Effective supply chain and inventory management programs are key to efficient ambulatory surgery center operations, especially in today’s challenging reimbursement environment. Stephanie Martin, RN, CNOR, Regent Surgical Health’s VP of Operations and Clinical Services shares five strategies for success, including:

  1. Manage Inventory Based on Usage —Ordering supplies based on usage during a certain amount of time is more efficient than the traditional practice of ordering to fill capacity or hoarding supplies ‘just in case.’ “Staff often hold sutures in their pockets as it is easy to carry around,” Martin said. “They often don’t know what it costs and are unaware they are carrying around $50 or $100 dollars’ worth of items in their pockets.”
  2. Give Supply Chain Leaders Room — Pushed to operate on slimmer operating margins, ASC leaders need flexibility to identify and evaluate cost-saving opportunities. Today, the supply chain leader manages a key function of an organization’s overall strategy. “Giving them the latitude and growth for what they want to achieve can be acutely important in helping centers achieve what it needs overall,” Martin said.
  3. Analyze Clinical Processes — ASCs should seek out and eliminate hidden costs within clinical processes, which may have become standardized over time. Careful evaluation can save thousands of dollars being spent inefficiently.
  4. Regularly Review Items in Packs — Foster a strong, working relationship with materials management, including a clear line of communication. Packs may be the highest spend product within centers outside of physician preference items. Martin recommends ASCs review their packs every 1-2 years.
  5. Ensure Strategic Alignment — A supply chain and inventory management program that involves all stakeholders is critical to controlling costs within the supply chain. ASCs should dedicate a motivational supply chain champion who can walk staff through the goals they are trying to achieve, whether that means keeping an ASC’s doors open or finding better products that improve patient safety, Martin said.

For additional information on inventory management as a key cost-saving strategy, click here, and to learn more about steps ambulatory surgery centers can take to improve upon supply chain processes like preference card reviews, click here.