The Healthcare Hub

GHX Survey Finds Supply Chain/Clinical Integration Top Priority for 2020

Friday, October 18, 2019

In support of the Association for Health Care Resource & Materials Management’s (AHRMM) annual National Healthcare Supply Chain Week, GHX polled its Best 50 providers regarding their healthcare supply chain priorities for 2020. Survey results underscore the growing role of data derived from the supply chain as a key contributor in solving the cost, quality and outcomes equation in healthcare, as well as understanding and improving overall financial performance.

The clinically integrated supply chain

The shift to a value-based care model requires that the healthcare industry finally understand the true cost of delivering care, including the costs of products, which products deliver the best outcomes at the best price, and how to reduce clinical variation around what works best for the patient.

In order to do so, healthcare organizations must foster greater collaboration and data sharing among clinicians and supply chain professions. AHRMM defines the concept of a clinically integrated supply chain as follows:

Clinical integration in health care supply chain is an interdisciplinary approach to deliver patient care with the highest value (high quality, best outcomes and minimal waste at the lowest cost of care) that is achieved through assimilation and coordination of clinical and supply chain knowledge, data and leadership toward care across the continuum that is safe, timely, evidenced-based, efficient, equitable and patient focused.

The survey found Best 50 providers are not only pushing for greater levels of automation and standardization within supply chain processes, but also for ways to drive integration with clinical processes. Key initiatives include:

  • System integration: The integration of supply chain and clinical systems will become increasingly critical to reduce variation in costs and quality and accelerate the necessary adjustments to improve outcomes. To account for the products used during a care episode, prepare for recalls and capture a greater percentage of case charges, healthcare must ensure the systems supporting every aspect of care are connected and able to share timely and accurate data. For example, Stanford Health Care has created tighter integration between its supply chain and clinical systems, which allows supply chain professionals and physicians to collaborate on standardization and cost reduction initiatives.
  • Data standardization: Standardized supply chain data allows all stakeholders to understand the relationship between the cost to deliver care and the outcomes achieved. Standardization enables supplier and provider organizations to take a more strategic and informed approach to a broad range of clinical and financial systems, including EHRs, patient billing, recall tracking, value analysis activities and comparative effectiveness research. For example, GHX Best 50 provider Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System (FMOLHS) is using standardized and enriched supply chain data to better understand the cost of providing patient care and how variation affects both cost and quality.

In order for healthcare organizations to make value-based decisions, they must understand how the products used in patient care impact clinical and financial outcomes. The integration of clinical and supply chain processes, systems and data, and the standardization of this data across these functions, will enable them to uncover the true cost of care. Based on this knowledge, clinicians and supply chain professionals can work together to drive improved cost, quality and outcomes for their organizations and their patients.