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The keys to successfully implementing a reprocessing initiative at an ambulatory surgery center

September 13, 2021
Business Affairs
Ken Diebner
By Ken Diebner

There are many benefits of implementing a reprocessing initiative within an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC). By committing to a reprocessing initiative, a facility can reduce supply costs and strengthen its bottom line. To run a successful program, surgery centers should address each of the following critical factors to optimize its results:

1. Don’t settle for mediocrity

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Today, the average surgery center is only generating about 25 percent of the savings that are available through reprocessing. When we investigate the root cause of what is driving the lack of performance, it is usually tied to one of two main factors: (1) Savings goals have not been set (2) Nobody is monitoring the savings being generated.

We hear people say that their reprocessing program is “running on autopilot,” but is it working the way it should be working? It is nice when things run smoothly, but what if your reprocessing program could be saving your facility two or three times that which it is generating today. Is your program really working well? It is important to work with your reprocessing company to identify the potential savings available at your center. Set a monthly savings goal, monitor the progress of your savings against this goal, and communicate the results with your staff, including your surgeons. Set the example for your staff and show them that you are committed to this program by driving activity. Like any other initiative, the better you manage the program, the better the results will be. Don’t settle for mediocrity.

2. Train and retrain OR staff on the full scope of your initiative
Over time, we have seen reprocessing programs start strong but languish in mediocrity as the years pass. Part of this is that surgery centers lose focus on the objective – to save money. Part of it is that facilities overlook the need to train new staff members to collect devices that are part of your program. Lastly, as time passes, the number of new devices which can be reprocessed increases, thus it is important to educate the surgical team on the full scope of devices that will drive the greatest savings.

3. Don’t just “check-the-box”
All too often, we come across facilities who tell us that they are already engaged in a reprocessing initiative, only to find out that they are only reprocessing non-invasive devices or that they reprocess one or two other invasive devices but nothing else. Granted, reprocessing one or two devices is far better than not engaging at all, but try not to fall into this trap. If you are either an Orthopedic Center or a Multispecialty Surgery Center with orthopedics as a strong part of your operating mix, you should be saving at least $20,000 per OR Suite annually. If not, you may be falling short of your potential. Don’t just check the box that says you are reprocessing without looking to see if there are other devices that you can add to your collection efforts that will generate far greater savings.

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