Blog Sponsored By:
Establishing a Clinically Integrated Supply Chain is a goal of many health care supply chain leaders, with 89% of those surveyed saying their teams have strong engagement with clinicians. But how can clinical staff give more of their time when they are already understaffed and overworked?
The answer isn’t more clinician time spent on supply tasks, but rather more effective use of their time. This was a key finding from a discussion with 300 OR leaders at an Owens & Minor hosted event during the 2022 OR Manager Conference in Denver.
Here are three key areas where Perioperative teams need supply chain leaders to alleviate them of the tactical so they can focus on strategic supply initiatives.
1. Make it easier to manage physician preference cards
Inaccurate physician preference cards rose to the forefront as a supply chain related challenge that drains Perioperative team resources.
Participants acknowledged how it is a major task to proactively make card changes, so it often gets put on the back burner in exchange for competing priorities. As a result, they spend an exorbitant amount of time picking, counting, and putting away supplies that go unused.
While OR teams need assistance with physician preference cards, sometimes they don’t know what questions to ask and what resources are available. Supply chain leaders can help by presenting potential solutions and enabling technologies that automate preference card management and deliver actionable insights on supply usage.
2. Ensure a consistent flow of supplies and take on their management
A major pain point voiced by the participants is backorders. When there are disruptions to supply flow into the ORs, Perioperative team resources are absorbed with identifying and maximizing existing inventory and attempting to source alternatives to avoid surgical case disruptions.
In the same survey referenced earlier, 76% of hospital supply chain leaders cited supply reliability as a top value driver for their teams, and 74% said they are working closer with distributors now compared to two years ago.
OR clinicians want their supply chain teams to take on inventory management responsibility and the handling of backorders with industry partners, including the hospital’s distributor and suppliers. Alleviating them of this burden frees up time for direct patient care.
One participant shared her story of collaborating with Owens & Minor on a surgical kit initiative where the distributor builds and delivers ready-to-use custom surgery kits (or “totes”) containing all the necessary consumable supplies for pre-operative, intra-operative and post anesthesia care unit care, based on procedure and physician preference.
Commenting on the solution she stated, “Opening for these cases takes seconds and we can now better track our costs for soft goods.”
3. Create a forum for collaborative information sharing
While clinicians want their fellow supply chain teams to take on the heavy lifting of supply procurement and management, they still want a say in which products enter their ORs and touch their patients.
In hospitals where clinical and supply chain teams are closely integrated, both parties are encouraged to bring to the table insights and information to help guide strategic sourcing decisions.
Supply chain leaders should provide opportunities for collaboration where they can offer information on purchasing contracts and items procured across departments, and clinicians can share how supply choices impact clinical workflows and outcomes.
In an environment of ongoing supply chain disruptions, the hospital’s distribution partner can provide a broader industry view including the scope of manufacturers, their product portfolios, and comparable supply equivalents.
Supply management is a huge burden on OR clinicians, particularly given today’s staffing and supply chain challenges. By offering knowledge, support, and resources, supply chain leaders can alleviate Perioperative teams day-to-day supply tasks so they can focus on strategic decisions that improve clinical and financial outcomes.
To learn about the many ways Owens & Minor can help you reduce overall costs and improve the health of your supply chain, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-935-0798.