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7 ways to drive operational efficiency at your medical practice

Competitive pressures and supply chain disruptions can make it difficult for a physician's practice to operate as efficiently as possible. And the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for physicians' practices to manage supplies efficiently at a time when more care is being provided outside of acute-care facilities.1

Together with the demands to deliver better care with fewer resources, the disruptions caused by the pandemic have hit independent medical and physician practices with limited financial flexibility particularly hard.2

In today's environment, improving profitability (31%) and operations (30%) are the top priorities for healthcare leaders, according to a poll by the Medical Group Management Association.3 And some practices are turning to business analytics for help.4

With some simple analytics, you can help your practice become more efficient in how you order and use supplies.

1 | Reduce spend by analyzing purchasing data

Analytics are not spreadsheets, explains Tracy Crowley, senior product manager, customer analytics for McKesson Medical-Surgical. Rather, analytics turn data into actionable insights that help practice leaders make informed decisions.

With analytics, you can see what you spend money on, where you spend it and whether you could save, Crowley notes. With multiple staff members placing orders quickly, it can be hard to know what is being purchased where without waiting for orders and invoices to arrive.

2 | Identify potential improvements through analytics

Regardless of the size of your practice, you compete with others for patients, including larger organizations — and efficiency is key, according to Crowley. "A smaller practice should be just as efficient, if not more efficient, than a larger practice if they want to be competitive," Crowley says.

However, many practices do not know they have efficiency issues until they see them portrayed visually as with analytics, Crowley remarks. She explains that noticing details, such as too many supply orders with only a few line items, can help you become more efficient by allowing you to identify opportunities to place fewer orders but with more items.

"If you were to save five to 10% in the time it takes to place an order and do the invoicing, you can put that into seeing patients, doing billing or otherwise running your business," Crowley says. Additionally, small orders can increase shipping costs so it is important to review and understand order sizes.

3 | Manage your inventory

It's important for practices of any size to understand and manage their medical-surgical inventory. For example, inventory analysis can help you save money by reducing duplication of similar items.

Crowley suggests that inventory analysis could help you determine whether you are needlessly buying different glove colors or wasting inventory by over-ordering supplies that then reach their expiration dates before you use them.

4 | Build supply chain resilience through diversification

The surging interest in the importance of supply-chain is on everyone's mind, largely due to the massive disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're attempting to look at what happened, learn from that and improve going forward," Crowley says. Organizations are balancing their formularies of products so that they're not over-committed in one area and under-committed in another, for example, she notes.

5 | Improve practice performance by benchmarking

You can also become more efficient by benchmarking your practice's performance against your peers by similar size, location and specialty through analytics. "Nobody wants to be in the middle and nobody wants to be average," Crowley says. With analytics, you can compare your efficiency metrics with those of competitors, according to Crowley. You can then look for ways to improve efficiency involving other resources available, such as consulting and best practices.

6 | Seize opportunities with real-time insights

Unlike spreadsheets with historical data, analytics show information in real-time, Crowley explains. This means you can act on timely, accurate data.

Crowley recalls a customer that used analytics to resolve problems related to recalls of pharmaceutical products. "It was super easy for them to find the products, find what locations ordered it, and find which ones were ordered in that recall timeline," Crowley says. The practice saved significant time as a result.

Similarly, another practice saved money by identifying locations that were incurring delivery fees for placing small orders that did not comply with their supply contracts, according to Crowley. "By seeing those orders, they could pinpoint who was placing small orders, what types of products were frequently ordered too often, and then address the behaviors," Crowley says.

7 | Resolve problems with detailed data

"A small physician's practice might not think that they could use business analytics, but every practice regardless of their size can benefit," Crowley says.

Analytics are especially effective when coupled with reports, according to Crowley. For example, if your analytics show that your efficiency metrics are decreasing, you can pull reports to see if the trend is related to a particular location, product or purchasing practice. "Analytics help you identify a problem and detailed reporting helps you solve that problem," Crowley said.

As supply chain disruptions continue and competitive pressures mount, you can work to become more efficient at your physician's practice by using analytics.

Want to turn data into action? Request access to your McKesson Business AnalyticsSM dashboard today. Your McKesson Medical-Surgical account manager can help you gain access, customize your dashboard and help you understand the analytics.


© 2021 McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc.