Christopher Stine serves as one of Regent Surgical Health’s purchasing managers and oversees purchasing and supply chain operations for Regent’s centers in the Midwest and Eastern U.S. Stine shares his insights on leveraging data and analytics for cost savings and also forecasts what is on the horizon for data. “We recognize that data-driven supply chain decision-making can help ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) keep costs in check and drive better purchasing decisions,” stated Stine. “The health care industry has been a bit behind in terms of collecting and analyzing data, however, at Regent we have the ability to collect and analyze purchasing data across all of our centers and leverage our findings with member ASCs.”
Analyzing data from Regent’s 24 current center partnerships, allows Stine and his team to identify vendor or materials specific problems. It also allows them to more effectively manage strategic partnerships with group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and vendors. Stine cited a recent example where a partner ASC experienced skyrocketing costs and did not know why. “The center wanted to get in front of the problem and get it corrected quickly,” stated Stine. “Using our data and analysis, we developed a plan and tackled a high-cost implant vendor, one we determined to be the source of major expenditures for the center.” Stine explained that the costs were concentrated on four particular types of orthopedic cases. Armed with this information and specific details, Stine and his team developed a plan and met with the vendor to negotiate lower pricing. “When we step in, we are able to find the 20 percent that is having 80 percent of the impact,” explained Stine, “and that’s what we strive to do. If we can identify the 20 percent with that kind of impact and attack it, the center can immediately experience a shift in bottom line net income.”
One of the keys to collecting data that leads to cost savings for Regent ASCs is physician preference cards, now in a digital format connected to the inventory management system. The price and quantity can be indicated on each card, per procedure, making it easier to discern where physician preferences are costing more than a center is being reimbursed. Nurses pull the items prior to a case, then manually check off the items on the backend. This data flows through the inventory system and costs are assigned. The process allows Regent to accurately track what a particular case costs. Regent has data on all cases and analyzes what factors are driving costs and where costs can be cut and savings can be realized. Future advances in technology will also help ASCs monitor and cut costs. Though purchasing will not be completely automated, scanning technology that will enhance data collection is currently being tested.
This technology will show ASCs what products were used in a case and will trigger an inventory notice when those products run low, signaling the materials manager to reorder. “This type of system has been used in the auto industry and it’s exciting to see that healthcare is moving in this direction,” noted Stine. “It’s still on the horizon, but it will be another tool that will enable us to more accurately determine case costs.” Are you looking for a partner to analyze and provide cost-savings recommendations? Regent Surgical Health has the expertise and data analytics capabilities that will create substantial savings for your ASC. For more information, call 708-492-0531.