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GPOs – Valued Partners in Healthcare
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The healthcare group purchasing organization (GPO) members of HSCA work closely with their provider partners across the continuum of care to reduce cost, add value, and improve outcomes for patients. Below you'll find some narratives that help to demonstrate why GPOs are valued partners in healthcare.


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Top tags: Cost  Intalere  Savings  Vizient  Arizona  Premier  Safety/Quality  MedAssets  Pennsylvania  Texas  Arkansas  TPC  Washington  GNYHA  Illinois  Indiana  Innovation  Missouri  Nebraska  Nevada  New England  New York  Ohio  Pharmacy  Texas Purchasing Coalition  Transparency  Virginia 

TPC Members Realize Huge Savings in Anatomic Pathology Lab Testing Services

Posted By HSCA, Tuesday, November 28, 2017

To meet the challenges of today’s healthcare system, lab executives and administrators are rethinking their business strategies. As the era of fee-for-service from government and private payers is replaced by value-based reimbursement, how will clinical laboratories and pathology groups be paid? As integrated care organizations, such as ACOs and medical homes, enter the healthcare market, which lab testing services will deliver the most value to these new users? And will payers issue coverage guidelines and set adequate prices for the flood of new molecular assays and gene tests coming to market? These complexities have already driven a handful of medical laboratories and pathology practices to bankruptcy, sale, or closure. Innovative lab business and service models, such as those at TPC, are emerging to address these concerns.

At TPC, our Anatomic Pathology (AP) Reference Lab Services address testing that includes Flow, Fish, IHC, Genetic, Histo, Cyto, and Consult, as well as many others. Our unique collaborative model allows us to deliver compelling financial and non-financial results to our Members that they could not achieve on their own. 

The AP lab initiative began in late 2014, led by TPC’s Lab Clinical Value Analysis Team (CVAT). The team consisted of lab directors from each Member facility, in coordination with Member pathologists and the TPC Supply Chain Council. 

When the process began, the membership’s contracts were spread across ten different suppliers. Together, TPC Members recognized an opportunity to standardize their AP reference testing needs. As this area of testing is extremely clinical and vitally important, TPC Members felt it necessary to dual source this category. Nevertheless, the opportunity to standardize to just two suppliers would achieve huge savings for all TPC Members, while still providing them the flexibility of choice in their primary and secondary sources. TPC assembled pathologists from each Member to review and evaluate the suppliers that would participate in the Request for Proposal (RFP) – taking into consideration each supplier’s test menu and service capabilities.

At the end of the review process, two suppliers were selected, and the results were impressive. The category spend for nine TPC Member organizations was over $3 million. By leveraging their combined purchasing power, these Members realized an immediate savings of $529,000, with the potential for more savings in the future. In addition to the financial benefit, the program also afforded a turnaround guarantee with penalty, third party billing, firm pricing for the term of the agreement, web portal tool and services, and educational training.

Through our unique collaborative model, TPC is able to achieve results that our Members could not achieve on their own.  We maintain strong partnerships to manage expenditures and focus on building innovative solutions to improve healthcare purchasing, ultimately driving down the cost of healthcare for patients. TPC provides the framework for independent, community-based hospitals to achieve system value through standardization, utilization, and pricing strategies that optimize operational, financial, and clinical performance.

Stronger Together. Superior Results.

Tags:  Cost  Savings  TPC 

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Intalere Member Summit Pacific Medical Center Gets Strategic About Supply Chain, Bringing Big Savings and Process Improvements

Posted By HSCA, Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Summit Pacific Medical Center (SPMC) in northwest Washington, like many
other critical access hospitals, is continually faced with challenges including
keeping supply costs down, competitively negotiating with local vendors when
access and availability are limited, and creatively collaborating with strategic
partners to help achieve a better bottom line. Growing and moving from a
small 10,000 sq. ft. facility, to a newly constructed 45,000 sq. ft. building, SPMC
realized they needed an entirely new approach to supply chain and the process
in which they engaged with vendors. “We were still functioning with outdated
purchasing methods with department managers essentially making decisions
in silos for product changes, capital equipment and services contracts,” said
Carrie Wetzel, purchasing manager, SPMC. “This approach left little room for
further negotiations or to ensure Intalere’s group purchasing organization
(GPO) contracts were utilized. We needed to make sure we maximized that
partnership, in addition to engaging staff and working with our rural hospital


The SPMC team realized they needed to change the purchasing culture
throughout the organization. Tactically, this meant things like centralized
purchasing, implementing just-in-time (JIT) inventory management and
empowering managers to work directly with Intalere field experts, as well as
networking with their rural hospital colleagues. To ensure this was not only
achievable, but also supported at the leadership level, they included the work
required to improve purchasing workflows and methodology into their annual
strategic plan. This helped to ensure buy-in and support from the board and
leadership level all the way through to front-line staff. In all, there were
22 tactical measures surrounding purchasing processes and collaboration
added to the plan.

The objectives were strategically vetted by SPMC’s management team and

• Implementation of an inventory/stocking plan.
• Training for all management staff on Intalere services and solutions.
• Utilization of your Intalere contract management resources.
• Implementation of an electronic ordering system.
• Completion of quarterly formulary reviews with department managers.
• Creation of a purchasing manager group for the Washington Rural
Health Collaborative (WRHC), a network of 13 critical access hospitals,
predominantly serving the rural areas of Washington State.


“Utilization of strategic planning software gave us the tools to add specific
measurable tactics, along with timelines, to ensure we could achieve each
objective chosen,” said Wetzel. “Another vital resource was the support team from
Intalere that took an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to the goals we set to achieve
during the year. From IT support, to on-site education and meetings, their support
was a vital and necessary component for us to succeed.”


SPMC’s internal processes changed to include centralized purchasing workflows,
Intalere contract utilization and review as a required step, and quarterly Intalere
on-site meetings with department managers.

“A savings worksheet was created to help us track the savings our management
team was able to achieve by using the tools and workflows resulting from this
change,” said Wetzel. The worksheet highlighted significant annual savings of:

• 49 percent in facility service contracts.
• 38 percent in lab reagent agreements.
• 12 percent in lab equipment purchases.
• 10-15 percent on IT purchases (through utilization of an Intalere contracted
vendor for IT smallwares and licensing).

In addition, implementing the JIT stocking plan at three offsite clinics allowed
for the reallocation of several thousand dollars in supplies to other areas of the
hospital. “Our process improvements have had amazing effects throughout the
organization, providing much needed efficiencies, and staff availability of supplies
for patient care in a systematic and trusted way,” said Wetzel. “Due to our strategic
plan incorporation. We have a great platform to share these successes with the
community we serve in our ongoing efforts to provide cost effective, quality

The purchasing managers group of the Washington Rural Health Collaborative
(WRHC) also presented an excellent opportunity to work together to create
solutions surrounding GPO involvement, as well as a platform for presenting
joint contracting opportunities to the WRHC board. Recognizing several Intalere
partners and a fairly high percentage of vendor matches among the collaborative
members, the purchasing managers group reached out to Intalere to explore the
option of creating an Intalere purchasing umbrella within the collaborative for
the members to aggregate volume. Intalere memberships for the WRHC and the
seven participating facilities were established. The WRHC group’s first joint savings
roadmap was subsequently completed, highlighting 52 percent annualized savings

Intalere’s flexibility and willingness to work on developing tailored solutions was
also instrumental to this part of the process as well. “Without their assistance and
access to industry experts we would have not been able to achieve our goals in the
timeframes set by our team,” said Wetzel. “Their representation was phenomenal. It
allowed our financial leaders to ask crucial questions regarding facility savings and
how to navigate the data presented.”

Tags:  Intalere  Savings  Washington 

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Intalere Member Woodlawn Hospital Reduces Physician Preference Spend by 24 Percent through Intalere Clinical Advantage Program

Posted By HSCA, Wednesday, August 23, 2017


For more than 100 years, Woodlawn Hospital has provided quality healthcare
to the residents of Fulton County, Ind., and surrounding areas. The facility has
grown from a small house on the community’s Pontiac Street, to a 25-bed
critical access hospital and recognized leader in rural healthcare. With stateof-
the-art technology and compassionate, patient-centered care, Woodlawn
Hospital offers a wide range of services including a birthing center, cancer
center, emergency medical services, laboratory services, critical care and
medical/surgical units, radiology, rehabilitation services, respiratory care
services, sleep center, inpatient and outpatient surgical services, and more.

When a new supply chain director who had worked very closely and
successfully with Intalere in the past joined the facility, he immediately looked
to push cost reduction initiatives in areas including pharmacy, foodservice
and med surg items. One particular area of concern for Woodlawn, as with
many other facilities, was the cost of orthopedic implants. “Woodlawn Hospital
was seeing a cost increase on orthopedic implants every year while our
reimbursement stayed the same,” said James Truman, director of materials
management. “We needed to reduce our cost of implants.”


Two years prior to engaging Intalere to assist in reducing their implant costs,
Woodlawn tried to negotiate directly with their supplier and to “piggyback”
onto another local facility’s contract. “Our supplier was able to reduce costs
by 10 percent but wouldn’t allow us to piggyback,” said Truman. “Although we
reached some savings, we felt that too much money was still on the table.”

Intalere’s local representative, Bobbie Smith, contacted Woodlawn about
Intalere Clinical Advantage®, a program to reduce high-dollar implant costs,
that he felt could help Woodlawn to maximize savings. Intalere Clinical
Advantage Program (ICAP) offers a proven strategy for reducing costs of
physician preference items and positively impacting clinical outcomes and
physician support through a customized, collaborative approach that brings
physicians, healthcare executives and materials managers together to work
toward a common goal of reducing healthcare costs, while improving patient care.  

ICAP is designed to facilitate savings by:

• Reducing costs on all physician and clinician preference items.
• Engaging and collaborating with physicians to develop key relationships
supported through evidence-based outcomes.
• Improving quality outcomes.
• Implementing a customized, collaborative process involving hospital
leadership and physician champions all working towards the same goal.

“Bobbie put us in contact with the Intalere Clinical Advantage team and,
ultimately, working with David Forquer we were able to reach our solution,”
said Truman.


Woodlawn provided seven months of total spend on all implants. The
ICAP team reviewed the data for potential savings, with the ultimate
objective being to save 20 percent of spend while maintaining current
supplier relationships. A unique aspect of ICAP is that standardization is
not a requirement and there are no required suppliers or minimum spend
requirements per category. Organizations can customize their engagement to
meet their particular needs.

“Once the Intalere Clinical Advantage savings potential was reported to
hospital administration, we felt it was necessary to have our surgeons’
support,” said Truman. “A meeting was held that included our surgeons,
during which we shared with them our current cost compared to what other
hospitals were paying.”

The physicians were assured that the goal was to maintain the current supplier
if they would meet the facility’s requirement, but if not, the business would
be taken out to bid. “Once they saw the data, we had complete backing and
everyone was on the same page.”

The outcome was a reduction of implant cost by 24 percent. The Materials
Management department monitors the invoices with new current pricing. If a
discrepancy occurs, the invoice is held. To date, all pricing has been correct.

“Our professional services, knowledgeable staff and commitment to maintain
the highest standard of care, allow us to confidently handle the present and
future needs of patients in our community,” said Truman. “Tools like Intalere
Clinical Advantage help us ensure we can maintain the best clinical outcomes
at the lowest possible cost.”

Tags:  Cost  Intalere  Savings 

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Bon Secours Health System Reduces Surgical Site Infections by 35% in 3 Months; Annualized Savings Top $655,000

Posted By HSCA, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Collaborative Approach Enables Facility-Level Teams to Drive Change Across Four States

To ensure ‘Good Help to Those in Need’, Bon Secours Health System, Inc. (BSHSI) employs a quality improvement governance structure known as Clinical Transformation (CT) to provide oversight on processes and practices that impact patient experience, healthcare efficiency and patient safety.  Concerned about hospital-acquired infections, BSHSI’s CT leaders partnered with Premier’s Clinical Performance Partner (CPP) Program to structure and implement an initiative focused on reducing surgical site infections (SSIs).

With the guidance of Premier’s resources – and following Premier’s proven performance improvement methodology – BSHSI implemented a system wide, rapid-cycle change project to ensure compliance to foundational practice to include surgical attire, surgical hand scrubs, surgical site preparation and traffic patterns.

Validation Studies Point to Clinical Practice Variations

Using Premier’s “Opportunity to Action” blueprint – which combines the power of Premier’s analytics, national benchmarking capabilities and an evidenced-based approach to healthcare improvement – the CPP Program team launched a validation study to diagnose variation in practices within the health system’s 12 hospitals that participated in the initiative.

The validation study, a key component in assuring highly reliable patient care, revealed common opportunities to standardize clinical practice, policy and procedures and adherence to manufacture instructions for product use.

The BSHSI 30-60-90 Day Collaborative for Reducing Clinical Practice Variation

Armed with more relevant data, Premier worked with an integrated improvement team of care providers and ancillary services to implement system wide changes to reduce variations in practice. Partnering with local teams of infection control practitioners, medical staff and front line surgical services team members,the CPPs rapid-cycle change process incorporated onsite assistance, coaching calls and monthly collaborative calls to revise policy and procedures and implement process changes across the health system.

Premier is Here to Help

Premier supports healthcare providers in providing high-quality, cost-effective services to their communities. Paired with quality and safety technology products, a clinical performance partner acts as a change agent by providing a structured framework to improve outcomes while positively impacting cost of care.

Tags:  Premier  Savings 

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Vizient Members Adopt Energy Best Practices to Drive $3.7M in Budget Savings

Posted By HSCA, Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hospitals are among the most intensive consumers of energy in the United States, with 3 to 5 percent of their annual budget going to energy costs. Yet many continue to overpay for energy supply by relying on traditional purchasing methods. Unfortunately, those methods rarely deliver the best price for the hospital.

Unlike supply chain purchasing for commodity items, the energy market requires a totally different approach that’s more akin to managing market-sensitive assets and liabilities, such as the hospital’s bond portfolio. To be successful, a hospital needs to be able to decide between hedge purchasing versus index decisions (or a combination of both), using financial probability modeling.

“We see many members issuing request for proposals using just their own volume, or in some cases, buying their energy with minimal market intelligence,” said Will Gowan, senior director, contract services for Vizient. “The Vizient energy program, which facilitates the implementation of energy procurement best practices, is helping hospitals realize significant savings.”

Three Vizient members have booked $3.7 million in budget savings by adopting these best practices in energy procurement and management:

·         Use of analytics to manage market risk and capture savings

·         Internal alignment of facilities, finance and supply chain staff around a central strategy that integrates both supply and demand management

·         Aggregation of spend with other hospitals to drive cost savings


WellSpan Health, a growing multihospital network based in south central Pennsylvania, realized a $2.1 million savings over their current contract term by transitioning from a traditional bid-based, fixed-rate procurement method to an actively managed market approach. A first step in the transition was organizing a multidisciplinary committee, consisting of the chief financial officer, chief operating officer, treasury vice president and key facility directors, who actively manage the electricity and natural gas spend across the organization’s facilities.

The committee then made the decision to join an aggregation network with other Vizient members and was able to reduce electricity supplier margins by 50 percent. Additionally, they have begun using statistical market analysis to identify savings opportunities in the forward markets, which led to a new contract design where the health system layers its energy purchasing over time. According to Richard Harley, vice president of corporate treasury services at WellSpan, “Our organization now manages its energy spend much as it does other market-sensitive assets and liabilities.”

Another health system seeing a reduction in costs as a result of adopting best practices and having access to analytics through a Vizient energy partner is Lifespan, one of New England’s leading health systems. Lifespan had already taken steps to more directly control its energy costs by recently building a cogeneration plant at its Rhode Island hospital campus. While that step was yielding cost savings, they wanted to take their energy program to the next level.

“We now have access to the highest level of financial and market analytics available in the industry,” said Tom Magliochetti, vice president of facilities at Lifespan. As a result, Lifespan saved $1 million on an already well-managed energy budget and is continuing to integrate and optimize both its on-campus assets and its market procurement processes to drive savings.

At the same time, OhioHealth, a 12-hospital IDN based in Columbus, has revitalized its energy management by implementing all three best practice principles. “The market forecasting and analytics were the key difference in reducing OhioHealth’s energy procurement costs by more than $600,000 over the past year,” said Alan Nelson, system vice president of treasury at OhioHealth. “Even more importantly, the health system has transitioned to managing energy using a team approach.”

“Vizient’s mission is to drive savings for our members. While we are confident every Vizient member can find benefit regardless of market conditions, we haven’t stopped working to improve," said Gowan. “We're currently conducting an outreach to all Vizient members interested in improving their energy results through our best-practices approach. We would particularly like to hear from member facilities, finance, and supply chain leaders so we can perform an assessment to discover opportunities and drive greater savings for all participants,” said Gowan.

Tags:  Cost  New England  Ohio  Pennsylvania  Savings  Vizient 

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Intalere Launches Industry-Leading Real-Time Cost Transparency Tool - Intalere OptiPrice Advantage

Posted By HSCA, Tuesday, September 20, 2016

St. Louis (September 19, 2016) - Intalere, the healthcare industry leader in delivering optimal cost, quality and clinical outcomes, today announced the introduction of Intalere OptiPrice Advantage℠ (powered by BroadJump™), a tool which provides real-time product cost transparency to help hospitals capture millions of dollars in savings on medical and surgical supply costs.

“Today, hospitals may spend months gathering information to negotiate a single pricing amendment. Even then, they may lack meaningful pricing information with which to negotiate. Intalere OptiPrice Advantage is a strategic sourcing tool which enables you to compare the price you are paying for medical surgical products to the price other hospitals from across the country are paying on the exact same products,” said Julius Heil, Intalere president and CEO.  

Intalere Optiprice Advantage helps balance a facility’s negotiating power with suppliers and significantly reduces the cycle time to renegotiate pricing agreements. The solution utilizes medical surgical product pricing data submitted monthly by more than 400 hospitals from across the country to the Intalere OptiPrice Advantage database, which is refreshed on a daily basis. Participating facilities represent both Intalere members and non-members.

Members can analyze spend by categories – such as stents, orthopedic implants, endomechanical, ICDs, osteobiologics, etc. – to determine the range of cost savings available in comparison to what other hospitals with a similar product mix are paying.

The data-driven analytical design can be filtered and formatted for customized views to enhance the depth and breadth of benchmarking needs. Intalere OptiPrice Advantage also generates a revised price list by SKU so members can seamlessly integrate this list with a pre-approved pricing amendment template. Intalere OptiPrice Advantage benefits customers by making them more:

  • Efficient - Reduce negotiation preparation from six months to a few hours.
  • Transparent - Access real medical surgical product prices paid by peer hospitals with first-hand market-share and dollar volume comparison.
  • Tactical - Quickly gather trusted, timely data to strengthen negotiating position and achieve a clear path to savings.

The system is extremely easy to use and can be learned in less than one hour. Intalere will also provide ongoing customer support. Yavapai Regional Medical Center and Virginia Mason Medical Center have both signed on as the newest customers of Intalere OptiPrice Advantage.

“This tool is really the epitome of making evidence-based decisions, which is becoming increasingly important in today’s healthcare marketplace,” said Tim Ingram, director of materials management, Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). “The real-time analytics, national scope, comparison modules and service line features give it an advantage over other similar tools I have used, and it really makes you comfortable and knowledgeable in terms of ‘putting you in the driver’s seat’ when negotiating.”  According to Ingram, within two days of implementing Intalere OptiPrice Advantage, YRMC was able to identify more than $100,000 in price reductions on just one product.

Intalere’s partner in bringing Intalere OptiPrice Advantage to members is BroadJump LLC, which is focused on delivering supply chain analytics that drive greater efficiency and enable hospitals and health systems to manage their supply costs on-demand. The BroadJump platform is powered by the fastest growing and most up-to-date repository of healthcare supply chain data available anywhere.

Tags:  Cost  Intalere  Savings  Transparency 

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Intalere and Intermountain Healthcare Committed Contract Portfolio Brings More Than 10 Percent Savings, Best Practice Model to Share with the Market

Posted By HSCA, Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Challenge

According to a recent USA Today article, “Each of the nation’s 5,700 hospitals must cut $2.6 million a year on average in costs in the next 10 years to meet the demands of proposed healthcare reform.” Given how much waste and inaccuracies currently exist in healthcare, improving and re-engineering current processes using improvement methodologies and techniques is crucial.

No other area provides more opportunity for savings than the supply chain, which can represent up to 50 percent of a healthcare provider’s budget. Savings can be realized through both lower costs of acquisition and lower operating costs. An optimized supply chain can help a facility stay lean, manage costs and respond to fluctuations in demand. 

Recognizing the importance of supply chain, Intermountain Healthcare elevated its strategic importance to their organization and has been recognized as the #3 healthcare supply chain organization in the country by Gartner. Senior leadership has committed resources to bring in skilled and talented people as part of their supply chain organization, while also centralizing reporting relationships, and involving and earning the trust of all stakeholders, including clinicians and physicians. Intermountain also implemented a fact and data driven approach, and most importantly, fostered a commitment to innovation, excellence and growth.

But as good as their supply chain organization is, there is always room for improvement. Through an audit performed by a third party company, it was revealed that Intermountain’s pricing for products in the medical/surgical commodity categories was not as competitive as they had initially anticipated. The audit showed that Intermountain could decrease costs in these areas by at least 10 percent by increasing their purchase volume commitment to certain suppliers and standardizing products and suppliers.

The Solution

Intermountain created a board level goal to align internal stakeholders around product standardization. This ensured that performance criteria is tracked and reimbursement to executives is directly tied to supporting standardization goals.  They also invested $1.2 million in new resources to accelerate and deliver the initiative.

Intermountain partnered with Intalere to ensure that these resources and efforts can be made available to other qualified health organizations as well as help put the plan in motion. Over the past several years, the two organizations had sought to redefine the traditional Provider-GPO relationship, which had previously been built mainly around just contracts and procurement. They have been able to evolve the relationship in a collaborative, innovative manner that has resulted in achieving millions in supply expense reduction as well as bringing Intermountain the increased bandwidth to undertake projects that would have required the addition of full-time resources. The relationship has maximized value for both organizations through:

  • Collaborating together with resources and projects aligned to support strategic objectives for both organizations.
  • Leveraging the strengths of both organizations to provide added resources.
  • Using data to reduce variation.
  • Developing a communication and integration model that is flexible, focused on strategy and tactics, but also leaves room for innovation.
  • Learning how data analytics and an information-rich environment support cost/quality initiatives and the implementation of best practices.

The teams worked together to define this initial effort of commodity standardization. They have continued to define new categories to be standardized that they plan to release each quarter. This will build the savings and continue to deliver value for years to come

The benefits of standardization to Intermountain include:

  • Better standardization of patient treatment across all facilities, resulting in better outcomes.
  • Cost savings of 10 percent or more on spend areas covered by the commodity program driven by their volume and commitment.
  • A 7 percent reduction in SKUs ordered, stocked and managed at their facilities.
  • Better supplier engagement due to increased commitment.

For Intalere, the Intermountain commitment magnified their ability to negotiate more favorable terms with suppliers, which could be shared and built upon further by participation of other members.

“Based on Intermountain’s success with the program, we envisioned expanding access to the portfolio to other acute care facilities who can benefit by getting the same pricing that larger facilities are receiving. It creates a win for all involved,” said Joe Tibbs, vice president, sales operations for Intalere, who works closely with Intermountain.

Initial standardization goals were set for 2015 in terms of categories and commitment level, with the plan to expand categories of participation as the program moved forward. Not only did Intermountain expect to save nearly $3 million through implementation of the program, but the larger goal was actually three-fold, to push the initiative past just a cost reduction initiative. 

“Obviously, the committed nature of the program would enable significant cost savings,” said Trent Gee, senior sourcing manager for Intermountain. “But beyond that, the program requirements enable standardization, which in turn enables improvements in supply chain effectiveness. Further, the reduction of product variation facilitates reduction of clinical variation.”

The Outcome

The initial implementation of the project, brought $2.78 million in savings, or a 10 percent reduction in costs. SKUs were also reduced by 497, bringing further cost reduction in inventory management and process improvement. The partners continue to work on adding categories and further reducing SKUs throughout the remainder of 2015 and beyond.

“This is a prime example of how, in sharing our goals, we also came up with ideas for new areas of collaboration, consolidation and building more volume that we could then share with others,” said Richard Bagley, Intermountain’s director of strategic sourcing.

The overarching objective of this program is taking the focus off mere commodities and elevating the supply chain to a strategic driver of change, not only bringing validated cost reduction of 10 percent, but also:

  • Process improvement.
  • Standardization and elimination of variation.
  • Review and validation of high quality clinical items to assist in consistent patient outcomes.
  • Establishment of guidelines, processes and governance.

This type of collaboration, driven by data, strategic alignment and flexibility will help to drive improvement and long-term sustainability for healthcare organizations facing the new era of healthcare. The future value of programs such as this is the opportunity and ability to share this model with other healthcare providers.

Tags:  Intalere  Savings 

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Intalere Member Yavapai Regional Medical Center Saves More than $850,000 on Physician Preference Items through Intalere’s Clinical Advantage Solution

Posted By HSCA, Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Challenge

Yavapai Regional Medical Center in Prescott, Ariz., a two-facility acute care hospital-based IDN, was faced with the realities that challenge many healthcare facilities today – ever-shrinking margins.

“We were looking at challenges in the organization related to reduced margins,” said Dorance Dillon, director of Supply Chain Management at Yavapai. “With our case mix, in essence 75 cents of every revenue dollar was coming through a combination of federal and state reimbursement. With that, facing continued shrinking margins, we needed to do something.” 

Among their strategies, Yavapai worked with a consulting group to engage their entire organization in Lean process principles and more fully partnering with a group purchasing organization to drive cost savings. “We selected Intalere for reasons that involved attention to detail, supporting us operationally, and also from the standpoint of the identified savings that Intalere can and would provide,” said Dillon.

One of the biggest challenges Yavapai faced was in the area of physician preference items (PPI). Almost half of all the medical surgical supplies used in U.S. hospitals are physician preference items (PPIs), including devices and implants. Yavapai’s major areas of spend revolved around those including cardiac rhythm management, total joint reconstruction for hips and knees, spine hardware, bone products and trauma/fracture management implants.

The Solution

Through their Intalere Clinical Advantage® program (ICAP), a proven strategy for reducing high-dollar implant costs while positively impacting clinical outcomes and physician support, Intalere immediately set about collecting data and conducting a market analysis. With hundreds of members across the country, Intalere was able to provide benchmarks and pricing information to bring context to the price points Yavapai was paying. Yavapai was then able to leverage this benchmarking and price point information to reduce their operational costs or direct pricing on the products.

Gaining physician support and buy-in is an absolutely critical piece to the success of any PPI project. Engaging and collaborating with physicians to develop key relationships supported through evidence-based outcomes is a foundational piece of the Intalere Clinical Advantage program. 

“The ACAP team had the ability to engage our medical staff to obtain these price points and do that without offending any of our medical staff physicians,” said Dillon. “They presented the data and information while also explaining very specifically how they arrived at those numbers, including taking into account that Yavapai is in a rural setting.” Dillon and the physicians were also engaged by the way the information was presented to them. “They said these are real prices that you are entitled to. Go back to your vendors and share this.” Using this particular approach served to educate and enlighten the physicians, giving them comfort to understand that the process was not about forcing them to move away from certain products they might have been trained on or been comfortable with, but to support them and help work collaboratively to reduce the expenses associated with the products they used.

The Outcome

Yavapai was able to identify some quick wins and significant savings. In the cardiac rhythm management category, they were able to reduce expenses by 10-15 percent, a savings of $350,000. In the area of total joint replacement, savings was $500,000. “A cost reduction of up to 20 percent is quite significant and these are savings that have trickled right down to our bottom line,” said Dillon. “But just as important, it does not require the physicians to change what they are using and it did not change anything as it relates to the reps that support our organization.” 

A key ingredient Dillon stressed is that while many organizations or potential partners can supply data, how you get from the page to the actual implementation is the true driver of success. It is paramount to have pricing transparency and subject matter experts that can interpret the data to your organization. What is the organization? Where are they? Where do they provide services? Factors such as these affect pricing within the market. “And I think that is where Intalere really shined,” he said. “In terms of their team understanding this organization, coming on site, meeting not only my team members and certain executives within the organization, but also being able to engage the physicians and surgeons where they live and being able to present a very compelling case.”

“Intalere has been a very good partner. They have guaranteed their savings,” said Dillon. “We still have other opportunities to work through, but I could absolutely state that Intalere has come through with flying colors to support what they said they would do.”

Tags:  Arizona  Intalere  Savings 

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Virginia Mason Medical Center Value Analysis Project Improves Standardization and Intalere Contract Compliance, Results in $766,000 in Cost Savings

Posted By HSCA, Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Established in 1920, Virginia Mason is a non-profit organization offering a system
of integrated health services, featuring a multispecialty group practice of more
than 460 employed physicians and offering both primary and specialty care as
well as an acute care hospital licensed for 336 beds. Virginia Mason has been
recognized by numerous organizations as one of the top hospitals in the nation
and is one of the first organizations in the world to adapt the Toyota Production
System (TPS) to healthcare. As such, they are no strangers to implementing
process and efficiency improvements that can reduce costs and improve
clinical outcomes.

Traditionally at Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC), supply chain
involvement in new product implementation was primarily limited to
financial analysis. The clinicians determined whether to bring in products
without understanding the overall impact to the institution. A new process to
better integrate supply chain and clinical areas was needed to both improve
communication and to align organizational goals.


VMMC initiated a project to enhance the product value analysis function
under the leadership of Bill Knight, value analysis manager, by establishing
value analysis teams (VATs) in areas including operating room, lab,
GI/endoscopy, IR/radiology, nursing and the regional medical centers.
The teams include members from each specific area plus the “core four:”
the value analysis manager, a physician advisor, clinical product review
specialist and a contract utilization analyst (an employee of Intalere
affiliate Health Resource Services (HRS)).

A standard agenda was established for each team, which included
a review of the following:

• Product issues such as safety, recalls and back orders.
• Products in trial.
• New products brought to the team.
• Intalere contract opportunities.
• Questions and concerns.

Each product was assessed according to several different criteria including:

• Quality.
• Functionality.
• Literature to support efficacy/evidence-based practice.
• Availability of replacement product.
• FDA approval/guarantee.
• Infection control issues.
• Environmental impact.
• Availability of Intalere contract.
• Finance/reimbursement analysis.
• Labor savings.
• Price.
• Standardization.
• Association with capital purchase.
• Physician certification.


Although the concept of the value analysis team was not novel, the degree of
involvement of the clinical arenas was innovative.

Previously, almost every clinical area had its own product assessment teams
with only peripheral supply chain involvement. The new, comprehensive
value analysis teams allowed supply chain to be an equal partner in decisions
regarding new products. The collaboration of physician and clinical champions
fully addressed clinical efficacy aspects and also brought a level of credibility to
product choices.

It also allowed for increased visibility of VMMC’s group purchasing partners and
the value of using those contracts. To ensure accountability, all VAT scoreboards
are posted to the intranet for visibility of progress.

The value analysis teams improved standardization and Intalere contract
compliance, leading to a documented cost savings of $766,000. This also
decreased inventory and increased quality and safety of product usage. The
teams also respond to product safety issues and are able to identify similar,
higher quality products without increased expenses. Significantly, the value
analysis teams led to collaboration and collegiality between supply chain and
operational areas of the Virginia Mason integrated delivery system.

Tags:  Cost  Intalere  Savings 

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Vizient, Inc. Named to Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s SDCE 100 Top Supply Chain Projects for 2016

Posted By HSCA, Friday, July 15, 2016
IRVING, Texas--()--Supply & Demand Chain Executive, the executive's user manual for successful supply and demand chain transformation, has selected Vizient, Inc. as a recipient of an SDCE 100 Award for 2016.

The SDCE 100 is an annual list of 100 great supply chain projects. These projects can serve as a guide for supply chain executives who are looking for new opportunities to drive improvement in their own operations. These projects show how supply chain solution and service providers help their customers and clients achieve supply chain excellence and prepare their supply chains for success.

Vizient was recognized for its supply chain transformation project with INTEGRIS Health to sustain a $15 million savings realized from a Vizient cost reduction initiative. Vizient enabled the health system to enhance its organizational structure by aligning facilities under a single supply chain operations and assisting in training of skillsets for positions. The organizational improvements generated a sustainable infrastructure across INTEGRIS Health supply chain operations; improved contract and GPO compliance; reduced rogue agreements; provided greater visibility into vendor performance; and delivered more financial value from vendor relationships.

“The challenges around operational improvement and cost reduction facing our industry are significant and gaining efficiencies in the supply chain are in the spotlight,” said Larry Bramble, vice president, Consulting Services – Supply Chain Operations. “Vizient’s approach is rooted in collaboration and creative problem solving that helps supply chain leaders make every aspect of their operations as cost effective as possible with sustainable results. We are extremely proud to have our work recognized by Supply & Demand Chain Executive.”

“Our goal with 2016’s SDCE 100 is to shine the spotlight on successful and innovative transformation projects that deliver bottom-line value to small, medium and large enterprises across the supply chain,” said Ronnie Garrett, editor of Supply & Demand Chain Executive. “The selected projects can serve as a roadmap for supply chain executives looking for new opportunities to drive improvement in their own operations. We congratulate all of our winners for a job well done!”

Tags:  Cost  Savings  Vizient 

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