Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) increasingly deliver complex
medical care, as more procedures move from inpatient to outpatient
settings. Surgery centers are projected to increase their share of all
outpatient surgery types by the end of the decade.
As with any customer, the key to winning ASCs’ business is to
understand and meet their unique needs. While ASCs increasingly handle
complex cases, they are not mini-hospitals. Their needs are different
from those of hospital ORs and from physician practices.
What’s happening in the sector
HIDA’s ASC Market Report contains a number of useful insights for understanding ASC market shifts. These include:
- The sector is rapidly expanding. More than half (58%) of outpatient
surgeries were performed by ASCs, up from 41% in 2005. ASCs’ share of
outpatient surgery is expected to grow to 60% by 2020.
- Surgeries are shifting from inpatient to outpatient settings. In
2005, 58% of surgeries were performed in an outpatient setting, and that
figure is expected to reach 64% by 2020.
- Gastroenterology is the most common ASC specialty. These procedures
account for 25% of cases, followed by ophthalmology (20%), orthopedics
(16%), and pain management (16%).
How you can help
Distributor reps have many resources and services that can help ASCs flourish. Consider talking with ASC customers about:
- The benefits of a single supplier. I’ve heard from many salespeople
that ASCs often buy individual products here and there directly from the
manufacturer. These providers usually end up paying a premium for low
volume, or buying larger quantities than they need, paying high shipping
costs, and waiting a long time for delivery. Ask your prospect if they
are buying anything direct and, if it is a manufacturer you work with,
see if you can save the ASC time and money by getting it for them.
- More appropriate order size. Reps who call on this market tell me
that most ASCs have one small inventory room. To optimize space and
availability, offer to help analyze historical usage and establish a
suitable product ordering frequency. Suggest perpetual inventory
(getting weekly supply orders delivered at a set time) or recommend
smaller, more frequent just-in-time deliveries.
- Training for new revenue-boosting procedures. Your manufacturer
representative partners often provide training to ASC doctors for
revenue-boosting procedures, especially if their product can be used for
this purpose. Find ways to coordinate and facilitate these sessions.
- Consensus building for new product introductions. If the purchasing
person thinks it is too much effort to get a group of doctors to agree
on which new product to try, offer to build consensus by making a
presentation at their next staff meeting.
- Targeted value-added services. Position yourself as a business
partner by first asking the administrator what his or her goals and
challenges are, then using this information to add value.
- Obtaining hard-to-find products. A common situation is for a doctor
to say to the person buying supplies, “I use product x at the hospital,
can you get it for me here?” Or, “I just read about product y, can you
get me some more information?” In these cases, the buyer may not know
where to turn for expert assistance. You can position yourself as a key
asset by offering to bring samples or literature, or to set up
Once your ASC customer sees that you understand their unique
challenges and characteristics, you can position yourself to gain their
trust, respect, and repeated business.
To learn more about HIDA’s ASC Market Report, or any of the other market reports we offer, please visit www.HIDA.org/MarketReports.
And if you would like more tips on selling to ASC customers, be sure to
check out the course “Selling to Surgery Center Customers,” offered by
HIDA’s AMS Sales Training Program (www.HIDAAMS.org).
Published in: http://www.repertoiremag.com/to-win-ascs-business-understand-their-unique-needs.html