Hospitals and health systems are seeking new ways to cut supply costs, such as "re-evaluating their GPO relationships" and working more closely with physicians, according to Modern Healthcare's 2012 Survey of Executive Opinions on Supply Chain Issues.
The survey—which was completed earlier this year by 159 executives at organizations that purchase medical supplies or services—found that nearly 80% of respondents had incorporated reducing supply costs into their strategic plan. In addition, 91% of executives say reducing medical- and surgical-supply spending is "very important" or "important."
"We know that the reimbursement is what it's going to be and we have to address that and still increase our clinical results," says Alex Emmons, director of materials management at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center in Jasper, Ind.
Hospitals implement varied strategies to cut supply costs
According to Modern Healthcare, hospitals nationwide are implementing a variety of strategies to reduce supply costs. For example, some hospitals are purchasing supplies through a group purchasing organization (GPO) or even launching their own GPO. In addition, supply-chain managers are:
- Negotiating more aggressively with suppliers to purchase physician preference items;
- Better educating physicians on preference item selection;
- Standardizing products; and
- Hiring workers that focus on supply-chain data and analysis (Lee, Modern Healthcare, 8/18 [subscription required]; Modern Healthcare, 8/18 [subscription required]).