For a lot of patients, surgery isn’t what it used to be.
Thanks to emerging, minimally invasive technologies, improved anesthesia techniques, and other innovations, many procedures that once required hospital stays are regularly done as outpatient surgeries. In 1980 about 10 percent of Strong Memorial Hospital’s surgeries were classified as outpatient, or ambulatory, procedures. By 2005, the category had grown to about 50 percent, making ambulatory procedures the Medical Center’s fastest growing clinical activity.
At the same time, growth in specialty care has placed more pressure on the hospital’s existing operating suites for urgent inpatient procedures. As demand for the 33 operating rooms increased, doctors sometimes had to wait to perform ambulatory surgeries or move the procedures to outpatient centers.
“Cases were routinely scheduled throughout the day and into the evening, often at times that were inconvenient for patients,” says Mark Taubman, the Medical Center’s acting CEO. “Plus, the backlog of cases made it difficult to upgrade, renovate, or expand the existing operating suites.”
A new ambulatory surgery center—upstate New York’s largest—is expected to alleviate those pressures. Opened in July, the Medical Center’s new Surgery Center offers 10 operating suites and three procedure rooms equipped with advanced technology, and facilities designed to provide comfort and privacy to patients and their families.
The 80,000-square-foot facility, located in the Rochester suburb of Brighton, is also home to the Pain Treatment Center, which opened in August, and the Division of Colorectal Surgery, which opened in September. The Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy Center is slated to open there in January 2010.
“With demands on the hospital’s operating rooms and growth in ambulatory cases, it was clear that we needed to quickly address the issue with a patient focused solution, which meant getting patients in for their procedure on schedule, and home—where they want to be—as quickly as possible,” says Michael Maloney, an associate professor of orthopaedics and medical director of the new center.
Those overseeing the new facility anticipate 8,500 procedures will be completed the first year, and predict that by its third year, the center could reach 18,000 annually.