“Since their inception more than four decades ago, ASCs have demonstrated an exceptional ability to improve quality and customer service while simultaneously reducing costs. At a time when most developments in health care services and technology typically come with a higher price tag, ASCs stand out as an exception to the rule.”1

With enormous expansion of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) over several decades, and the number of procedures delivered in the ASC setting continuing to grow, it’s clear that surgery centers are here to stay. With this growth comes the constant challenge of reimbursement meaning centers must deliver care at the lowest price and highest quality. As ASC organizations look for cost-efficient ways to run their business, it makes sense to find ways to streamline processes. Removing the burden of time-consuming, manual supply chain tasks will help redirect clinicians’ time to what’s important: caring for patients.

5 things an ASC can do to improve materials management processes:

1.  Make ordering more efficient. Staff members in centers wear a lot of hats, moving from patient care to management tasks to supply ordering. We often hear they don’t have enough time for ordering supplies with all of the other urgent matters they face, so technology and processes must enable the most automated, efficient ordering. By building an enterprise formulary, and directing clinicians to standardize, procurement processes are streamlined. Use tools like barcode scanners to instantly create orders for replenishment.

2.  Improve order communication with vendors. Good materials management systems enable a simple push of a “send” button to submit an order, eliminating burdensome processes like logging onto multiple websites, calling vendor customer support or spending time waiting by the fax machine.

3.  Build a stronger enterprise infrastructure. For ASC management groups, the goal is a better enterprise structure. Supply chain managers with enterprise responsibility need reporting tools to capture analytics for both the corporate entity and individual facilities. With better visibility to their entire organization, it’s easier to understand inventory and usage, and wherever possible, drive consolidation and standardization to lower their overall spend.

 4.  Improve your case costing abilities. While some of the variables that go into procedure costs aren’t changeable – such as fixed costs like rent and salaries – understanding and managing supplies can be a game changer. Updating processes from manual, hand-written preference cards to an electronic preference card system can drive more standardization, higher quality, fewer errors and lower costs. Better visibility to supplies consumed will make it easier to compare cost of procedures from surgeon to surgeon, or facility to facility.

5.  Use an automated 3-way price match. Today, receiving and paying invoices electronically is easy. But only 3-way matching between purchase orders, invoices and contract price ensures the right price and eliminate overpayments.

Start taking steps today to improve your ASC’s supply chain. Those old paper-based manual processes are barriers to growth, efficiency and cost management – and can be replaced with technology that will not only deliver a quick return on your investment, but also ongoing savings.

1) Advancing Surgical Care. ASCs: A Positive Trend in Health Care. 2018.