes to deliver positive patient outcomes in the ASC setting. Patient selection criteria enable cardiologists to identify those patients who are best suited for care in the ASC setting. SCA Health also focuses on hiring experienced staff and utilizing the right equipment and supplies. Patients appreciate the ASC environment because they receive personal care in a lower-cost setting.

4. As cardiovascular procedures become safer and less complex, growth of ASCs will continue. ASCs are beneficial for consumers and payers, given the positive outcomes and lower-cost care. "The value and level of service we can provide is unprecedented," Mr. Bolin said. "Every year, new procedures are added in this space which makes it even more exciting in terms of the results we can achieve for patients. Our goal is to provide patients with the best possible care."

As more procedures move to the outpatient setting, including cardiovascular procedures, ASC leaders can benefit from working with experts who have experience, deep expertise and a commitment to quality and outcomes.

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