Home' The Source : Quarter 1 Contents design more efficient patient care pathways that reduce
delays and unneeded waiting.
An efficient care episode has the quadruple benefits of
increasing quality, reducing likelihood of harm, bettering
throughput and efficiency, and enhancing patient satisfac-
tion. It’s important to build a strong IT infrastructure to
empower a well-designed care pathway, and coding and
charge capture must be dialed in to support the process.
Beyond Arbitrage: The Collaboration Imperative
The bulk of supply chain managers’ work is concerned
with what can be fairly characterized as arbitrage:
exploiting market inefficiency to acquire a commodity
at a price advantage. This function will never cease, and
HealthTrust members are experts at utilizing contracts,
negotiating and achieving savings goals.
However, the providers’ work list in the new normal requires
even more. Because it’s difficult to chart the progress and savings
that result from large projects, it’s important to achieve some quick
wins throughout the process. Supply chain managers can make these
wins happen with tools and processes that rationalize incremental
improvements and sustain improvement.
For example, value analysis can be focused on processes as well
as devices, so that the results of process change can be more read-
ily quantifiable. Similarly, benchmarking and spend analysis tied
to clinical and operational processes can be expanded to include
next-link labor and utilization factors.
By using best practice tools familiar to supply chain managers,
the focus of process improvement—the patient and the quality of
the care episode—can be more clearly rationalized. The tools and
techniques used to achieve pricing-related value can be repurposed
to achieve broader quality-related value.
For supply chain leaders to deliver value to an organization, they
need to increase their collaborative effectiveness with colleagues
on an integrated care team, which includes clinical and administra-
tive department heads, physicians, other supply chain stakeholders
and even suppliers.
The pending changes confronting providers in 2013 increase
both the influence of supply chain leaders and the need for them to
cultivate a more collaborative atmosphere. Over the next 24 to 36
months, providers are confronted with three consequential changes:
1As the Sustainable Growth Rate Physician Pay-Fix is reached
and implemented, additional fee cuts will be implemented.
Congress must reduce the deficit and map the course of
health-care reform on a renewed footing. One of the biggest areas
of reform not yet implemented is the now nearly $400 billion cost
of the physician fee schedule adjustment. Adjusting physicians’
fees is unpopular and risky. Therefore, it’s likely that additional fee
schedule offsets that affect devices, drugs and inpatient/outpatient
fees will be proposed and implemented. Providers will need to be
ready to digest additional fee reductions, some of which are yet to
2Mergers and consolidations in the provider and supplier
domains will continue.
Many facilities are severely challenged in the current environ-
ment. Some are failing to reduce costs and improve quality enough
to avoid reimbursement cuts from value-based purchasing and
episode-based payment schemes. Many of these facilities are likely
to attempt mergers, increasing the likelihood that the landscape for
providers will remain intensely competitive. Similarly, suppliers are
seeking to gain scale by acquiring rivals to consolidate markets. A
concentration of power or scale in any market increases risks for
participants, as alternatives and substitutes dwindle.
3The transition toward consumerism in health care will
The acceleration of consumerism is perhaps the most influ-
ential change affecting health care in the near future. Engaged
patients, empowered by mandated insurance coverage, will continue
to reshape the provider landscape. They’ll focus activity on building
brands and enhancing patient experiences.
The path forward might be clearer in 2013, but certainly no easier.
More than ever before, supply chain managers need to collaborate
and elevate their influence. •
[ SourceBook ]
For supply chain leaders to deliver
value, they need to increase their
collaborative effectiveness with an
organization’s integrated care team.
continued from page 8
12 The Source | First Quarter 2013
1/23/13 9:23 AM
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