The future of orthopedics is outpatient


Orthopedic procedures continue to move out of hospitals and into the outpatient setting.

Some physicians believe that orthopedic procedures' migration to the outpatient setting is not just a trend of today but the way of the future.

"In 50 years, orthopedic surgery will largely make advances due to patients being managed in a more minimally invasive fashion with a greater emphasis on outpatient surgery," Kushagra Verma, MD, orthopedic spine surgeon at DISC Sports & Spine Center in Marina del Rey, Calif., told Becker's. "This trend is already emerging over the last 10 years and will continue to grow. Most conditions will be managed outside of the hospital and only very complex cases will require a hospital admission. The difficult recoveries associated with complex surgery will also likely be reduced."

Several practices, hospitals and health systems are looking to cash in on the movement of orthopedic procedures to the outpatient setting by creating their own ASCs.

In March, Cleveland-based University Hospitals opened University Hospitals Amherst (Ohio) Beaver Creek Surgery Center, an orthopedic-focused ASC. Also in March, Indianapolis-based OrthoIndy and Mishawaka, Ind.-based Franciscan Health announced their plan for an orthopedic clinic and ASC near West Lafayette, Ind.

The shift could also mean a win-win for both patients and payers.

"When we talk about that shift towards outpatient procedures, we've seen that trend over the past decade, but we're seeing a significant uptick," Yesh Navalgund, MD, chief medical officer of Rockville, Md.-based National Spine & Pain Centers, told Becker's. "What I feel is the reason for that uptick is advances in the actual medical technology of the devices that we use. We look at the medical technology and the techniques, we see that these newer technologies allow safer and more efficient outpatient surgery, obviously leading to cost savings for both patients and payers."

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