Supply chain successes are translating into improved patient care, demonstrating the strategic value of today’s healthcare materials management teams
— Monday, October 5, 2015
The modern, technology-based supply chain has evolved from a back-end, transactional function to a means to not only strip waste and costs out of healthcare, but increasingly to help create better clinical outcomes. In tandem with the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management’s (AHRMM) annual “National Healthcare Supply Chain Week,” Oct. 4-10, 2015, Global Healthcare Exchange, LLC (GHX) identified the top five ways in which its customers are leveraging their supply chains to markedly improve patient care.
"We have always defined the true value of the healthcare supply chain as enabling collaboration between providers and suppliers to put the right product, at the right price, at the right time in the hands of our caregivers to deliver real patient value," said Tina Vatanka Murphy, senior vice president Global Products and Corporate Development, GHX. "Over the past year, many of our customers have embarked on revolutionary supply chain projects that are directly benefiting patients. From leveraging data in new and exciting ways and creating clinical/supply chain partnerships, to exploring personalized medicine and extending the supply chain beyond the hospital’s four walls, we are seeing the healthcare supply chain become a pivotal strategic tool in today’s healthcare landscape. We congratulate AHRMM for putting the spotlight on the value of the supply chain in improving cost, quality and outcomes as exemplified by its CQO Movement."
Here are the top five ways GHX customers are tapping the supply chain to improve patient outcomes on a daily basis:
- Analyzing and Leveraging Outcomes Data: Many GHX customers have realized the full potential of supply chain data by analyzing and acting on outcomes data. Rather than analyzing data to merely determine the best price, provider organizations are evaluating data to identify the products and practices that can provide the best patient outcomes. Instead of the healthcare supply chain being all about the dollars and cents, today it is instrumental in making better patient-care decisions – ones that lead to the best possible outcomes.
- Establishing Clinical-Supply Chain Teams: Supply chain and clinician teams have traditionally had little interaction. With the value of the healthcare supply chain increasingly coming to light, clinicians and supply chain professionals are collaborating like never before. Several GHX customers have created supply chain/clinician teams that meet regularly to share ideas, discuss products, determine what’s working/what’s not and to set ambitious, patient-focused goals. One large Midwestern hospital system has even had its clinician/supply chain team work together to successfully keep the number of central-line infections – one of the biggest causes of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) – at zero.
- Extending the Healthcare Supply Chain Outside of the Hospital: For many patients, “care” doesn’t stop when they leave the hospital. It continues with homecare, at rehab and physical therapy facilities or nursing homes. To ensure consistency of care, some GHX provider customers are partnering with other healthcare agencies to go wherever the patient goes. With the goal of improved care and reduced readmission rates, the healthcare supply chain is readily expanding to be wherever the patient is physically located.
- Experimenting with Predictive Analytics: A growing number of GHX customers are leveraging their wealth of supply chain data not only to make better decisions, but also to incorporate a level of prediction to the supply chain. To be fluid and timely in getting products to clinicians, supply chain teams are leveraging data to better anticipate what will be needed and to create contingency plans if a product is discontinued or unavailable. This predictive component also frees up time for doctors and nurses to spend on patient care.
- Adapting to Personalized Medicine: While still in the very early stages, a few GHX customers are adapting their supply chains around the concept of “personalized medicine.” Considering new manufacturing and buying processes to take advantage of technologies like 3D printers, these providers are on the forefront of this emerging trend. For instance, one hospital has experimented with adapting its supply chain to support the use of 3D printing for jaw reconstruction – one of the first projects of its kind in the industry.
Global Healthcare Exchange, LLC (GHX) drives costs out of healthcare with cloud-based supply chain management technology and services in order to help enable better patient care and savings by maximizing automation, efficiency, and accuracy of business processes. GHX offers healthcare providers and suppliers an open and neutral electronic trading exchange that delivers procurement and accounts payable automation, contract and inventory management, vendor credentialing and management, business intelligence, and other supply chain-related tools and services. For more information, visit www.ghx.comand The Healthcare Hub.