The number of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC) continues to grow, with procedures increasing considerably in the last few years alone. The majority of ASCs are not owned by hospitals but by physicians and physician groups that can have some difficulty in managing their purchasing spending. This article will cover the best ways to make your ASC supply chain processes more efficient. Here’s how to improve your ASC supply chain’s efficiency.
The Current Situation
An aging population, the development of less invasive procedures, lower infection rates, and the increase in chronic illnesses have all led to explosive growth in Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) procedures. In fact, the ASC market in the US is expected to rise at approximately 11% CAGR between 2021 and 2027.
Today, many health insurance companies encourage patients to use ASCs for “in-and-out” joint replacements, orthopedic, cardio, and spine procedures. A key factor in supporting this market growth lies in improving regulatory scenarios and reimbursements for surgeries performed in ambulatory centers – which receive, on average, more visitors than hospitals.
The majority of ASC procedures and materials management are now owned by physicians who might not have the purchasing power and business development of larger healthcare organizations. This results in them having less negotiating power and more unnecessary expenses. However, when managing ASC spending is becoming more critical than ever, finding new ways to improve supply chain efficiency becomes a priority.
4 Ways to Improve the Efficiency of ASC Supply Chain
There are several ways in which ASCs can manage and improve their supply chain process. Let’s go through four of them in a little more detail to see how automation, inventory management, and data analysis can improve efficiency for your entire organization.
Analyzing The Data For Making Well-Informed Purchases
Supply chain management is restricted to spreadsheets and loose paper documentation for most organizations and physician groups, yet, data collection should be of high priority for ASC providers.
An excellent way to improve your supply chain efficiency is to use an online purchasing system that helps you to easily track and review all supply costs (for example, by item usage, physician, clinic, vendor, etc.) for multiple locations.
All healthcare organizations need to understand their performance to succeed in today’s competitive environment. To avoid “just-in-case” purchases, it’s always better to observe your data and find the gaps in which you can save on your ASC procedure spending. An inventory management software that helps you review your inventory cost reports and PAR-level reports can provide you with all the information required for better decision-making when it comes to planning, purchasing, and tracking inventory.
Creating Better Partnerships with Suppliers
An easy way to manage your ASC spending is to have a good relationship with your reps and suppliers. After all, being able to communicate efficiently will create more long-term relationships and value for everyone involved.
Salespeople are not just looking to close a deal and order supplies in demand. They also work closely with ASCs to educate their customers on new products and review the cost-effectiveness of surgical packs.
Consolidating your vendors using fewer suppliers will give you more negotiating power, help your surgical teams standardize orders, and unearth volume discounts. Typically, physicians are the ones that make large orders for their favorite supplies. Therefore, they can provide ASCs with a list that your organization can then take to different suppliers to compare prices. Support staff and surgical techs are also better informed about which items are usually wasted or become obsolete more frequently.
Choosing the best supplier can feel like a daunting task, but it’s essential to identify those that are dependable and can deliver value to your organization. So, when a supply becomes critical (for example, as we witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic), having a long-term, good relationship with a representative can move your ASC to the front of the line.
Using Technology To Better Manage Medical Inventory
Technology has helped us bridge many gaps in business efficiency. This is the case for healthcare, too; where, various software for practice management, patient record management, and accounting are being used by nearly all healthcare providers. Fortunately, another one of the easiest things you can automate in ASC is inventory management and cost tracking.
Instead of having your surgical technicians and staff spend hours manually tracking inventory around your facility and placing orders through the phone or fax, you can allow an online platform to track all inventory and orders smoothly without needing paper documentation.
An inventory management software can streamline your ASCs inventory workflows from purchasing to dispensing. They can, for example, allow you to follow negotiated vendor prices, set up par levels, and integrate with other software used in your practice to sync patient and billing data, such as accounting applications. More importantly, they can help you avoid over and under-ordering and help you manage your storage space more efficiently. Lastly, supply chain platforms can help you reduce or eliminate human error, and duplication while supporting faster payments. This way, your staff can return to where they are needed the most: Close to the patient.
Joining a GPO
Lastly, a GPO (or Group Purchasing Option) is an excellent way to get better pricing on supplies. In fact, according to the Healthcare Supply Chain Association, GPOs are currently saving ASCs about $34 billion a year. Their value, however, is not limited to costs. GPOs are also great for providing up-to-date advice.
GPOs work with hundreds of manufacturers and healthcare organizations. They are also familiar with the entire supply chain, from forecasting to real-time tracking and predictive modeling. Not to mention, they are updated on all regulations and relevant legislation for ASCs and keep track of vendors who gauge prices or have shown to be less trustworthy.
If you’re interested in joining a GPO, make sure you read all contract and fee terms carefully. Each one will offer you different financing alternatives and shipping options, and many will be able to provide you with advisory resources and operational help.
How ArbiMed Can Help Your ASC Manage Your Supply Chain More Efficiently
ArbiMed is one of the best-rated all-in-one medical inventory software in the market, helping medical offices provide better patient care while improving profits through workflow optimization. The platform is tailored for practices and clinics and is trusted by over 2,000 users and +800 clinical facilities. Some of ArbiMed’s satisfied customers include medical and dental practices, vets, surgeries, and retina specialists.
ArbiMed’s main features include:
- Traceability: To keep tabs on serials, lots, and expiration dates.
- Patient Safety: To assign products to patients.
- Compliance: To create automated reports and monitor stock.
- Convenience: To purchase and manage orders all from the same unified platform.
- Analytics: To predict purchases, so you never run out of supplies.
Choosing the right software is crucial. Sign up to get started and learn more about ArbiMed today!