How Data Sharing Can Influence Behavior in the OR

Charles A. Goldfarb, MD

Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) have led the way toward an increased understanding of the true costs of surgical procedures and advanced efforts to minimize such costs. In the ASC environment, surgeons act on the data to decrease costs and increase revenue for the surgery center and its investors. Large hospitals and academic centers have been unable to match either the specificity of the data collection or the cost awareness among surgeons. As a result, the costs of surgery in an ASC versus a large hospital are very different.

Incentives for efforts to minimize costs are clear in the ASC environment (ie, lower costs yield higher take-home pay for surgeons). Although clear incentives or gain sharing undoubtedly helps surgeons with decisions that can control costs in the hospital environment, the importance of transparent, accurate, and detailed cost data cannot be overstated. The following key points may be helpful in controlling surgical costs.

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