3 Ways Outsourcing the Sterile Processing Department Will Keep Your Total Joints Program Ahead of ASC Trends

At one time it might have been surprising to find out that an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) functioned without an in-house Sterile Processing Department (SPD). Today, it's common to see centers survive and even thrive without them.

Take Vested Medical in Illinois, for example. They tested an off-site sterilization program with the goals of reducing reprocessing backlogs, increasing surgical capacity, and cutting back on contamination risk — all while upholding and even increasing their high standards of care. And it's worked.1

It may seem counterintuitive, but with modern options, outsourcing the SPD can actually keep ASCs ahead of trends in reimbursement, compliance, and minimizing complexity in a total joint program.2

  1. Keeping You Ahead of VBC Pressure

    Outsourcing the SPD can be a path to increased efficiency, making it an effective strategic response to Value-Based care (VBC) challenges. This is largely due to steadily increasing safety and compliance requirements, especially in preparing Compounded Sterile Preparations (CSPs).

    Since changes in standards in 2013, ASC leaders have been navigating increasingly challenging quality and patient safety requirements around sterile drug compounding.3 Insurance companies have also been applying pressure around quality scores and care standards for their members, making in-house management a drain on efficiencies.

    Moving the SPD outside the ASC means shifting the complexity of training, certification, and staff productivity to a specialized partner — a smart move for many ASCs with total joint programs that will benefit from leadership focus on core competencies.

  2. Improving Infection Control and Patient Safety

    ASCs have leveraged superior infection control as a competitive advantage over hospitals for years. Now, outsourcing the SPD is a new opportunity to take that advantage a step further.

    The pandemic has “supercharged" patient demand for a safe and controlled surgical environment, making an outsourced off-site SPD an ideal response.4 But even in cases where outsourced processes are handled on-site, the focused expertise and specialized skill of the SPD provider can benefit a total joint program. This competitive advantage can additionally be leveraged at the marketing level to attract new patients as your program sets more aggressive volume goals.

  3. Injecting Simplicity During a Total Joint Program Expansion

    Any growing total joint program will benefit from a focus on simplicity and outsourcing the SPD could be a ripe opportunity. Growing ASCs benefit from a focus on scaling total joint replacement procedures, making the SPD an area of complexity worth simplifying.

    SPDs require specialized equipment and supplies. They also tap ASC resources in keeping on top of shifting regulations and industry standards. As ASCs build out total joint programs and decide how they will navigate the phasing out of the Inpatient Only (IPO) list, outsourced SPDs will bring increasing benefits.

The decision to outsource the SPD is one that will impact your expanding ASC at all levels. To learn more about improving efficiencies as your total joint replacement program grows, start with resources for surgery center orthopedics here.


1 https://www.outpatientsurgery.net/enews-briefs/february-24.html#4

2 https://www.cardinalhealth.com/content/dam/corp/web/documents/publication/cardinal-health-ASC-Beckers-How-to-Establish-a-total-joint-replacement-program.pdf

3 https://www.beckersasc.com/asc-news/outsourcing-sterile-compounding-can-help-ascs-maximize-value-based-care.html

4 https://www.beckersasc.com/leadership/top-priorities-for-asc-leaders-today-and-in-2021-7-key-trends.html

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