It’s been over a decade since we started proselytizing about Clinical Supply Utilization Management (CSUM), which we call the last bastion of supply chain savings. Since that time, we have developed or observed the following three best practices for Clinical Supply Utilization Management that can close the gap in your supply chain savings.
Best Practices for Clinical Supply Utilization Management
1. Triangulating Your CSUM Metrics: We learned many years ago that one metric, analytic, or measurement isn’t enough to make certain that an identified utilization misalignment savings was actionable for our clients. So, we created this technique that we call “triangulation” or having three or more metrics (i.e., historical, year-over-year, comparative cohort, etc.) to verify that our analysis and assumptions were correct. Without this safeguard, you can lose your credibility with your customers by recommending CSUM savings opportunities that can turn out to be dry holes.
2. Validating Your CSUM Savings: Too often, your Clinical Supply Utilization Management savings will go off track and you will need to have a midcourse correction. This is like a client of ours who thought they were taking advantage of the Davinci Robot extended life cycle use of reusable instruments. However, it turns out that their sterile processing department was not turning around the instruments fast enough and thus not taking advantage of the added 40% more use (and major savings of 18% to 30% overall). That’s why all of our clients validate their CSUM savings, at least quarterly, to ensure that they stick.
3. Empowering Your Clinical Staff To Make CSUM Savings: We have discovered that it’s much better to have your clinical staff make their own CSUM savings happen than try to persuade them to do so. This practice will only occur when you give your clinicians insight into their utilization misalignments based on their own data that they can’t ignore, dispute, or debate. This tactic works because everyone likes change that they control and make happen vs. being manipulated to do so.
Clinical Supply Utilization Management to Close the Savings Gap
We don’t know of one hospital, system, or IDN that isn’t looking for additional supply chain expense savings in today’s healthcare marketplace to close the gap (-3.3% average annual hospital shortfall in 2022) on their operational budgets. That’s why Clinical Supply Utilization Management is mission critical now that your healthcare organization’s standardization is substantially achieved, and your GPOs savings are meager at best.
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