Here are five tips to fix common ambulatory surgery center supply chain failures.
1. Partner with a GPO. Use all the tools available in the industry, including group purchasing organizations, says Lori Pilla, vice president of the clinical advantage program and supply chain optimization at Amerinet. These organizations can help ASCs get lower pricing and standardize supplies. They can also provide delivery schedules that suit the ASC's functions.
2. Hire a management company or outside consultant. According to Jean Skora, materials manager at The Surgery Center of Pinehurst (N.C.), management companies can offer training and guidelines that help turn around a failing supply chain strategy. If it's not possible for an ASC to hire a management company, an outside consultant can evaluate your strategy. "They can provide your supply chain staff with a new point of view. A fresh perspective can re-energize an overwhelmed staff," she says.
3. Standardization is key. "Simplicity is really the foundation for the success of an ASC," says Ms. Pilla. Most stakeholders that want to be a part of an ASC come into it knowing that the way to deliver quality care at a lower cost is to be consistent.
It is important to have the conversation regarding standardization of supplies with physicians early on. Ensure that physicians understand how standardization can help reduce costs. "Not everyone will get all the products they want and certain numbers and types of supplies will be used, but it will result in huge cost savings for the facility," she says.
4. Monitor your supply spend consistently. Know what your par levels are, and if you find yourself adding products last minute something is wrong. There needs to be a value analysis process for product costs when selecting supplies for your center.
5. Don't bury your head in the sand. A good ASC manager is invested in the business success and confronts problems head on. ASC administrators need to take action when a supply chain strategy isn't working. "They have to be willing to change as well as be flexible in order to successfully move forward from a failed strategy and ensure surgery center growth," says Ms. Pilla.