GHX participates in and attends many healthcare industry conferences each year in addition to hosting the annual Healthcare Supply Chain Summit. In the course of attending these conferences, we typically see common themes that run from event to event. It would come as no surprise that the current environment finds healthcare providers continuing to look for opportunities where costs can be reduced and programs can be operationalized while still contributing to the quality of patient care.
From the recent Fall 2016 IDN Summit, it is apparent that healthcare systems aggressively going after these goals indicate that momentum is being found through consolidation and collaboration.
Purchased services presents ideal opportunities for consolidation – reducing costs – with the right information at hand.
Purchased services is getting more attention and with good reason – purchased services account for nearly 41 percent of annual non-labor spend. Making up such a large percentage of spend means that incremental improvements can have a significant impact on reducing costs.
Providers are looking for areas where consolidation of service providers can bring cost reductions and they are using data to uncover opportunities for saving. This does require gathering and analyzing large amounts of data, and even more so when multiple facilities are considered. In order to maintain savings the data requires ongoing monitoring but the benefits add up with increased visibility and the ability to better manage your resources.
Unanticipated benefits come from new collaborative efforts.
At the most recent IDN Summit, Christus Health shared its journey on an intentional path of collaboration with key suppliers. In 2013 Christus Health chartered the Partner Advisory Council (PAC) with the goal for this initiative being to “bring thought leaders willing to co-labor together for the betterment of their peers and advancement of Christus’ mission and values through innovative and collaborative solutions”. One of the truly unique aspects of the PAC is the Vendor Balance Scorecard which objectively measures a supplier’s criticality to operations, product/service performance and customer satisfaction. Beyond that, the value generated from this charge has resulted in vendors becoming business partners that collaborate and deliver innovative solutions for Christus.
Collaboration is not just relegated to the provider/supplier relationship but also within organizations – supply chain professionals and clinicians. Proactive development of programs to connect clinicians and to encourage discussion with supply chain professionals in order to make more informed decisions is gaining momentum. In fact, Bruce Johnson, President and CEO of GHX, wrote about the integrated supply chain early in 2016. Collaborating and establishing partnerships allows both sides to leverage core competencies and provide wins for all stakeholders in areas such as data standards, credentialing, pharmaceutical shortages and more.
The events and conferences are mostly behind us as 2016 quickly comes to a close but the positive impact from new partnerships and improved management of purchased services are still gaining ground. Both consolidation and collaboration play a significant role in contributing to better patient care and the ultimate goal of improved outcomes.