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The importance of clinician engagement and the right technology to achieve a value-based supply chain

November 21, 2017
Cory Turner

In my previous blog, I wrote about how the value of supply chain can support quality patient care as healthcare moves toward value-based reimbursements. When I partnered with HIT Leaders and News on an article, I wanted to dig deeper into how efficiency and adoption of new technologies can lead to cost savings and other benefits of healthcare’s second largest expense: supplies. There are two specific steps that need to be taken to achieve value-based care through the supply chain. First, you need to make sure to adopt the right technology to help optimize the supply chain. Second, supply chain professionals need to partner with clinicians to analyze data to choose the most cost-effective supplies and prevent hoarding—all to help control costs.

A good starting point is to ask yourself if you have adopted the right technology to intelligently maintain inventory in stockrooms and pharmacies. For example, Infor Inventory Intelligence can provide data on whether supplies were delivered in the right quantities to the right location. Healthcare leaders need to take the time to understand the data being generated so everyone has the confidence to make recommendations on supplies. Having the right system in place can help to optimize inventory systems, improve product recall audits, deliver a cost-effective pharmacy, and engage clinicians.

Why is it important to partner with clinicians? A great example is offered by our customer, Greenville Health System. They achieved significant ROI in a short amount of time because of the close partnership between supply chain and clinical departments—and the wholesale support from the Greenville Health CEO, who had a unique supply chain background. But this example clearly underscores the importance of having the entire organization on the same page about the hidden costs of an inefficient supply chain. In many cases, healthcare organizations will cut either labor or expenses tied to supplies to save costs. We want to avoid cutting labor because that could also sacrifice the ability to offer excellent patient care. Driving clinician engagement provides more supply chain value by giving insight, transparency, and analysis to monitor costs, readmissions, and care quality. Physicians want to have a voice into how supplies are managed, and offering them open communications lines can help spot discrepancies in costs of supplies being used for procedures. This offers insight into how clinical outcomes can sometimes be just as good—if not better—when clinical staff agrees to use a lower-cost product for certain procedures. Giving clinicians awareness into supply chain data lends credibility to decisions regarding which supplies are ordered, and helps keep them focused on their job instead of supply management to improve patient care, and ultimately improve value-based reimbursements.

The knowledge from clinicians combined with the right data from supply chain professionals can result in the adoption of lower-cost items while maintaining the best care outcomes. Efficiency levels also stand to increase with the adoption of new supply chain technologies, allowing hospitals to be proactive in their decision-making to achieve a value-based supply chain.

What is your organization doing to cut down waste and move from volume to value? Visit our website to learn more.

- Cory Turner, Supply Chain Strategy Director, Healthcare

  • Healthcare
  • EMEA
  • North America
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