Keys to bringing your total joint orthopedic practice to the ASC

Over the past several years, patients have become more aware of high inpatient treatment costs, the risk of hospital infections, and the availability of reputable outpatient surgery centers. Demand has drastically increased for outpatient surgery.  And in response, orthopedic surgeons have increasingly expanded or completely migrated their surgical practices to the ASC.1

This trend – in combination with decreasing reimbursement rates – has made both independent practices and hospitals look to ASCs as a viable option for providing cost-effective treatment for their patients. To operate successful outpatient practices and remain competitive in this expanding market, orthopedic surgical centers need to adopt medical technology that allows them to remain profitable while delivering hospital-level care.

Efficiency is key: How ASCs provide hospital-grade care without the costs

According to consulting firm Bain & Company, in the United States alone, ASCs were predicted to represent a $43 billion market by the end of this year.2 Across medical specialties, ASCs have increased their patient base and procedure volume year-over-year by strategically offering patients the convenience and cost savings of outpatient treatment and the benefit of hospital-grade care.

Among orthopedic practices, that strategy has meant focusing their services on relatively low-risk surgical procedures with predictable patient outcomes and low complication rates.3 Focusing on procedures like total or uni knee replacements, allows orthopedic practices operating in ASCs to drive financial efficiency throughout their business model, reducing the cost to their patients and increasing the business’s profit margins.

ASCs are rapidly outpacing hospitals in terms of the number of surgical patients treated.2 As this trend continues, new and existing orthopedic practices will need to take advantage of innovative surgical technologies to reduce operating expenses and retain their competitive advantage.

Integrating the benefits of new medical technology with minimal impact on efficiency

As of January 2022, the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will allow reimbursement for over 250 surgeries previously listed as “in-patient only.”[such as robotic hip replacements]. By 2023, another 1,500 musculoskeletal surgical procedures will become eligible for outpatient reimbursements.4

These changes offer crucial opportunities for orthopedic ASCs to expand their offerings and grow their businesses, which often requires significant technology investments. While outpatient surgery rivals’ hospital procedures in terms of quality of care and cost savings for patients, the expense of acquiring and maintaining traditional medical technology can limit future growth.

In the ASC market, consistently prioritizing efficiency is key for success, especially given the competitive pricing and lower reimbursement rates relative to inpatient facilities. ASCs have been shown to offer comparable surgical procedures that hospitals provide while charging insurance providers and patients 35% to 50% less.2 Adding to that challenge, outpatient facilities receive lower reimbursement from Medicare, and Medicaid.

ASCs must prioritize business efficiency while meeting patient expectations and market demands for hip and knee replacement technologies. Today, patients expect outpatient surgeries to be as effective and safe as hospital procedures while at a significantly lower cost. OrthAlign handheld navigation allows ASCs to meet those needs while providing accurate, effective, and scalable services for total and partial knee replacement. The user-friendly design and interface provide streamlined workflows to reduce OR times and support multiple ORs concurrently without the investment, equipment, or pre-operative imaging required by many computer-assisted surgical systems.

With low reimbursements, orthopedic ASCs need value-adding solutions to remain profitable

In the current landscape of outpatient surgery, orthopedic practices have a critical opportunity to establish strong business models built on differentiated services that will help expand their patient bases. The decreased reimbursements that ASCs receive are only increasing the need for an efficient, technology-driven ASC business model.5

Bringing an orthopedic practice to the ASC requires a strategic approach – one that takes advantage of surgical tools that can lower operating expenses while delivering better patient outcomes.

Integrating medical technology that will improve ASC workflows and sustain financial efficiency will be essential for future success. The tech services and offerings ASCs provide should all fit within a consistent, value-based model. OrthAlign navigation can help orthopedic practices efficiently scale and streamline their surgical offerings with portable, single-use solutions that provide the proven results patients expect.

Careful evaluation of technology is critical for the ASC to remain nimble and profitable

The volume of surgeries in the ASC has continued to increase in recent years, a shift only accelerated by the pandemic.6 Overall, surgical procedures at ASCs have made up over 50% of all outpatient surgeries in the US as of 2017, and that percentage was predicted to grow six to seven percent through 2021.3

While this procedural volume is promising, the profitability of ASC procedures is prone to high price sensitivity. As these centers become more available and patients become more aware of the benefits they offer, orthopedic surgeons practicing in ASCs will need the ability to offer a variety of procedures while still managing operational costs.

OrthAlign delivers accurate, individualized alignment to any patient with a single, disposable handpiece that can be used across implant platforms and surgical philosophies without added case time. This allows orthopedic practices to deliver optimal care for patients and differentiated services while maintaining efficiency and the clinical value needed for the ASC. Learn more about how OrthAlign handheld navigation can help you successfully bring your orthopedic practice to the ASC.


  1. Kehayes, Naya. Hartzell, Sean. “Surgery Migration Is Accelerating. Do You Have an ASC Plan?” December 14, 2021.
  2. Tim van Biesen, Todd Johnson. “Ambulatory Surgery Center Growth Accelerates: Is Medtech Ready?” December 12, 2021.
  3. Shepherd, Maria. “Rethink Your Orthopedic ASC Strategy, Part 1.” February 8, 2021.
  4. Jaffe, Susan. “New cost-cutting Medicare rule may add costs to patients.” March 21, 2021.
  5. Nabi, Junaid. Kaplan, Robert. “The CMS New Rule On Ambulatory Surgical Centers Earns Only Partial Credit.” June 2, 2021.
  6. Lea Ventura, Lea. Harsh, Prateek. “The shift to ASCs isn’t what you thought: A tale of nuances in two specialties.” November 9, 2020.