Using Inventory Management and Technology to Increase Profits: Q&A With Kimberly Tude Thout of Yakima Ambulatory Surgical Center

Kimberly Tude Thout is the administrator of Yakima (Wash.) Ambulatory Surgical Center, a physician-owned, multi-specialty ASC.

Q: Last year presented a significant economic challenge for many ASCs. Could you describe one or two successful ways that your ASC was able to reduce costs?

Kimberly Tude Thout: We moved some of our inventory to consignment. We also made sure we were completing inventory checks monthly to really see what our costs were and reached out to our vendors to ask for more cost reduction.

Q: What was one or two ways your ASC was able to improve profits (in addition to cost-reductions) and how were you able to achieve this?

KTT: We added new technology initiatives [including electronic health records], which will result in an increase in profits for 2010. We have moved our billing back in-house and will see a substantial savings even after the cost of the certified coder and technology.

Q: What is a major operational objective for your ASCs for 2010 and how do you plan to approach and accomplish this objective?

KTT: We are adding new OR technology, which will add cases we were not able to do in the past. The addition of technology in late 2009 and early 2010 will decrease our long-term costs and increase our profits.

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