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Product Formulary

Identifying the Value for a Product Formulary?

By Melinda Laupert, RN, McKesson Medical-Surgical Clinical Resource Team

The complexity of health care today demands a well defined formulary to facilitate quality care, control medical supply costs and monitor clinical compliance and outcomes. These ever changing financial, regulatory and clinical challenges demand a well organized purchasing department. New products and equipment are entering the market each day making the challenge even greater.         

Does your organization maintain a specific product formulary, supported by continued education, data management and annual review? Standardizing products and equipment combined with purchasing guidelines and continued education facilitates positive outcomes for your residents, staff and entire organization.

Do any of the following scenarios apply to your organization?

  1. Like products from multiple manufacturers are being purchased (especially for skin, wound and personal care items).
  2. Supply Costs are trending upward monthly without justification.
  3. Par levels are not maintained in central supply and on units.
  4. Your central supply technician has no defined guidelines or budget.
  5. You feel inventory is too high.
  6. Products are purchased from several distributors.
  7. Current contracts, education, resources and customer support from your vendor is not in sync with your strategy.
  8. Your vendors and manufacturer partners are not committed to providing comprehensive purchase reporting and educational support.
  9. Inconsistent use of products (e.g. low use of moisturizers and barriers...wound product usage increasing).
  10. Products ordered based solely on physician's choice, nurse's personal preference or latest manufacture presentation.
  11. Expired products are identified when making rounds.
  12. Comprehensive inventory management system is not in place to monitor compliance and support program.
  13. Multiple open boxes and various sizes of same product observed (e.g. multiple open soap containers in shower room).
  14. Products purchased in larger than needed quantity and unit of measure (cases purchased when only one is needed).
  15. Staff lacks training and education regarding products indications and protocol compliance.
  16. Product formulary education is not included in new hire orientation (results in nurses requesting personal favorites).
  17. Staff does not understand "product life".
  18. Trials are not conducted prior to adding new products to inventory.
  19. Organization does not have New Product/Formulary Committee in place.
  20. MSDS sheets are not up to date due to frequent product changes.
  21. Pharmacy sends products that do not require RX and more cost effectively can be purchased from your vendor.
  22. Physicians and nurses continue to request new products without regard to product education, indications, product duplication and cost.
  23. Product reimbursement is not being maximized.
  24. Products sent from wound billing company are different each month.
  25. Appropriate staff is not administering product accurately based on regulations (e.g. some states do not allow nursing assistants to apply products containing Zinc).
  26. Product information is not easily available to staff, surveyors and physicians.

Often budgets are managed simply by focusing primarily on pricing. Consider a new approach with your vendor and move toward a restructured supply chain management system that includes a comprehensive formulary to facilitate quality care and positive outcomes for your entire organization.

Please contact Melinda Laupert, RN for questions and comments.  


2015 McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc         

About the Author

Melinda Laupert, RN, McKesson Medical-Surgical Clinical Resource Team
Melinda Laupert is a Registered Nurse and a member of APIC and the Association of Healthcare Value Analysis Professionals. Melinda has 27 years of experience in Long Term Care. She began her career at the bedside and quickly evolved into a consulting role. Her experience covers customer and sales support related to medical supplies, equipment, Medicare Part B Billing and LTC Pharmacy services. Her experience working with large corporations was instrumental in the building of a $18M business that McKesson acquired in 2009. Her roles at Prime Medical included sales, developing marketing materials, clinical support, product development, account management and most importantly finding solutions to solve customer problems and grow the business. Now at McKesson, she is very involved in utilization management, formulary development and Supply iQ consultations. She hopes one day to return to her roots as a modern dancer and choreographer and begin a dance company for mature adults. She feels mobility is a key component to facilitating good health and her dance company Ageless Movement will help accomplish that goal.         
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