“You need at least one person—if you have more it's even better—that has a slightly unhealthy degree of stubbornness.” Robert Hatkins, Director, Procurement and Dock Services, Stanford Health Care
Resistance to change is a common problem faced by health systems when proposing initiatives that will impact how individuals and teams perform their jobs. It is human nature to fear the unknown, even if change has the potential to makes things easier for those involved.
Supply chain leaders at Froedtert Health, Mount Sinai Health System and Stanford Health Care all had to navigate through change management during the process of automating implant orders with suppliers.
They faced skepticism from internal stakeholders, including their supply chain and operating room (OR) room teams, who were used to handling implant orders manually. They also experienced push back from implant suppliers and their representatives who have traditionally played a central role in the implant order process.
During the 2022 GHX Summit Automating Bill-Only Implant Orders panel presentation, they shared these challenges and steps taken to overcome them.
Internal change management
“You need at least one person—if you have more it's even better—that has a slightly unhealthy degree of stubbornness,” said panelist Robert Hatkins, Director, Procurement and Dock Services, Stanford Health Care, which is the first health system to have automated all its implant orders through the GHX Exchange.
Panelist Jack Koczela, Director of Supply Chain Services, Froedtert Health, described how successful change management requires unwavering commitment from those leading the initiative, stating:
“You better believe that this is the right thing to do down to your toenails because every Tom, Dick and Harry is going to say it can't be done or it shouldn't be done, or, oh my gosh, the orders aren't going to get there in time. It might not be you but find somebody who believes to their core that this is the right thing to do for your patients and for your organization and then go out to the rest of these groups – from surgical services and accounts payable to the vendors—and find like-minded change leaders there.”
At Froedtert Health, supply chain was the driver behind “telling people what was possible,” said Koczela. Once the OR team saw the possible benefits of implant order automation, including improved workflow efficiency and better visibility to the implant data in their systems, they, in Koczela’s words, “started to pull the project along.”
Supplier change management
“I'll give a quote that I heard more times than I care to admit, which is, ‘we've always done it this way.’ I mean, that's usually the biggest argument they have against it,” said Hatkins, referring to the challenges his health system faced when engaging suppliers in their implant order automation initiative.
As suppliers realized automation would help them get paid faster compared with manual order processing, more and more got on board with the change, as Hatkins explained:
“We demonstrated that we're committed to this not just as individual people in supply chain, but as an organization and that we are looking to control payments so we can pay you faster and we just need to make sure we get it right. Once we had some momentum, then we could say, ‘It’s working for all these companies, why can’t it work for your company?’”
Froedtert Health, Mount Sinai Health System and Stanford Health Care all engage suppliers and their reps in training sessions on implant order automation to align on operating procedures, requirements and goals.
“The training aspect of this is huge in getting the reps on board,” said panelist Franco Sagliocca, Corporate Director, Supply Chain, Mount Sinai Health System. “Once they are on board, start working with you and see how easy it actually is—how easily they have their PO number and they're able to get paid—it's a win-win across the board.”
Koczela stressed the importance of testing automated implant orders with suppliers to demonstrate the ease of implementation to both suppliers and internal stakeholders, stating:
“There were a lot of proofs-of-concept that we would do with each vendor just to show what it would look like, and once people saw it, they were a lot more comfortable,” said Koczela. “We would send over one order and everyone would look at it, see that it was good and then very quickly we would watch it roll out to all the other hospitals as word spread that we could do it.”
“We’ve found they (sales reps) have accepted it and they actually want to do more,” said Sagliocca. “They kind of took a step back initially, being a little hesitant, but it worked, and they got paid”.
If you missed the 2022 GHX Summit Automating Bill-Only Implant Orders panel, featuring Koczela, along with supply chain leaders from Mount Sinai Health System and Stanford Health Care, you can access the recording On-Demand.Register