Charles Dickens’ famous quote would aptly describe the past two years: “These are the best of times and the worst of times.”
These past two years have been the best of times because the industry is booming, with outpatient migration accelerating. Patients don’t want to go to hospitals and have recognized ASCs as a high quality, low cost, safe option for surgery.
Volumes are up across the industry, most notably in complex cases like total joint replacements. We had a record number of new projects (~250) announced in ‘21.
And it was the worst of times, given the fine people we lost along the way (like dear ASC friend Jon Trujillo) and the pervasively disruptive impact of COVID in all areas of our lives.
Supply chain disruptions, staffing shortages, wage inflation, rising construction costs, changing regulations and more have all added complexity to our world.
Attempting to predict the future is a fool’s errand. Indeed, I’m reminded of Plato’s famous quote from The Republic: “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”
Despite that, a few trends are worth calling out:
For the past forty years, the invisible engine that powers the whole industry is partnerships. ASCs create joint venture forums for surgeons, hospitals, and businesspeople to collaborate meaningfully. The most successful ASCs and ASC firms hold this principle as inviolable. It’s easy to say, but tough to do well. It’s powered our past and will continue to power our future.
Elon Musk said, “There have to be things that inspire you, that make you proud to be a member of humanity.”
To each of you in the wider ASC community, thank you. Thank you for making the world a better place each day. For delivering phenomenal patient care. For driving healthcare costs down. For being a part of the solution and thus inspiring me (and so many others).
I am proud to be a member of this cohort. I hope you are too.
>Darin Jay (DJ) Hill is the leader of Compass Surgical Partners, an innovative ambulatory surgery center development and management company with a proven track record and deep expertise in musculoskeletal (MSK) care.