“There must always be more to a clinical supply utilization initiative than just the bottom line.”
There is no doubt that there are major savings opportunities in the over 750-major categories of supply purchases that you can look after in your supply and value analysis initiatives to effect up to 7% to 15% in new savings. These are new low-hanging fruit opportunities that, in most cases, have been left untouched because the focus has been on price and quality of products versus the actual in-use overall cost. This is great news, but the challenge is selling the change and gaining the investigative support you will need from your clinicians to find the right solution to gain this next level of savings on every category and/or groups of products you work on.
There have to be other reasons why clinical supply utilization is important for our end customers and clinicians, otherwise they may not want to engage in initiatives that they may think are “cheapening” the quality of the everyday products they use. This cannot be further from the truth which is why we highlighted three of the main areas that clinical supply utilization can help you beyond savings.
Why Clinical Supply Utilization Management is More than Just Saving
1. Quality Control – It is important to know if you are using too many products or not enough. For example, you could be over consuming wound care dressings. The new advanced wound dressings are more expensive, yet they remain on the patient longer. They should have an overall lower life cycle cost with better results. But if your nurses are changing out the dressings too soon, you may not be getting the full life cycle and clinical benefits of these advanced dressings. This could also affect their productivity by changing dressings too often when they don’t have to. Wouldn’t you want to know about this?
Also, if you are not using enough wound care dressings you may want to take a look and find out why, as you may have other issues going on that you were not aware of. I believe if you polled your department heads and managers and asked them if they would rather know or not know if they were over-consuming a particular category of products, you would find they would rather know.
2. Compliance Monitoring – Being so busy in the contracting areas of your strategic sourcing in Supply Chain is a daunting challenge every day of the year. Once a new contract with savings tied to it is implemented, Supply Chain is off to the next contract. You estimate your savings moving forward and then hope that it happens. With clinical supply utilization, you can know exactly how much savings you achieve with little or no work at all. About 45% to 55% of the time there are no major outliers, but the possibility of more than 40% of the contracts you implement are driving costs higher because the change suddenly creates another effect like waste and inefficient use. Why not make sure you are getting all the gains your Supply Chain department has already put into place?
3. Evidence – Value analysis teams and the departments in the hospital need evidence that any change they make is going to be worth it, whether that evidence be concerning the quality of products or the consumption levels of their department compared to others in the organization. No matter what you are referring to, clinicians want proof that any change, including price changes, value analysis, or GPO conversions, is worth its weight in gold. Clinical supply utilization gives valuable key performance indicators/benchmarks at many levels that give insights into the everyday consumption of products and can help you predict changes at every level of your hospital.
Clinical Supply Utilization Management is Proof
As I mentioned above, clinicians want proof, you want proof, and your supply chain team wants drill-down proof of what would be deemed a savings opportunity, but you also need proof that there is more to the initiative than just saving money. There must always be more to a clinical supply utilization initiative than just the bottom line.
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