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AI for ASC Supply Chain Management

By April 5, 2021 No Comments

The global artificial intelligence (AI) market is estimated to grow at a compound annual rate of 57% to reach $36 billion by 2025 (1). Meanwhile, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are one of the fastest growing segments of the healthcare system: by 2020, 60% of outpatient surgeries are expected to be performed in an ASC setting, up from 40% in 2005 (4). Since better supply chain management has the potential to cut supply costs by over 17% for the average hospital (2,3), AI-enhanced ASC supply chain management presents a particularly valuable opportunity for process optimization (5). 

Given the many joint ventures, acquisitions, and consolidations of U.S.-based ASCs, a certain degree of interoperability between multiple platforms, as well as between payers and specialty medical practices, will be vital to ensuring consistency and stability in the national deployment of ASCs. Since current ASC software systems tend to operate independently without much interoperability (5), AI may be key to translating disparate input into a common, interoperable language and output – including in reference to supply chain management. 

In so doing, AI can be leveraged to specifically track and optimize the supply chain in a fluid and consistent way; making use of barcodes, QR codes and advanced scanning tools to seamlessly track cost of care throughout the supply chain (3). AI can also help streamline ASC software and delivery processes, with the goal of facilitating the standardization of commodity supplies and enabling a deeper analysis of large volumes of data comparing the cost and effectiveness of different products.  

In this context as well, AI can help with the digitization and automatic processing of all types of clinical data and task automation. These include ASC pre-authorization and patient registration, coding and clinician documentation, and unsettled claims and resolutions. Digital robots can then be programmed to search and select relevant historical data such as allergies, medications, and previous medical procedures for capture and conversion, ensuring both data integrity and compliance with health record standards. In helping mobilize medical records as such to cloud-based storage and turning them into clinically actionable target systems in ASCs, digital robots can thereby both decrease the amount of staff labor time currently dedicated to tedious repetitive tasks and minimize human error in so doing.

With digitized and well-harnessed patient data, AI can promote the advancement of personalized medicine – enabling the treatment of patients in more individualized, patient-centric ways. For example, AI can harness genomic information, combined with other patient clinical, social and behavioral factors, to predict future disease states and healthcare treatments, such as whether a patient is likely to experience a cardiovascular event or require a hip replacement; in addition, AI can play an important role in matching the right products to the right patients, and leverage this for value analysis and sourcing, as well as making sure the right products are in the right place – all directly relevant to an optimized supply chain management.

Finally, AI can minimize excess cost by preventing unnecessary procedures. To this end, AI will be used to create and update benchmarks in real-time, allowing human doctors to implement strategies such as favoring outpatient care or opting to avoid additional expensive tests if they have not been shown to improve outcomes. This may, for example, minimize costs in light of the third-party payer problem – more objectively helping make data-informed, cost-minimizing decisions. 

A clear key component of the fourth industrial revolution’s convergence of the physical, digital, and biological spheres, AI will undoubtedly transform ASCs, and, in so doing, improve operational and financial performance in addition to patient and clinician experience.

References

1. Realizing the Potential of AI in the Healthcare Supply Chain | SupplyChainBrain [Internet]. Available from: https://www.supplychainbrain.com/blogs/1-think-tank/post/30899-realizing-the-potential-of-ai-in-the-healthcare-supply-chain

2. Use artificial intelligence to transform the hospital supply chain [Internet]. Available from: https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2019/09/06/use-artificial-intelligence-to-transform-the-hospital-supply-chain/

3. How AI in healthcare supply chain management (SCM) can cut costs [Internet]. Available from: https://spendmatters.com/2019/09/09/how-ai-in-healthcare-supply-chain-management-scm-can-cut-costs/

4. The New Rules of Ambulatory Surgery Competition [Internet]. Available from: https://www.advisory.com/topics/ambulatory-care/2019/01/the-new-rules-of-ambulatory-competition

5. The promise of AI in healthcare | Medical Economics [Internet]. Available from: https://www.medicaleconomics.com/view/promise-ai-healthcare

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