rized the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to set about certifying an EHR for ASCs. Until that certification happens, exemptions are likely to remain in place. A key takeaway: It is not a matter

of if but when ASCs will be required to implement electronic documentation or face penalties. Physician leaders are looking for technology that allows them to maintain their productivity— and delivery of consistently optimal outcomes—in ASCs. They see the benefits of implementing these solu- tions, particularly those supporting their quality initiatives. Certain ASC leaders are getting ahead of the curve to avoid being rushed into technology decisions as many were in their prac- tices. ASCs can view this time as an opportunity to make an informed deci- sion and reap the benefits of an EHR while avoiding the pitfalls often asso- ciated with hospital and practice EHR implementations and use. I expect EHRs will become more commonplace in ASCs as centers con- tinue to look for ways to more effi- ciently document care while meeting the myriad quality reporting require- ments. This increase in EHR imple- mentation will be driven, in part, by leading organizations focused on demonstrating quality and recogniz- ing the need to move away from paper documentation to scale volume and support data sharing needs. Physician leaders have had mixed experiences

with hospital and practice EHRs, so they should feel compelled to be more engaged when reviewing and select- ing ASC technology to ensure it fur- thers their business and clinical goals.

Consumer Driven Patients will continue to look to ASCs to provide a personal surgical experi- ence. Just as ASCs are designed for convenience and throughput, patient information sharing and capture needs to be personalized and mod- ern. To better engage patients in their surgical care, ASCs are relying more on their management technology to effectively provide education to and receive feedback from patients. With patients increasingly sharing their sur- gical experiences online, ensuring a good surgical experience and desired outcome will remain critical to sur- geons and ASCs as such information is increasingly available to the public. Also critical is the manner in

which ASCs approach patient finan- cial responsibility. As pioneers in the trend to providing pricing trans- parency to consumers and patients, ASCs will want to continue to focus on streamlining ways to communicate patient expenses efficiently. Consumer demand for this information, fueled by the growth in high-deductible health plans, will only accelerate this trend. Many ASCs are working to deter-

mine how to efficiently and accurately gather and share this information with


patients. They are increasingly looking to their ASC management solutions to better facilitate this demand and deliver a seamless experience for users as data is delivered from different systems. Some ASCs are ahead of this curve and already delivering this information today. ASCs also are reacting to patient demand for more flexible payment models and looking to technology to support credit card payment plans and financing options. As consumers pay more out of pocket or self-fund surger- ies, the ability of ASCs to accept cre- ative payment options and ensure a healthy revenue cycle will drive volume growth and strong collections for ASCs. As the trend toward more patient

empowerment continues, I expect ASCs will continue to look for infor- mation systems that support efforts to engage patients in the clinical and financial processes.

Leading the Way Throughout 2018, ASCs will face new challenges and opportunities in their efforts to deliver cost-effective, high- quality care to a growing number of patients across an expanding number of procedures and specialties. ASC phy- sician leaders must continue to inno- vate and lead the way as they embrace information technology in new ways to support their goals. Taking the knowl- edge from their work and experience with hospitals and in their practices, they will need to move cautiously but rapidly into electronic documentation and analytics for their ASCs and should look for technology partners that focus on the ASC setting and its unique needs. The ASC formula should continue

to work because it is a win-win-win for patients, physicians and insurers. What is required to make it work today, how- ever, should not be taken for granted.

Tom Stampiglia is the president and chief executive officer of Surgical Information Systems in Alpharetta, Georgia. Write him at

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