ASC supply chain challenges & opportunities: 3 Qs with Cardinal Health's Marvella Thomas

Marvella Thomas, clinical consultant at Cardinal Health, discusses the key issues in supply chain management for ASCs today.

Question: What are the big roadblocks you're seeing for ASCs in supply chain and materials management? How can they overcome these challenges?

Marvella Thomas: I believe that the lack of technology and data systems creates a huge roadblock to managing the ASC supply chain. Without data on product consumption it is extremely difficult to set par levels and manage consistent order patterns. To overcome these challenges surgery centers need a working knowledge of what their existing system can and can’t do. They also need to explore potential technology solutions from vendors; bar code ordering and receiving for example.

Q: In your experience, what are the most common inefficiencies in the OR and how can fixing them lead to lower costs?

MT: One of the most common inefficiencies is an inefficient supply chain that creates a lack of trust with clinicians. This leads to overstocking, hoarding, clutter, lack of space and expired product on hand. An efficient supply chain with a focus on just-in-time definitely lowers costs and aligns monthly supply expense with revenue.

Q: Where are the biggest opportunities for ASCs to thrive in value-based care?

MT: The biggest opportunity for an ASC to thrive is the ability to offer great service for a lower cost. Surgery centers can also support improved patient outcomes, quicker throughput, and greater patient and physician satisfaction.

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