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SPECIAL FOCUS - ASCs A


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Clinical assessments help ASC’s reach target goals


dvances in medical technology, pain management, and anesthesia now make it possible for surgeons to perform outpatient operations that were once considered too risky to do anywhere else but in a hospital OR. Last year, for example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized the removal of total knee arthroplasty from its inpatient-only list, indicating that some ASCs will experience higher patient volume, require additional surgical supplies, and take on more inventory management responsibilities than usual. To succeed, some ASCs may need to modify current processes and practices. “More complex procedures are moving to the ASC requir- ing more supplies and technology to support those services, including instruments, sterile processing support, etc.,” said Bilinda Garlock, RN, BSN — Manager of Clinical Operations at Cardinal Health, Ambulatory Surgery Centers. “There’s more competition, more ASCs being opened that are connected to hos- pitals to reduce the strain on hospitals.”


New research suggests a 4 percent decrease for inpatient surgery with outpatient procedures expected to increase by 11 percent now through 2022.1


The 2016 21st Century Cures Act, which gives


Medicare beneficiaries a public database to compare the costs of surgical procedures at outpatient and ambulatory surgical centers, also adds to the competitive dynamic. Plus, as more complex surgical cases continue to shift from hospitals to ASCs, these smaller facilities will also need to comply with new and changing regulatory require- ments, reimbursement rules, and patient satisfaction expectations.


Gearing up for future growth


For ASCs to thrive in a changing healthcare climate there are many significant factors to consider. ASCs and surgical hospitals need dedi- cated supply chain management practices to guide and sustain good clinical outcomes, optimal workflows, and keep a positive reputation amongst a rapidly increasing patient population. Is your ASC poised to embrace what’s coming? Consider a few questions: • Are the medical supplies in your ASC used only where and when they are required?


• Is the charge-capture process accurate on every case, or are there too many missed billing opportunities?


• Are preference cards current and custom packs filled exactly right? • Do you have appropriate technology in place to collect and analyze the data needed to make strategic decisions, standardize items and maximize purchasing?


• Are patient satisfaction scores where you want them to be? If you can answer these questions affirmatively and accurately, that’s great news. But for many ASCs — maybe even yours — the answers to some of those and other questions are either unknown or nebulous at best. What the majority of ASCs do know is that they could probably do better if they knew how, and could find the time needed to focus on making improvements. If you can’t measure what you don’t know, you can’t determine the necessary steps to achieving better outcomes. Which means realizing progress first requires a careful and meticulous examination of your ASC’s clinical operations to identify hidden opportunities.


Identifying your needs A comprehensive, no-cost2


to you clinical assessment of your ASC


from Cardinal Health can give you the answers — and the solutions 18 April 2018 • HEALTHCARE PURCHASING NEWS • hpnonline.com


— you need to identify problem areas, implement effective solutions, and accomplish your goals. Supply chain and clinical experts from Cardinal Health know how to help increase quality and advance the bottom line with inventory management processes designed to work in your ASC’s favor, not against it. The clinical assessment process helps ASCs find ways to support safety standards, increase compliance, optimize procedure packs and eliminate surgical waste. You will learn how to maximize your existing space and capitalize on current or new technology. A clinical assessment with Cardinal Health can also point out and address inefficiencies that you may not have been aware of before. You might discover ways to reverse poor turnover time, enhance physician satisfaction and more — all while keeping costs down and patient satisfaction scores up. “We can bring our vast knowledge from being in many ASCs


across the country to offer solutions to issues identified; inventory management, case pick, custom pack solutions, and standardization opportunities,” said Marvella Thomas, RN, MSN — Sr. Consultant of Clinical Operations at Cardinal Health, Ambulatory Surgery Centers.


ASCs are dif ferent


While ASCs and hospital ORs do share some common ground, there are distinct operational and purchasing differences between them. A clinical assessment by the supply chain and clinical experts at Cardinal Health help those working in the ASC arena determine those dissimilarities and better understand why processes that work well for one facility could actually be a disadvantage to the other. “These are two entirely different environments,” said Garlock. In fact, under certain circumstances, Garlock says ASCs are in a some- what better position to implement lasting improvements faster and with less difficulty than a hospital would. “ASCs are more stream- lined and less complex,” she said. “They can change practice and process quicker with less layers of complexity to get through and can be quicker to make decisions.”


Strategies that work well in the hospital environment don’t always produce the best results when practiced in the ASC. For instance, outpatient settings rely on fewer staff to manage varying responsi- bilities. To achieve efficiency and savings requires that ASCs take


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