We in supply chain management have been hearing the term “clinical integration” for years, but do we have a clear definition of what it means? We thought we would give you our take on it. We see the definition as “giving control of your healthcare organization’s supply chain expenses to the people who have the most influence over it – your clinicians.” This can be accomplished in many ways, such as, having clinicians as members of your value analysis teams, providing them with the tools to manage their own supply expenses, and giving them the evidence that they have anomalies in their supply spend. This way they can control their own destiny!
Clinical Integration: Clinicians Aren’t Averse To Cost Management
Much to our surprise, clinicians aren’t averse to cost management. This contention has been proven by the encounters with hundreds of clinicians we have worked with over the last 34 years. Once given the tools, training, and support, clinicians can and will effectively manage their own supply chain expenses better than you could ever imagine. In fact, one client that we worked with saved 11% to 23% in their nursing units without any handholding over a 12-month period. They even wrote a book about it published by Magnet!
Empower Your Clinicians With Intuitive Data
Right now, most clinicians are receiving in-depth data on their labor cost to manage this cost driver effectively, yet they are receiving little or nothing on their supply expenses, except for budget variances. If you have ever seen budget variance reports, they only tell part of the story. A clinician could be within their budget parameters, but still be spending way too much on their supplies. This can all change for the better if your supply chain department provides your clinicians with timely, intuitive, and actionable monthly supply expense historical, trending, and peer benchmarking reports.
As you know, very few clinical supplies and technologies are changed without the agreement of your clinicians. The reason for this is that any clinical change must be owned by these same individuals. With a Clinical Supply Integration System, you can put control back into the hands of your clinicians. Then, they will be more accommodating to changing their products, services, and technologies, if considered necessary, because it was their own decision to do so. It’s called accountability!
Supply Chain Can’t Carry All of The Workload
Supply chain has been doing a good job on price and standardization savings, but too often they are hitting the wall on removing all waste and inefficiencies from their healthcare organization’s supply streams. This is because clinicians push back with a vengeance if they are challenged in any way. Yet, it has been our experience that if clinicians see their supply expense data for themselves and realize that specific product, service, or technology costs are beyond acceptable limits, 97% of the time they take corrective action. Yes, it does take a little longer for the other three percent.
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