Three Things to Know about Physician Preference Items & ASCs

Physician preference items can pose a challenge for ASCs. Here are three things to know about them:

1. They can represent a large portion of a surgery center’s supply chain budget. Physician preference items often account for over 60 percent of supply chain costs, although sometimes it can be much more.

“Physicians are trying to work with these specific items and don’t want to move. At BroadJump, we’ve found price variances [of] up to 442 percent for PPIs, making this a challenging area when it comes to controlling costs,” said Ann Castro, BroadJump’s vice president of non-acute sales. Instead of asking the physician to switch products, the ASC should identify where the variation is and focus on how to fix it. An easy way to do this is by using a comparative analytics tool and [using] their positioning in the market to pay a more realistic price for these products.”

2. Challenges can be tackled through case costing. PPIs can present unique challenges for ophthalmology and orthopedic procedures.

“Our biggest pain point has been taking years of inventory buildup and establishing appropriate par-levels based on schedule and need,” said Ashley Verbitsky, executive director of Langhorne, Pa.-based The Ambulatory Surgery Center at St. Mary’s. “We also deal with many duplicitous supplies and equipment in our multispecialty, physician-owned center, as our early years were spent catering to individual physician interests. Establishing parameters for case costing and providing feedback on variations between surgeons for the same procedure is on the docket for the coming months.”

3. Some items are worth the cost. Certain items are “must-haves” because they make physicians’ jobs easier.

“My physicians are tried and true and have decades of experience. They know what they want, and I explain to all representatives that if you want my doctors to want your product, you will have to appeal to their preferences,” said Beverly Bryant, RN, administrator and director of Yuma (Ariz.) Endoscopy Center. “My physicians feel that certain items are worth the increased cost because it improves ease of their job, and in turn, maintains patient safety.”

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