2 Ways Technology Is Helping ASCs to Scale Up SCM for 2024

What’s inside:

As surgical procedures pivot towards ambulatory care, ASCs are tackling areas of inefficiency on their journey towards growth.

This blog looks at:

  • How the ambulatory care sector is planning for growth in 2024 and beyond.
  • Improving supply chain management in ambulatory care.
  • The 2 key elements of an efficient ASC inventory management system.
  • How patient safety is improved by supply chain automation.
  • Custom technology for ASC supply chain management.

Ambulatory Care Providers Prepare to Scale Up

As the ambulatory care sector continues to expand, many ASC providers are finding that their current administrative and operational systems are holding them back.

One critical workflow is to ensure that, during every planned surgery or procedure, the physician has the right range of medical inventory at hand. This isn’t as simple as it sounds, as many providers struggle to keep track of their inventory – whether it’s owned stock, consignment, or a mix of both.

Manual workflows are a common burden for smaller providers, so smart ambulatory centers are now embracing AI and other advanced technology to strengthen their operational systems and scale up for growth.

When providers use technology to improve their management of medical inventory, they soon realize the positive impact this has on operational efficiency, clinical effectiveness, and financial management.

It’s time to shift gears and transform manual workflows into automated systems that optimize performance and future-proof ambulatory care.

 

Supply Chain Management in ASCs

Managing supplies in ambulatory centers often involves phone calls, forms, and faxes, and the requisitions are often based on a best guess, due to a lack of accurate data on stock levels and consumption.

 

“An estimated 30% of health care costs are associated with administrative tasks,

which can be made easier through automation.” *1

 

ASCs eyeing up growth need to:

  • Get supply chain management running more smoothly.
  • Ensure that they have a better vision of stock, consignment, and consumption.
  • Get prompt and accurate inventory data to ensure the right supplies are available for an increasing and expanding caseload.

 

Supply chain systems that work with a lower caseload simply won’t support growth.

So, what can outpatient ambulatory surgery centers do to add speed and efficiency to their management of medical inventory and supplies?

 

The 2 Key Elements of Supply Chain Management Automation

Technology is able to streamline supply chain workflows and automate procurement. The benefits are immediate – reduced workload, reduced wastage, improved costings and higher revenue.

There are 2 key elements of any efficient supply chain management system:

1. Tracking Medical Inventory 

The first thing to note is that implants and consumables may be stored in cabinets, or in storerooms.

The best system will be able to account for both types of stock. This is how IDENTI does it.

TotalSense RFID Smart Cabinet that has an item and user-level tracking.

TotalSense Mobile – a mobile application that taps into our managing software, turning storerooms into virtual inventory cabinets.

TotalSense is able to help providers gain full inventory vision and control by clarifying the following:

    • Which items remain in stock
    • Which cabinet or storeroom contains a specific item
    • Which items have been taken from stock
    • Which staff member took the items and for which case
    • Which stock products are nearing expiry
    • Which items have expired or been recalled

 

This vital inventory data can now be at the fingertips of clinical and administrative staff involved in managing the ASC supply chain – giving them real-time stock information.

Healthcare vendors, distributors or GPOs can be given access to our system so that everyone has a shared understanding of the inventory – whether it’s owned stock or consignment.

TotalSense RFID Smart Cabinet for advanced implant tracking

TotalSense RFID Smart Cabinet for advanced implant tracking

 

2. Documenting Product Consumption

If an item is removed from a cabinet, you can’t assume that it was used – it could have been lost or wasted. For this reason, we recommend using Snap&Go for point-of-use consumption tracking.

Image recognition, AI, and machine learning make it easy to capture every single reportable or billable item, whether it’s owned inventory, consignment stock, or a bill-only product.

Snap&Go taps into a global SKU database, giving providers access to a vast, virtual item master that far surpasses local catalog data, in terms of the volume of products and the accuracy of information, as well as being up to date with any recent product coding changes.

The point-of-use is a challenging data capture point for many healthcare providers. It’s vital to collect comprehensive utilization data in order to ensure accurate clinical records, as well as to support efficient supply chain workflows and smarter healthcare management.

 

Snap & Go image recognition for full item and charge capture in OR and procedure rooms.
Snap & Go image recognition for full item and charge capture in OR and procedure rooms.

Once these two vital elements of inventory automation are in place, there are many important benefits.

 

Technology to Improve Patient Safety

Medical inventory can be lifesaving, but if an unsafe product is accidentally used then changes into a threat.

That’s where automated inventory management software can make a real difference to patient safety – by:

  • Flagging items that are due to expire so that they can be prioritized for usage, preventing unsafe items from being held in stock.
  • Alerting the circulating nurse at the point of care, about any expired or recalled products that made it behind the red line.
  • Freeing up nurses from supply chain administration so that they can spend more time supporting the clinical team and caring for patients.

 

Technology is mitigating the risks of unsafe medical inventory.

 

Using Inventory Data for Smarter Healthcare Management

IDENTI’s technology is not just a tool for day-to-day clinical and operational management, it also supports healthcare management and planning, by turning inventory data into business intelligence.

Accessing a cloud-based supply chain solution helps providers to analyze inventory data, to better understand their costs and revenue, as well as inventory usage and utilization trends.

 

“As of 2022 in the United States, 51 percent of surveyed healthcare organizations reported

they were currently considering AI/machine learning in order to automate

manual processes and reduce costs.” *2

 

AI and machine learning are able to analyze stock levels, consumption figures, patient outcomes, and case costs to provide prompt data that supports smarter decision-making.

Inventory data is helping ASC providers reduce inventory levels, improve vendor contracts, minimize wastage, and optimize revenue.

ASCs looking to automate their outdated manual supply chain processes now have a ready-made solution that is designed for managing inventory in operating rooms, procedural areas, and lab settings.

Take a look at our case study to see the benefits that adding TotalSense and Snap&Go solutions had on The Vascular, Heart, and Leg Center in CA.

 

If your ASC is looking to add automation to supply chain processes, then talk to us about an easy-to-implement solution.

Ask us about our ASC bundle offer! It’s a limited fixed cost offer where you can invest in just one single procedural lab to discover the ROI and benefits for yourself. Contact us for details.

 

 

*1 Improving administrative performance with AI and ML in healthcare

*2 Statista article on automated processes in healthcare

Sign up for our digital library

About the author

Or is the Head of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships. She has a wealth of experience in the health–tech sector. Her innovative marketing strategies have successfully driven IDENTI’s growth in multiple worldwide markets. Her strength is the ability to identify what truly resonates within the industry. She is passionate about building relationships and her expertise lies in creating meaningful partnerships with healthcare providers, distributors, and suppliers..