Developments in the healthcare sector over the past few years have created conditions that are fueling the rise of outpatient surgery. Ambulatory surgery centers are increasingly looking to strengthen their position in a healthcare sector that is full of possibility.
Let’s take a look at some of the key opportunities and challenges for surgery centers and identify how ASCs can prepare for the future.
Elective surgeries on the rise for outpatient ambulatory care
The outpatient surgery sector is currently going through a period of growth, particularly in the areas of cardiovascular procedures, spine surgery and joint replacements. This trend is due to the emergence of minimally invasive techniques over the last few years, which have led to the transfer of previous inpatient surgeries into the outpatient setting.
Ambulatory Centers are predicted to see big increases in the following types of surgical procedures:
- ASCs are predicted to perform 50% of all cardiology procedures by mid to late 2020s.*1
- Total joint replacements are expected to grow by 95% in ASCs over the next five years. *2
- Already 60% of surgeries in the US take place in HOSCs or ASCs. *3
The aging US population is also an indicator that these types of surgeries are projected to experience natural growth, leading to further demand for surgeries that are increasingly taking place in local outpatient centers.
ASC supply chain management is key
Any industry anticipating growth needs to get its house in order, and now is certainly the right time for ambulatory centers to ensure their core systems and procedures are ready to scale up.
Another factor in the desire to increase efficiency is the escalating cost of running a surgical center, primarily driven by rising costs, labor shortages and post COVID supplies shortfalls. The logic is, if you can’t reduce your costs, then how about making some savings?
With this in mind, many same day surgery centers are looking to tackle inefficiencies, create leaner workflows and increase automation.
Inventory management is historically sidelined when it comes to system review. However, as the sector looks to expand, management are realizing that tackling the high cost of inventory and addressing admin-heavy workflows, could bring home huge wins. It seems that the time is now ripe to integrate the inventory supply chain into the digital infrastructure.
Outpatient Centers eyeing up the changing healthcare sector are taking the time to reflect on their current position and looking to introduce leaner systems and workflows that pave the way to supply chain efficiencies.
Healthcare organizations that have introduced smarter, automated inventory management systems report improved efficiencies, significant cost savings and reduced outgoings.
The impact of outdated inventory management workflows on supply chain management
Many ambulatory care centers still use paper-based workflows and liaise with vendors by fax. Others may have a degree of automation, but their systems are often siloed.
These outdated systems create frustrating, overlong workflows that are often cited as a contributory factor to nurse dissatisfaction.
In a bid to become more efficient, outpatient units can take advantage of technology that lightens the admin load for nursing staff and totally revitalize inventory management processes.
There are many efficiencies that can be achieved through automating surgery center supplies management. An automated inventory management process:
- enables real-time tracking, for full stock visibility
- captures usage itemization, for optimum reimbursement
- enables accurate restocking, resulting in a reduced, streamlined inventory
- supports better expiry and recall management for improved patient safety
- introduced data-driven decision-making, to increase control and efficiency
With so many tangible benefits, automation is definitely the best route for ASCs looking to tighten up their management of medical supplies and consumables.
Addressing inventory wastage and reducing expiry and recall risks
Unless management have clear stock visibility and accurate usage data, then restocking is just a guessing game. Human nature is to err on the side of caution, which tends to lead to surplus stock items sitting on the shelves of surgical centers.
Automated inventory management systems provide surgery centers with real-time visibility and tracking, as well as prioritize the usage of soonest-to-expire stock. Data-driven re-stocking can prevent the recurrence of surplus supplies, ensuring a balanced inventory at hand.
Effective stock control is a major organizational safeguard, bolstering patient safety, protecting clinical staff and ensuring compliance.
Within a surgery setting, perioperative nurses and surgeons need an additional layer of protection, they are, after all, the last line of defense prior to product usage. A system that flags expired or recalled products at the point of care is an important, final safety net that reduces risk.
Data leads the way in the Post COVID efficiency drive
As the Post COVID catch-up takes place and cancelled cases are booked in, ASCs need to fight for their share of the market. There is renewed determination to control rising operational costs and improve the efficiency of healthcare provided.
To be competitive, healthcare organizations need to minimize their outgoings and maximize their income. Part of this drive for improvement will lead to a review of systems and workflows.
While the major operational win is to gain better control of inventory (through the evaluation of supply costs and achievement of leaner, data-driven procurement), the strategic driver is to obtain valuable data insights into stock levels, consumption, cost per procedure and more.
These crucial analytics can be used to streamline the supply chain process, leading to supplier consolidation and closer vendor collaboration. Data insights and joint visibility can also be used to improve contracting arrangements, including access to tiered pricing or consignment. Many healthcare organizations report six figure savings after switching to an automated system.
As healthcare becomes more transparent, there is an expectation that surgical centers will have robust data capture procedures in place. Those centers that are lagging behind in this area will need to play catch up to compete.
Achieving integrated clinical and operational workflows
Now that Ambulatory Surgical Centers and Outpatient Clinics are stepping into more complex surgical areas such as joint replacements, bariatric procedures and spine surgeries, they need to tighten up their clinical documentation and inventory control via improved data capture.
Ambulatory Surgery Centers are learning to leverage technology to improve their data capture, understanding that full tracking of chargeable items optimizes billing and reimbursement.
Procedure rooms are known to be the toughest place in any healthcare setting to track medical inventory – with a massive 48% of products used going uncaptured
Many healthcare organizations are losing millions of dollars through under capture of their item utilization.
ASCs that have smoother data collection and analysis capabilities will be able to respond more effectively to data requests that result in maximum reimbursement.
Outpatient surgical facilities are increasingly looking for automated, easy-to-use systems that work well in the surgery setting and result in a clinically integrated supply chain.
Multiple challenges – ASC-friendly solutions
At IDENTI we produce a range of smart medical data sensing products, especially designed to for use in the ambulatory surgical setting. We are helping outpatient ambulatory care centers create safe, efficient and profitable workflows.
See how our solutions can integrate within your current systems to provide full visibility and end-to end data capture in your ASC surgery center.
*1 Ambulatory Surgery Center Market Report (hida.org)
*2 ASC total joint replacements projected to grow 95% by 2026 (beckersasc.com)
*3 Leapfrog Group Announces First Ever National Awards Recognizing Ambulatory Surgery Centers for Excellence in Patient Care – AboutHealthTransparency.org
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