Key considerations for ASCs during budget season

It is budget season - time for ASC owners and managers to evaluate their investment options for the coming year. For an industry that is under constant pressure to do more with less, finding investments that save money over the long term, while simultaneously improving processes and patient outcomes may seem like a tall order. Identifying new ways to use labor hours much more efficiently will be essential to achieving success. Fortunately, advances in technology are making this task much easier.

As you plan for 2017, consider the following when pulling together your list of technology investments:

• Look for technology that leverages the information you already have in place. In doing so, redundancies will be reduced, compliance improved, and significant staff time will be saved. For example, texting and patient engagement solutions now allow for individualized, automated messaging based on the patient information a center has already collected during the pre-admission process. From pre-op to post-op, automated, individualized care instructions can be easily customized by clinical procedure or physician which saves significant nursing time.

• Technology that reminds patients of their financial obligations in advance of their visit will help improve day-of service collections. The ability to engage patients by texting co-pay reminders and a list of items patients must bring with them on the day of surgery will ensure things run smoothly. The ability to reduce last-minute delays and cancellations helps centers avoid lost revenue.

• Consider technology that provides meaningful clinical care throughout a patient’s entire surgical experience - before, during and after treatment. Empowering patients with instructions, educational content, reminders, care follow-up and surveys can significantly improve outcomes, patient safety and satisfaction. The ability to automate the delivery of this information, either through email or text messages, saves significant staff time. Furthermore, potential issues can be identified and resolved much quicker when utilizing technology to deliver post-surgical assessment questions.

• To get the most out of your investment, look for technology that addresses multiple issues, rather than point products which only solve a specific problem. Technology that can be used facility-wide provides a greater return on investment. For example, perioperative workflow solutions enable facilities to streamline scheduling, collections, pre-op and post-op care all in one solution.

Beyond technology, there are many other ways to reduce case costs and streamline processes. As you continue planning for 2017, cost per case should be a key consideration. This means predicting case volumes and anticipated staffing and supply needs to support those cases. Look at everything required to complete a case in the operating room – from major capital investments like a new OR table, implants, drugs and staffing. Create your wish list then prioritize.

Still wondering how to save money this coming year? Online news sources like Becker’s ASC will keep you up to speed on what is going on in the industry including new technology and how other ASCs are solving problems and saving money. The ASCA blog is another great community resource for sharing best practices and getting answers to your questions.

More articles on surgery centers:
6 areas of focus for ASCs to improve efficiency & increase the bottom line
The outlook for ASC mergers & acquisitions: It’s all about the bottom line
30 ASCs achieving accreditation

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