At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, elective orthopedic procedures dropped about 61%, according to the American Alliance of Orthopaedic Executives. Postponing these elective surgeries has left a significant amount of revenue on the table. While general hospitals are still prioritizing COVID-19 treatment, ASCs have a perfect opportunity to increase their volume of elective procedures, such as total joint replacements.

Why patients want outpatient joint surgery 

Having surgery at an ASC is a natural choice for many patients. Particularly during the pandemic, many patients still feel wary of the hospital setting. And, while joint replacements are not emergency surgeries, for many, they are long-awaited procedures that significantly improve well-being and quality of life. The outpatient setting is the most appealing choice for many patients right now, as they can typically recover in the comfort of their own home.

Increase technology to meet demand  

Many surgery centers were not built with joint replacements in mind. As demand for these procedures increases, ASCs must implement the kind of technology that can keep up with patient needs. While some centers may not have the immediate means to invest in state-of-the-art technology such as robots, many can significantly benefit from other technologies, such as digital patient tracking boards.

With more advanced technology, many surgery centers can optimize their processes and improve efficiency. For example, one surgery center’s investment in technology allowed them to get their vendors down to three trays. This simplified overall processes and sterilization procedures. The result? Increased operational efficiency and more positive patient outcomes.

Streamline your vendor management 

In a post-COVID-19 world, efficiency is crucial. As more and more patients opt for the outpatient setting, ASCs must look for creative ways to streamline. One option could be to opt for a vendor management system that communicates with your ASC’s vendors in real-time. With this technology, vendors have real-time access to your facility’s needs, thereby ensuring that you always have the proper equipment and coverage for each surgery.

Reassure patients of safety 

In areas where coronavirus cases have plateaued, surgery centers can confidently resume total joint replacements. But many patients may still feel uncertain or wary.

Communicate to your patients that you are taking all of the necessary safety precautions. For streamlined messaging, it may help to invest in a digital communication platform that sends personalized, timely messages to all your patients. Some of the messages to reiterate may include:

  • Requiring mask-wearing for all patients, visitors, and employees
  • Practicing social distancing in waiting rooms
  • Using video visits or online pre-admissions to reduce face-to-face contact
  • Increasing disinfection protocols and housekeeping services
  • Testing each patient for COVID-19 before surgery
  • Utilizing technology to notify family members about patient status during and after surgery

While the novel coronavirus will be around for some time, you can still safely and effectively perform total joint replacements in your ASC. For many patients, the decision to proceed with a joint replacement sooner rather than later can significantly increase their satisfaction and quality of life.