In this time of changing reimbursements, many medical groups are looking toward improvements in workflows to maintain or improve bottom line. One area where many groups have been able to uncover significant cost savings is supply chain management.
At the core of supply chain management is the procurement process. In its most basic form, the procurement process provides a means to purchase equipment and supplies needed in a hospital, practice or clinic. In its more advanced forms, this process provides for significant cost savings and controls through effective contract negotiations with GPOs and distributors, active management of inventory levels, and process efficiencies gained through technology-based process improvements.
An example of the potential savings to be achieved is a recent engagement undertaken by Culbert’s Revenue Cycle Team. In this engagement, Culbert was asked to (1) evaluate current supply chain workflows, (2) evaluate the current technology in use, and (3) identify areas of potential savings. The initial assessment identified significant workflow breakdowns that were resulting in the loss of potential volume discounts as well as lower TIER pricing. At the client’s request, Culbert prepared and issued an RFP to three major GPO’s/Distributors in order to determine a better, more cost effective solution. Once the responses were received, Culbert successfully negotiated on behalf of the client – gaining access to new contracts estimated to achieve a 20% savings over historical spend rates. To date, performance continues to meet or exceed initial estimates.
Another finding of the assessment was that the current technology was antiquated. Missing were many technology improvements designed to improve overall process efficiency (ie. No ability to punch-out to vendor sites). Culbert identified the product of choice, negotiated contract terms, and led system/workflow design sessions on behalf of the client.