Supply Utilization Management (SUM) – Part 2: What it Takes to Achieve Improvement

Peter Cayan

By Peter Cayan, Vice President, and Tracey Chadwell, Senior Director, Advisory Solutions

In part one of our supply utilization management discussion, we began by defining the concept of supply utilization management and explained how so many aspects beyond initial price affect your true cost. In this post, we’ll review how you can build a culture to achieve sustained improvement in support of the quadruple aim of improving patient outcomes, improving patient experience, improving care team experience and lowering the overall cost of care.

An Intalere member at a regional medical center in the western U.S. uses an analogy to explain how to achieve “improvement” to his staff by using the sport of throwing darts. This sport requires practice and dedication, and the more you focus on throwing at the bullseye, the tighter the group will be over time. You might not ever get all the darts in the little red dot, but it will be pretty close.

This, generally, is the goal of any process improvement program – get everyone in the organization to throw those darts (products and services) as close to the bullseye as possible. Hence, maximizing the pursuit of “the aim.”

Utilization management is your bullseye and theoretically your darts could represent any of the products and services that exist within the organization. The end-state goal should define what it is the team wants to achieve. If the team is not involved in formulating the target plan, and goal, buy-in will be hard to achieve.

A key element of getting to “yes” here is the critical requirement of having a defined, transparent and measurable decision-making process. Without this key fundamental team process, all bets are off for hitting the bullseye. It takes the whole organization to make this happen. You want to stack the opportunities and build a standard for identifying prospective wins and tracking progress throughout the organization.

You must develop a function-oriented, systematic team approach for providing, designing or investigating the right functions (primary, secondary and aesthetic) for the products, services and technologies that are required to operate a healthcare organization. Your process should be one which:

  • Takes product/service/technology evaluation and management of supply expense from subjective to objective.
  • Uses a formal, customized and collaborative process.
  • Is data driven (related to clinical efficacy, safety, quality).
  • Is supported by clinical documentation and an evidence-based approach.
  • Determines true requirements/function/purpose.
  • Benchmarks against best practice.
  • Promotes the standardization of products that are clinically efficacious and provide the highest quality care, customer satisfaction and safety to patients in the most cost-effective manner.

Ultimately this builds a long-range planning process that identifies gaps in supply strategies and is successful in creating new behaviors that allow for adaptation, evolving policies and procedures that tackle hurdles threatening success and ultimately yield savings that are real and achievable.

We Can Help. Intalere helps you better understand the strategic nature of supply chain and provides resources that can assist in bringing efficiency and savings to every area of your supply chain. Reach out to see how we can help. Contact Customer Service at 877-711-5600 or customerservice@intalere.com or your Intalere representative.

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