Where Should I Have My Colonoscopy?

What are my choices of facility when having a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is usually performed at a designated facility located either within a hospital, or at a free-standing ambulatory surgical center (ASC). Either of these facilities is required to undergo a rigorous licensing process for the privilege to perform these procedures. This licensing requirement ensures that a facility meets the accepted standard necessary to provide safe and qualified colonoscopy examination.

What is an ASC?

In order to be obtain a license to perform a colonoscopy, a facility has to fully demonstrate to a regulatory agency that it is not only operational, but has met its exacting standard. In fact, every aspect of procedure performed at a facility is meticulously reviewed, usually over a course of several days. As a start, this involves review of all necessary equipment, monitors, and emergency power generator (in case there is an earthquake). In addition, a facility has to demonstrate that each and every necessary nursing and ancillary personnel has an appropriate licensure, credentialing, and training, so that procedures can be performed and completed safely. Finally, a facility has to demonstrate that it performs a regular quality improvement program and upholds the highest safety standard. 

In turn, for your gastroenterologist to be able to perform colonoscopy at a particular facility, he or she will need to undergo a rigorous credentialing process that ensures that he or she possesses necessary qualifications and skills to perform the procedure. For example, when granting a privilege to perform colonoscopy, the facility will require that your gastroenterologist have a documentation and proof of licensure, board-certification, assessment by his or her peers for character and qualification, and a certification of having satisfactorily performed a designated number of colonoscopies in the past several years. 

What is an advantage of having a colonoscopy done at an ASC?

The decision on where your colonoscopy will be performed, in most cases will be determined by your gastroenterologist. Factors that may be important in the selection process may include his or her personal preference; facilities in which he or she has privilege; geographic consideration; availability of desired time and date at a particular facility; and your insurance coverage.

In general, a facility located within a hospital has the advantage of having the full resource of a hospital should you require them. On the other hand, ASCs tend to be more economical and time-efficient since they are not encumbered with work related to inpatients. Most individuals find that for a routine screening colonoscopy, it is significantly more convenient and economical to have the procedure done at an outpatient ASC.

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