Optimizing Patient Care and Reducing Variability Through Supply Standardization


Tue Mar 29 13:00:24 CDT 2016

Standardization has become a key priority in the healthcare industry, as the need to reduce variance and increase the predictability of patient care within health systems continues to grow. The goal of the healthcare industry is no longer solely focused on reducing costs - but rather on value, defined as the intersection of the best outcomes for the patient with the lowest possible cost.


Part of what is driving this are the changes in payment structures from volume-based to value-based reimbursement models. These changes are causing health systems to rethink their operations processes. An intense focus on data, analytics, clearly-defined metrics and standardization of processes within health systems is essential to remain competitive.  

In particular, standardization of surgical instrumentation has become a key priority. As we discussed in a recent post, the rise of surgical expenses combined with the reduction in reimbursement has put downward pressure on hospital profit margins. Given that surgical services traditionally have driven profitability in health systems, this is a new challenge for providers who not only have to streamline processes and resources, but also select a supplier who aligns with their goals.  What used to be a relationship based on sales transactions, is now evolving into a partnership. Suppliers who can work with health systems to implement programs that drive consistency in care delivery are becoming increasingly more valuable as partners.   


A recent report published by General Surgery News discusses the outcomes of a partnership between a health system and supplier (Covidien/Medtronic) as they worked together to standardize across two surgical instrument lines. This resulted in a more efficient use of resources, further decreased the need for costly excess inventory and aligned with the health system’s goals to standardize care through consistent instrumentation. 


Read the full report