Supply chain strategies for orthopedic, spine ASCs: Q&A with Cardinal Health's Mandie Shipp

Orthopedic and spine surgery centers need efficient materials management to avoid wasteful spending and realize increased profitability.

Mandie Shipp, BSN, RN, senior consultant of clinical operations ambulatory care segment at Cardinal Health, outlines the best practices for benchmarking and optimizing supply chain spend.

Question: What benchmarks are most important for ASC supply chain managers to follow on a weekly and monthly basis?

Mandie Shipp: Procedure costs are the most important benchmarks for ASC supply chain managers, and they can be looked at in a couple of ways to review performance in different areas. First, look externally to see if you can benchmark your procedure costs against procedure costs in other ASCs. This would help identify gaps and assess operational efficiency. Internally, you can compare procedure cost between the surgeons practicing at your ASC to determine if there is room for improvement.

Q: Where do you see the best opportunity for orthopedic and spine specific centers to save in the future?

MS: Product standardization is a huge opportunity. It reduces product duplication, making it essential to reducing costs in your ASC, but physician preference items can make product standardization challenging. One effective way to address this is by bringing all the right people to the table. Start by organizing a multidisciplinary team that includes physicians (ideally stakeholders), ASC leadership, materials managers and perioperative staff. Have this team assess your current inventory for efficiency and identify areas for improvement.

Q: What is the benefit for centers that contract with one primary distributor?

MS: Centers that work with one primary distributor for all of their center’s commodity items are able to take advantage of the entire scope of benefits offered by the distributor, such as rebates on total spend.

Q: How can ASCs ensure they have a good process in place for ordering just-in-time implants and supplies for cases?

MS: Establishing par levels based on how many days a week they receive deliveries and reviewing usage reports provided by their distributor are two of the best things ASCs can do to ensure they have good processes set-up for just-in-time inventory management. Utilizing par levels will help to prevent overstocking, limit waste incurred by outdates, and ensure that you will have supplies stocked when you need them.

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