Forty percent of all surgical staff and hospital supply chain decision-makers say their hospital has cancelled a surgical case due to missing supplies, and more critically, 27 percent knew of a patient being harmed due to supply chain problems.
That’s according to Cardinal Health’s hospital supply chain survey, which gives a comprehensive view into the operating room supply chain, and shows that for many health systems, new supply chain management systems and analytics are desperately needed. In fact, 92 percent saw the need for an inventory management system designed for the specific volume and nature of supplies in the OR.
In addition, OR expenses make up 40–60 percent of total hospital supply costs, and the inventory for an average 15-room OR includes an estimated 3,000–4,000 products in multiple locations. These supplies must flow through varied processes, and some might have specific requirements for tracking, documentation and compliance.
These numbers are too big to ignore. There’s a critical need for data-driven insights and a suggested course of action that aligns the supply chain with clinical teams.
Aligning people, process, and then technology
The sheer scale, complexity, and unique requirements of the OR call for a supply chain solution developed specifically for the OR, which considers aspects of people, process, and technology.
Technology adoption in healthcare has never been greater as hospitals adhere to meaningful use criteria to make data more transparent in supporting patient care initiatives. But technology alone is not enough. Positioning for long-term operational success requires a strategic approach to change management that includes the three aspects identified above: people, process, and technology. Supply chain teams that adequately align people and process before layering in technology are more likely to succeed.
While approaches to supply chain solutions differ greatly by hospital, appropriate members from supply chain, information technology, clinical leadership and other stakeholders should first collaborate to identify inventory management challenges and how to solve those problems. This will help them better understand the value of a technology solution and the change management process becomes easier.
Lean thinking and collaboration can help with mapping new workflows and laying out a labor plan in a manner that helps people envision the future state. When people accept the change and process to get there are feasible and necessary, they start to believe change is possible. From there, stakeholders need to ensure supportive workflows are in place; otherwise, an organization is simply automating its chaos and not taking into account all the workflow issues that need to be resolved first.
When there’s organization-wide alignment around the vision and strategy for improved inventory management, a health system can effectively implement a solution and facilitate higher quality, cost-effective care. An example of a solution is the Cardinal Health WaveMark Supply Management & Workflow Solutions’ automated supply chain technology that ensures resources are in the right place and available when needed.
Addressing the critical need of the OR
WaveMark worked closely with hospital providers to design a supply chain automation solution that brings diverse data and workflows together seamlessly to save time, cut costs, and provide “peace of mind” for clinical staff and supply chain administrators.
The solution is a single, health system-wide platform that allows hospitals to streamline their OR processes and improve efficiency through real-time inventory visibility and prescriptive analytics. With up-to-the-minute insights and wrap-around logistics, hospital operations teams can rise to the level of excellence needed to support and advance their cost position and clinical ambitions.
Key features of the solution include:
- A single platform. A single, intuitive dashboard provides alerts for things that need immediate attention (short-dated, slow-moving, recalled or missing items), while the analytics suite pulls together multiple streams of supply data and case cost information to ensure complete visibility, from receipt to usage to order.
- Prescriptive analytics. Prescriptive analytics not only predict future needs, but provide a course of action to manage supply-related challenges proactively.
- Interoperability. The solution’s interface ensures interoperability with existing hospital systems, including Materials Management System, Electronic Medical Records, and Clinical Information Systems). It leverages easy-to-use data collection technologies and processes, such as handheld smart wands, RFID smart cabinets, point-of-use stations, barcode systems, and Kanban.
- Improved visibility. Improved visibility means clinicians always have the right product in the right place at the right time to avoid expired or recalled supplies reaching the patient. Seamless interoperability between previously siloed systems provides a more accurate picture of delivered care cost, giving hospitals the necessary insights to forecast needs and identify savings opportunities.
- Flexible reporting. Flexible reports show the impact of supplies on operations, including cost-per-encounter, physician level utilization, expired, missing or recalled products, and usage (charge capture).
- Scalability. The solution is designed to be highly flexible and scalable to allow for a phased deployment while supporting teams through change management.
- Change management. An experienced operations team works closely with customers to understand their unique challenges through on-site evaluation and assessments. They recommend the right solution mix (process, technology, labor augmentation), implement the solution, identify ongoing opportunities for savings through a dedicated account management team, and provide necessary support.
This solution allows hospitals to adopt a comprehensive and integrated approach that aligns operational and financial planning, drives better adoption of the solution, and leverages analytics for informed decisions that are focused on supporting the hospital’s broader strategic objectives.