AORN Blog - The Periop Life

5 Ways to Make Your ASC More Profitable

Five ways to make your ASC more profitable

February 1, 2018     

In today’s constantly-changing healthcare market, it’s a challenge to run a profitable ambulatory surgery center. Controlling your ASC’s operating costs, streamlining your processes, and providing your team with the necessary education are just a few areas today’s ASC administrators need to focus on to be successful.

Jan Davidson, MSN, RN, CNOR, CASC, Director of AORN’s Ambulatory Surgery Division, knows that today’s ASC administrators have multiple responsibilities that require multiple skills, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. We asked her what areas might be best to focus on to help rein in costs and discover new ways to thrive in a competitive market. Here are her five suggestions to help your ASC become more profitable in 2018.

1. Be Mindful of Succession Planning

Are you preparing for the impending nursing shortage that will continue as baby boomers live longer and surgical volumes increase? And, nurses won’t be the only ones in demand in the years to come. Do you have surgeons who are nearing retirement age? You should be constantly seeking opportunities for growth by adding new cost-effective services to your center, as well as recruiting new physicians to provide them.

2. Optimize Your Inventory Management

Consolidate the products you order and when you order them. Standardizing processes leads to efficiency which leads to cost savings. If you’ve not done so already, consider starting a quarterly product review. Involve your team in your product selection, too. For example, if you buy the least expensive hand cleaner but it causes some to have severe dermatitis, what do you think your hand hygiene compliance rate will be? Next, review your ordering process; how efficient is it? Nearly 13% of all OR supplies are discarded because they were opened and not used. Does the person in charge have all the inventory data to make the right decisions?

3. Get Creative with Your Staffing

Consider hiring more per diem staff; they typically don’t qualify for benefits and you can schedule them to work only when there is work to be done. This may reduce having to send full-time employees home when it’s slow. Also consider giving your full-time employees the jobs of the various other positions such as employee health, infection prevention, and radiation safety. During downtime they’re available to work in those areas.

In addition, make the most of your staff’s talent by cross-training them in other areas – pre-op, OR, and PACU. It’s not only cost-effective for you, but it also gives them some variety in their work and provides the patient with continuity of care. Don’t shortchange new employees. Give them a thorough orientation and verify competencies before providing patient care. Consider incorporating departmental cross-training in the orientation process.

4. Streamline Your Ordering Processes

Are you frequently making last-minute orders that require overnight delivery? Placing “urgent” orders that require overnight shipping can be extremely expensive. Check the upcoming surgery schedule daily and plan ahead to avoid high shipping costs. It can potentially save you thousands of dollars a year. In addition, since storage space may be challenging, consider keeping your PAR levels at a minimum. This will reduce your inventory costs and need for additional storage.

5. Don’t Forget You’re in the Customer Service Industry

Make your patient experience the best it can be. Remember, patients refer friends and family members to places where they’ve had a great experience. Prepare your patient for their discharge as soon as they get into pre-op. By setting the expectation at the time of admission and providing both the patient and the family member with an expected time of discharge, they don’t feel they are being rushed out when it’s time for them to go home.

So, whether you’re a new ASC administrator or a seasoned veteran searching for up-to-date solutions to today’s most pervasive ASC challenges, join us for AORN’s Global Surgical Conference & Expo 2018 in New Orleans March 24 -28. There’s an Ambulatory-specific track that includes topics like Orientation and Competencies for ASCs: Managing the Fundamentals. Also, plan to join us for our ASC Administrator Skills Course June 19-22, 2018.