The path to high reliability is one that involves multiple steps that ultimately lead an organization to its goals of being responsive, compliant, and efficient. But there’s one of the six high-reliability priorities that informs the others, making adoption and improvement obtainable.
Achieving high reliability is a process that involves broadening supply chain’s span of control across more spend categories to maximize spend-under management through:
- Greater Depth: Greater potential for savings across every category of spend, including nontraditional categories such as purchased services, minor equipment, and labor.
- Greater Breadth: Higher potential to capture spend across a quickly expanding continuum of care – including acute, nonacute, clinics, offices, and direct-to-patient care.
- Greater Sustainability: Ability to create sustainable supply chains through compliance with purchasing policies.
Shaping demand at the point of use allows health systems to drive higher contract utilization, it allows them to maximize savings associated with their committed contracts, and it supports sustainability objectives that are becoming essential components of the supply chain. By standardizing procurement practices across the full demand footprint, supply chains can gain tighter control of the formulary and direct the buying decision on thousands of purchasing decisions being made every day across the health system.
But how does a healthcare organization and its supply chain get to the point where these other high-reliability principles are possible?
The keystone of an organization’s digital transformation is its ability to ensure accuracy and compliance across the requisition lifecycle and this is dependent on having access to quality data.
The fourth tenet of the high-reliability healthcare organization is data integrity, which enables the supply chain to inform decisions, streamline data maintenance and eliminate errors.
Supply Chain as the Gatekeeper
The supply chain is the entry point for data flowing into and between internal and external stakeholders. Consequently, the supply chain acts as the gatekeeper to ensure the integrity and interoperability of item and price data across the ecosystem.
A lack of quality data is cited as a major obstacle for healthcare organizations due to the volume, velocity, and variability of item and price data. Inaccurate data can lead to off-contract purchases during the requisition process which, in turn, can lead to lower contract compliance rates, different prices being paid for the same item, and increased match exceptions, all of which erode the savings anticipated during the contract negotiation.
An inability to achieve accuracy or compliance during the requisition process can be due to anything from data being stored in disparate locations or not being representative of an organization’s preferred vendors to the fact that data changes frequently.
Harmonizing, transforming, and enriching data enables healthcare organizations to gain more control and shape demand for thousands of purchasing decisions. It requires integrated data workstreams between the source of truth – local contract or GPO contract – and downstream systems so that data governance and data maintenance workstreams receive and process data in near real time.
Automation does not translate to a lack of control. Conversely, automation enables value-added focus from core master data resources to continuously improve compliance and streamline data maintenance workstreams.
There are challenges to achieving this high-reliability priority. The lack of standards adoption in healthcare – such as item identifiers, item attributes, or data synchronization – is among them.
However, there are prescriptive actions that supply chains can take to achieve data integrity. One is to collaborate by engaging trading partners to be stewards of their own data – or, perhaps, even make it a contractual condition. Another is to adopt standards by creating a common language with trading partners and GPOs to ensure that data can be matched and attributed.
Lastly, operationalizing contracts is a means of enabling dynamic price synchronization across the procurement workstream. Operationalizing a contract – which mostly represents manufacturer-based attribution – makes it purchasable and linked to activity in the vendor purchase transaction [PO and Invoice]. Without master data management tools to do this, the bulk of the effort to achieve supply chain reliability is embedded into manual data maintenance work processes and manual price exception handling. Both of these add unnecessary cost to the purchase transaction.
How GHX Can Help
GHX connects external and internal data from a variety of industry sources – such as local contracts, GPO contracts, distributor data, manufacturer data and ERP data – and harmonizes it into a single golden record with attributes that inform the requisitioner at the point of consumption.
GHX automates the enrichment, harmonization, and transformation of a client’s data with metadata that resides in its Global Catalog of more than 14+ million items – which include GTIN, UNSPSC classification, HCPCS codes, item images, descriptions, recall notifications, and more. The harmonization of disparate data sources enables smoother transitions to cloud-based ERP solutions by ensuring accuracy and compliance.
The result is accurate product identification, documentation, and traceability, all of which improve patient outcomes and ensure that a healthcare organization is achieving the perfect order by obtaining the right product, from the right source, at the right price.