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For a health system, managing the breadth of its non-acute care specialties can be a daunting task. Each specialty – from physician offices to surgery centers to home health agencies – has different supply requirements. When a health system has grown through mergers and acquisitions, its facilities may also be on different operating platforms with no technological bridge in which leadership can view the specialties’ supply chain, from procurement to patient use. It can be complicated and fragmented. Yet, with the right tools at hand, opportunities for cost savings, revenue generation, and greater operational efficiencies can be discovered.
For supply chain professionals, data is king. Having the right data at your fingertips enables more agile decision-making. In a health system, there’s a stark contrast from the mature supply chain of the hospitals and that of the constantly evolving non-acute continuum where each facility can act as its own micro-supply chain. Establishing visibility across these fragmented and disjointed facilities is the critical first step to driving both operational and clinical initiatives, resulting in better financial performance. Having an aggregated information platform that provides visibility across the non-acute continuum, from the physician’s practice to the patient’s home, can lead to better outcomes operationally and financially. Having the right tools allows a health system to observe and track purchasing behaviors across all non-acute care settings.
“As care moves out of the acute setting, and into ambulatory and post-acute settings, it becomes even more critical to get financial and decision support for supply chain in those non-acute care settings,” says Jacob Hookom, Vice President of B2B Customer Experience for Information Technology at McKesson. “Visibility of patient interactions across all care settings can help identify and measure operational efficiencies, care standardization, contract compliance and the subsequent impact on your system’s bottom line.”
From a clinical standpoint, visibility is crucial for mapping product usage as it relates to clinical outcomes. Seeing the big picture enables health system administrators to improve coordination and continuity of care across the treatment continuum of all ambulatory and post-acute settings.
Access to the purchasing patterns across care settings, regarding patient discharges, patient population interactions, and outcomes, is vital. “That access is an absolute must for health systems, yet traditionally has somewhat lagged in the market,” Hookom says.
A health system should look for a partner that can examine the fragmented non-acute supply chain operation, including purchasing behaviors and trends, to identify areas of improvement to get the most out of the annual spend operationally, clinically, and financially. “There is a lot of effort made to analyze and standardize the quality of patient care. Understanding which products are used in each of those patient encounters is just as critical to gain quality and consistency in clinical training and patient outcomes,” says Hookom. McKesson helps health systems examine their supply chain operation, including purchasing behaviors and trends to identify areas of improvement across the non-acute facility.
“Knowing what products are being used across care settings – that kind of macro, ‘big picture’ visibility – is critical to identifying better products, manufacturers, suppliers, and cost savings.”
— Jacob Hookom, Vice President of B2B Customer Experience for Information Technology at McKesson
Simply having the information, dashboards, and reports is not enough to control rogue spending. Supply chain operational managers must actively mine for information to identify cost containment opportunities and then drive necessary changes to stop ineffective or inefficient supply chain behaviors before they cause additional financial losses or create detrimental discrepancies in care. Leveraging intelligence on product usage helps drive change from the ground level.
“Knowing what products are being used across care settings – that kind of macro, ‘big picture’ visibility – is critical to identifying better products, manufacturers, suppliers, and cost savings,” Hookom says. This helps improve continuity and consistency of care, impacts standardization, and helps control costs. Visibility into your supply chain drives continuous improvements across all specialties, not just at the site-item level. A health system can use that greater visibility into deploying best practices across the non-acute continuum.
Based upon proprietary data algorithms, Hookom estimates that only about 20 to 25 percent of health systems are currently above average in terms of visibility across all care settings. He estimates that about 8 percent of a health system’s spend (on average) goes towards having an analytic tool and resources to help mine for insights to help improve patient care.
Forging a strategic relationship with a supply chain partner, such as McKesson, allows a health system to leverage its system’s data to see beyond the four walls of the acute facility, into the multiple non-acute and post-acute settings throughout the entire healthcare network of patient care settings. McKesson offers cutting-edge business analytics to empower health systems with applicable data they can leverage to provide better patient care, achieve better clinical outcomes, and uncover additional cost saving opportunities.
Health systems need a supply chain partner that can also help monitor and measure the behaviors, care operations, and supply chain operations of all facilities across the non-acute setting. This provides insights on additional cost-saving measures or operational changes that can be enacted system-wide.
For improved operational performance, McKesson provides visibility via an aggregated information platform that allows health systems to observe and track purchasing behaviors across the non-acute continuum. This allows supply chain managers to understand the big picture, including all contract and non-contract spend and product usage. Obtaining this valuable information is the first part of the process to gain control over all ambulatory and post-acute ordering. Health systems can use McKesson’s proprietary benchmarking and dashboarding technology to see how their performance rates against peers of similar size and complexity.
Check out chapter two of this series, Building Your Roadmap to Non-Acute Success: Analytics
Once you have visibility into how healthy your non-acute supply chain is, you can then use the data to leverage the next step in taking control of your non-acute continuum: Standardization. Chapter 6 will provide additional steps on bringing greater efficiencies to your non-acute supply chain through standardization.
How does your health system ensure that all non-acute locations are on formulary, and are meeting compliance goals? Although non-acute settings vary, there’s still room for standardization of supply chain processes.