4 reasons Why it’s Easier Than Ever to Move Procedures in-Office.
Reason #2: THE EVOLUTION OF TECHNOLOGY
With Technology Rapidly Advancing, Many Factors Have Supported the Movement Toward Office-Based Procedures.
Advances in technology have greatly contributed to the rise in office-based procedures, both intentionally and unintentionally. Consider, for example, the development of specific equipment designed with the intent to move less-complex procedures out of hospital/surgery centers and into office-based settings. Unhappy with delays and politics typical in a hospital/surgery center setting, device companies saw an opportunity to evolve their products to make them attainable for independent physician offices.
Today’s lighter weight, portable devices are intuitive to use and less expensive than their predecessors. It was this line of thinking that also led to the development of monitoring and emergency equipment which allow for certain procedures to be safely performed in an office. Moving procedures, such as endometrial ablation or lithotripsy, out of resource-intensive hospital environments, and into an office setting also meant device companies could align with the industry’s mission to cut costs. Both physicians and insurance carriers saw the financial benefits that stood to be gained by performing these procedures in an office setting rather than a hospital, which made this technology a rather easy sell. Another smart move by these companies was to build the cost and price structure around the reimbursement incentives offered by the carrier so they knew the physician could afford and make money off bringing the procedure, and the device company’s equipment, into their office.
A less obvious technology advancement that has played a significant role in enabling the site of service transition to office-based surgical settings is traditional computer technology (i.e. hardware and software). Hardware such as desktops, notebook PCs, and tablets are continually advancing. At the same time, costs are decreasing, making portable devices much more affordable for physician offices. Software has also evolved, enabling scheduling to be efficiently coordinated in office and inventory easily managed online. There are also affordable EHR/EMR options for smaller practices like a physician’s office.
Another key development is the advent of cloud computing. Cloud-based technology eliminates hefty upfront IT investment. The only things physicians need to get up and running are an Internet connection and a computer, laptop, or tablet. Because the vendor is responsible for managing all the upgrades, backups, and maintenance, there is no need for an onsite IT department. And, no additional physical space is required to house a data center because IT operations are at the vendor’s secure data center. With easier, more affordable access to technology, physicians can provide better, more efficient, and safer care to patients.
Smaller, more affordable devices, the constant evolution of hardware and software, and cloud-based technology all support the movement toward office-based procedures. Additional advances in these areas will likely further expand this site of service transition. See part 3 of this 4 part series here.