Running a surgery center requires a range of equipment. In most cases, ASCs can’t afford to purchase every instrument needed for a wide range of procedures. Coupled with a lack of storage space, most ASCs opt to use at least some loaner equipment. While this strategy can save a significant amount of money, it requires a high level of organization. Here’s what your ASC can do to improve your vendor management systems.
It’s all in the timing
At the very least, you should receive replacement loaner instruments at least 48 hours before a scheduled procedure. This window extends to at least 72 hours beforehand for new equipment. Your staff need adequate time to properly sterilize equipment. In the case of new instruments, the 72-hour window allows for the person scrubbing into the operating room to get familiar with the instrumentation.
Utilize a Digital Vendor Management System
Achieving this turnaround time for receiving new instruments from your vendors requires keeping a close eye on inventory. Because the staff in your ASC often have to wear many hats, you can make it easier on them by utilizing a vendor management system. With a digital management system, your vendors have real-time access to your inventory so you never get behind on supplies.
Check FDA-cleared instructions
FDA clearance is the only way to know how the instruments should be cleaned, packaged, and sterilized. FDA-cleared manufacturer written instructions ensure that all the precise steps for cleaning and sterilization have been validated. Additionally, instrument trays cannot exceed 25 pounds, as regulated by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN). Not only do heavy trays present ergonomic challenges, but cumbersome trays can lead to sterilization and drying issues as well.
Complete quality checks
As soon as you receive new shipments, run an inventory and quality check on the items. This is both a patient safety and a financial issue. Make sure there is nothing damaged or missing. You never want to get to an operating room and realize an instrument is missing that’s vital to the surgery. Perform inventory both before and after surgery. Additionally, when sending back loaner equipment, you need to have documented if an item was missing in the original order. That way, you won’t be erroneously charged for a missing item.
Interested in the topic of Vendor Management? On July 28th, we're hosting a FREE webinar on Everything You Need to Know About Vendor Management for ASCs. A recording of the webinar will be sent to all those who register here.
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