For ASCs — where inventory management looks much different compared to hospitals — the shift to value-based care comes with big opportunities and risks, said Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems' Ruben Taborda, senior director of supply chain customer solutions.
Mr. Taborda told Becker's ASC Review how ASC size shapes inventory and how inventory protocols could change in a value-based care environment.
Note: Responses have been lightly edited for style.
Question: What are the key differences between ASCs and hospitals when it comes to equipment selection and purchasing? How do these differences pose unique challenges?
Ruben Taborda: A key difference is that there are fewer decision-makers within ASCs, which can make the equipment selection and purchasing process faster. Often, they have smaller procurement departments and systems, which drives their desire to work with fewer suppliers who can meet most of their needs. Finally, reimbursement and payer contracts play a critical role in the ASC model and their purchasing decisions. Our goal is to know and understand intimately the goals each ASC is trying to achieve and help them get there.
Q: What are the most common mistakes ASCs make when it comes to inventory management?
RT: As the shift to value-based care continues, there is an increased focus on value, from clinical outcomes and experience throughout the patient journey pre- and postsurgery, to efficient supply management. These elements are even more important in the context of outpatient surgery. A key opportunity related to inventory management is vulnerability in inventory and supply ordering protocols, specifically an aversion to investments in advanced [enterprise resource planning] systems and a reliance on one central staff member for inventory and supply orders. We are working with ASCs to help identify risk areas and manage these opportunities.
We are also seeing growth of self-distribution approaches across all areas of healthcare. For ASCs, this can mean the use of third-party distributors.