The rise in popularity of outpatient surgery centers is leading to widespread shifts in care delivery across the United States. Advancements in medical technology have enabled freestanding surgery centers to provide a wider variety of procedures in an outpatient setting, including total joint replacements as soon as 2018. Unlike traditional hospitals—inpatient or outpatient—outpatient surgery centers can offer lower prices and shorter wait times, which appeal to patients.
To keep up with this trend, increasing numbers of hospitals are investing in outpatient surgery centers, either as partners or through acquisitions. These moves allow hospitals to expand their offerings, potentially at lower costs that would carry through to patients. However, a similar trend in the early 2000s backfired, leaving hospital executives and other industry leaders wary of their investments.
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