Study Compares Efficiency of Surgery Facilities: Ambulatory Center Vs. Hospital

Plastic surgeons will often have the option to perform surgical procedures at a private ambulatory surgery center or in a hospital.  Although either facility is considered safe, there are key differences that you may want to consider.  One of those differences, according to a recent study, is the efficiency of the ambulatory surgery center.

The study in the American Journal of Surgery compared the hospital to the surgery center and showed that total facility time and the time intervals before and after surgery were longer in the hospital setting.

The authors had the opportunity to compare both facilities as their breast operations were relocated — from an ambulatory surgery center to a hospital.  The records of 92 hospital patients and 92 ASC patients were then retrospectively analyzed to compare time intervals and other information.

Time intervals for surgical care were measured and reviewed by the authors and they found that on average, total facility time was 69 minutes shorter in the ambulatory surgery center.  Most significant was the 55-minute difference in the preoperative time period – “the time from the entrance into the holding area to entrance into the operating room.”

Based on the findings, they argue that outpatient surgery is more efficient when performed at a dedicated outpatient center.  Also, if the time saving practices used at the surgery center are incorporated at the hospital, it could increase efficiency in that setting.

Read the study “Outpatient surgery performed in an ambulatory surgery center versus a hospital: comparison of perioperative time intervals” in the American Journal of Surgery (2010) 200, 64 – 67