Optimizing an ASC with a clinically integrated supply chain: 3 key takeaways

Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) are taking on a more prominent role within health systems as they are acquired or developed as part of joint ventures, and supply chain management will continue to play a critical role for them in the new year. By embracing a clinically integrated supply chain, ASCs can work with their distributors to reduce costs while maintaining high-quality patient care.

During a January podcast hosted by Becker's ASC Review and sponsored by Cardinal Health, Penny Williams, senior consultant of clinical operations of Cardinal Health, discussed how ASCs can implement clinically integrated supply chains and the resulting benefits. Here are three of the main takeaways from the podcast:

  • A clinically integrated supply chain allows for more informed product choices and supports quality outcomes. It also reduces waste and lowers cost. Aligning on overall operation in your facility eliminates silos and creates opportunities to connect and exchange information. Ms. Williams said, “This integration and collaboration helps to determine the best products that deliver the best care at the best price.” This leads to overall increased patient satisfaction and efficiency.
  • Educating clinicians and soliciting their input eases adoption and change. Clinicians need to understand how the ongoing supply chain disruptions have impacted the cost and availability of items they need and prefer. One way to do this is to have leadership support the need for formulary compliance as opposed to physician preferences. "It’s just so important in this culture to find clinically acceptable but cost-effective products," Ms. Williams said. Inform your clinicians of small savings opportunities they might not be aware of.
  • Regular, ongoing communications is critical to successful implementation. Many ASCs are relying on texting, daily huddles, and communication boards to keep clinical staff informed on supply constraints and alternate products. Physicians should have a voice when it comes to the products they will be using. Communicating openly with them can encourage open-mindedness regarding standardization. Ms. Williams shared, “It’s so helpful to identify that influential staff that can help drive positive communication and discourage product preferences.” Distribution representatives should also be involved in this open communication to provide your facility with supply chain updates. 

Ms. Williams also shared a reminder to have empathy with everyone involved in the supply chain process. Today’s pandemic environment has brought on many personal and professional challenges. To listen to the rest of the podcast, visit Becker’s Hospital Review.

Although implementing and managing a clinically integrated supply chain within an ASC is complex, a supply chain assessment with Cardinal Health can help simplify the process. The assessment helps ASCs identify opportunities to increase efficiencies and reduce waste within their supply chain, optimize performance and find real savings. Request a no-cost ASC supply chain assessment here.

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