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Business analytics benefits for medical providers

In today's data-driven world, medical providers are learning to use business analytics to their advantage. From improving supply chain resiliency to reducing product redundancy, analytics tools can provide valuable insights. Here are some of the top business analytics benefits.

Improve supply chain resiliency

During the COVID-19 pandemic, shortages of medical supplies became common.1 Medical providers have become more aware of the importance of supply chain resilience and the need to identify potential product shortages rapidly. This is one of the areas where business analytics can help.

"Analyzing complex metrics to identify potential shortages can be challenging. Business analytics tools that take many factors into account, such as class of trade, specialty, product, manufacturer and country of origin, should be considered. Predictive emergency ordering can help during these challenging times as well," says Tracy Crowley, product manager for McKesson Business AnalyticsSM (MBA), McKesson Medical- Surgical's proprietary analytics dashboard.

Improve compliant ordering

Medical providers need to fulfill specific supply needs. For example, a supplier cannot deliver certain products if a patient has not had a recent doctor's appointment and received a compliant written order or prescription for supplies. In addition, Medicare and Medicaid restrict the types of supplies some medical providers can provide to patients that these payers will cover.

According to Crowley, business analytics can help improve compliant ordering and make sure suppliers receive approval for reimbursement before purchasing. Medical providers can also increase their purchasing power with group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and lower costs or increase rebates by using analytics tools.

"It can be hard to know who is purchasing what in a timely manner. Analytics can help providers find and address non-compliant purchasing faster. One of the business analytics benefits is it can lead to uncovering the reasons for non-compliant purchasing, such as physician preference, or maybe just more training is needed to understand why and how to make compliant purchases," explains Crowley.

Improve efficiency

With business analytics, you can get a better view of your practice's ordering habits and see where you might be inefficient. Providers can evaluate metrics such as small orders, lines per order, order frequency and how they placed orders to help save time and lower the cost of managing inventory. This allows them to spend more time engaging with patients and less time managing supplies.

"Analytics tools help us leverage data in ways that are meaningful and help us make decisions quickly. It is essential for being able to support a supply chain for physician practices," says Robert Ward, materials manager at Dignity Health.

Ward explains that he has used analytics to make rapid decisions about discontinued items. It's allowed him to see exactly which items have been discontinued along with their best alternatives, leading to greater efficiency in the organization.

Reduce costs, redundancy & waste

With business analytics, providers can see where their money is going in real-time. This data allows them to reduce costs, redundancy and waste. 

For example, if a medical provider is purchasing two similar tests from different manufacturers, there's an opportunity to reduce redundancy and standardize purchasing by buying from only one manufacturer. Bulk orders from one manufacturer may also lower costs.

"We had a customer who was dividing their spending on A1C tests (blood tests for diabetes) evenly across two manufacturers at a higher cost per test," says Kevin Durkin, field VP of strategic accounts, lab at McKesson Medical-Surgical, "By using business analytics, we were able to see this and helped the customer consolidate to only using one manufacturer."

Examining the data allowed Durkin's customer to lower their cost per test, which has clinical and operational benefits, too.

The customer was able to turn the cost savings into an opportunity by expanding their A1C testing to more locations and offering it to more patients, in turn improving the customer's quality of care scores because they're rated on how effectively they're managing patients with chronic conditions like diabetes. Higher quality of care scores can lead to higher reimbursements from payers like Medicare or Medicaid.

Find gaps in care

Evaluating data through an analytics platform can sometimes reveal gaps in care that medical providers can fix. Durkin explains how he used business analytics to look at a subset of lab products that pediatric clinics would typically use. He discovered a lack of standardized care by conducting a gap analysis to show which pediatric offices were running certain tests and which were not.

"I showed the gap analysis to the customer, and they were very surprised because they thought they were generally standardized across their lab offering in the pediatric setting. They realized only about 50% to 60% of their pediatric offices had the instruments that they wanted to have in place," explains Durkin.

How medical providers can use business analytics effectively

To enjoy all the potential business analytics benefits, medical providers should use an analytics platform. However, they may be unable to hire programmers and analytics staff to handle their data. Instead, they can turn to a solution like McKesson Business Analytics (MBA), an interactive analytics dashboard that analyzes purchases, identifies trends and compares providers' performances with those of their peers.

Crowley mentions the following additional examples of how customers have used MBA:

  • To identify the exact location that purchased a recalled pharmaceutical product in the relevant date range quickly and easily
  • To reduce costs using formulary compliance by identifying noncompliant purchases of nutritional products and purchasing them on contract instead
  • To compare per patient day (PPD) costs based on the location, clinician and patient

"Medical providers get insights into their businesses through MBA. It's similar to how many physicians would manage their financial portfolios. MBA allows a similar view into their practice and where they're spending the vast majority of their money and on which products," adds Durkin.

The insights that data can provide are valuable for medical providers. Using a business analytics platform can help providers learn more about their practice and find ways to improve it.

Analytics. Insight. Action. Check out McKesson Business Analytics to see how data-driven insights can help you improve your business outcomes.


1: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-covid-19-and-medical-devices/medical-device-shortages-during-covid-19-public-health-emergency

© 2021 McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc.