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Supply chain leaders today face what may seem like an insurmountable challenge – measuring the performance of their supply chain across their non-acute continuum. As patient care moves out of the hospital and into ambulatory care settings, having the right analytics to align the corporate goals with the ambulatory care sites becomes critical to success. 34% of executives say aligning the supply chain is the biggest challenge they have.1 Challenges multiply when health systems acquire new ambulatory facilities. No matter if the facility is a physician office, ambulatory surgery center or skilled nursing facility, integrating procurement and analytic tools becomes a recipe for operational and financial success.
Health systems achieve better outcomes operationally, financially, and clinically when they utilize a fully integrated platform connecting data across all non-acute sites and providers. Using a reliable, intuitive analytical tool helps health systems gain valuable insights needed to manage healthcare business effectively. The tool should help uncover trends and opportunities for cost-saving and care improvement for individual facilities, or system-wide.
How many data sources does your support team use to understand the health of your supply chain? It’s not uncommon for staff to have to cobble together data pulls from their acute care MMIS, ERP, EDI, and/or online ordering tools. Imagine multiplying that by each non-acute facility your health system has. Spending hours collating data is inefficient. 50% of supply chain executives are looking to integrate their non-acute technologies.2
Analytics can bridge the gap between supply chain and patient outcomes explains McKesson executive Jacob Hookom, Vice President of B2B Customer Experience and Information Technology.
Health systems should use data to help drive clinician decisions, facilitate standardization, and ultimately support improved patient outcomes.
The right data can drive product decisions at a macro level, across the system, as well as at the point of care. A Director of Nursing, for example, may look at products being used across the care setting to identify the best products and suppliers for cost savings at the necessary level of quality. Based on that data, the sutures, catheters, etc. may be standardized across the continuum of care by the administrator.
Also, at a point of care level, historical product usage intelligence or peer product usage intelligence can help drive the decision-making of individual clinicians. All of this contributes to standardization and automation of the supply chain, which in turn gives practitioners more time to focus on enhancing patient care.
Product standardization leads to care standardization, Hookom continued. Optimizing the supply chain is fundamental – if clinicians are not applying the same types and quality of products to the patients in their care, it can cascade throughout the patient experience and cause problems such as reduced quality of care, increased readmissions, and reduced reimbursements. “By standardizing products, especially ones that need clinical instruction on best application and usage protocols during an episode of care, systems can better train their clinical population and provide a more consistent level of care,” said Hookom.
Operationally, analytics and data help health systems to identify opportunities to consolidate vendors, aggregate orders, streamline the ordering process, and decrease the number of invoices to be processed, all of which help free up staff and give them time to focus on what is important.
“By standardizing products, especially ones that need clinical instruction on best application and usage protocols during an episode of care, systems can better train their clinical population and provide a more consistent level of care.”
— Jacob Hookom, Vice President, B2B Customer Experience and Information Technology
Hookom and his team advise health systems to seek tools that can analyze a health system’s purchase history and provide key information including spend detail, efficiency metrics, spend variances, category and product trends, conversion opportunities, and formulary compliance. Health systems can then leverage this data to reduce inventory and carrying costs, as well as balance product spend against clinician usage. This data applies to all settings and aggregates spends across the enterprise, including medical-surgical supplies, pharmacy, lab, and equipment which can be particularly challenging in the fragmented non-acute supply chain. Gaining transparency into spend at both the health system “grandparent” level and at the facility level can lead to savings.
Hookom identifies two key types of analytics that are vital to help support better patient care and outcomes for nonacute care:
“Any key efficiencies we can help drive in the supply chain using analytics, predictive intelligence, and ordering experience for decision support are critical to enabling clinicians to focus first and foremost on patient engagement, and not stocking shelves or chasing down supplies,” Hookom said.
Customers have shared with his team at McKesson that the tools McKesson provides to clients is invaluable. “My team has been able to help drive better operational efficiencies using these analytics and tools…including analytical intelligence to change or augment the overall supply chain process,” he stated. One customer uncovered a 20% savings opportunity through product conversion and standardization.3 The next chapter will dive deeper into process automation and how it can enhance business productivity across non-acute care sites.
How automated are your current non-acute supply chain processes? Learn how automating back-end office functions can give more time back to the clinicians to spend on patient care and improve provider satisfaction.
1: 2018 Provider Survey, Hospital & Health System Supply Chain Executives Collaborate to Drive Efficiencies as Supply Chain Expands, HIDA Report
2: 2018 Provider Survey, Hospital & Health System Supply Chain Executives Collaborate to Drive Efficiencies as Supply Chain Expands, HIDA Report
3: Based upon customer’s proprietary information uncovered McKesson’s Business Analytics tool