By Kristi Biltz, Vizient Senior Consulting Director
Camber Hayman, Vizient Associate Principal
Cheryl Poplaski, Vizient Vice President, Spend Management Operations
Too much data can be overwhelming, particularly when making critical decisions for your healthcare organization. The key to effectively using supply spend, contract and clinical data is to correctly identify the need and the expected result, as well as knowing the available data sources and tools — and their capabilities — to ensure the desired outcome can be achieved.
For example, when checking price quotes, does your organization have benchmarking capabilities? Operational databases can help you find spend for a product, category or supplier, but will not be able to provide procedural information that may also be required to paint a full picture. Procedural information can be obtained from your EMR, implant logs, accounts payable/invoice data and clinical outcomes benchmarking.
Exploring the sources
Supply data such as spend, usage and location is available from your enterprise resource planning (ERP) or inventory management systems and can be used for market share reporting, department-to-department comparisons, benchmarking or contract compliance. Spend data analysis should include contract data such as contract expiration and terms and conditions, which are important to consider in your decision making.
Clinical data such as procedural information or clinician-to-clinician comparisons cannot be found in most ERP systems and need to be sourced through available tools as mentioned above. Keep in mind that the data results are dependent on the quality of the data being utilized and the ability to access that data electronically. Financial data such as reimbursement is also a critical component of the data review process. Operational data may provide additional savings and insights in areas like OR time or ER throughput.
Building the narrative
Decision making requires clinical and executive support, and an effective way to accomplish this is by utilizing the data to tell the story. But keep in mind that the data results are dependent on the quality of data used and the ability to access that data electronically. When it comes to data, system executives and clinicians want to see the following:
- Data trends
- How they compare using market share and pricing data with like-sized hospitals
- How they are trending with quality measures against national standards
- How physicians are performing against their peers internally
- Potential impacts to contractual obligations
- Possible savings opportunities
It is no longer enough to know that an item lives on a contract. To deliver high value care, clinicians need to understand the volume spend, market share and the status of strategic supplier partnerships. Presenting spend commitments and other contractual obligations, clinical outcomes and financial impact allows clinicians, physicians and executives to understand the overall impact of a decision.
For a variety of clinical reasons, physicians may want to make a change in a category. As hospitals migrate to a category management and service line delivery model, a review of the entire category should be completed when reviewing both contracts and products. A thorough contract data review is foundational to setting strategies.
A true strategic sourcing process includes a multidisciplinary or service-line team making decisions where a holistic view of all data points is a key factor. A clinical supply integration strategy brings about physician-to-physician conversation that uses a strategic sourcing approach. For contracting to effectively pursue a category, they need clinical input to understand how products and compliance impact the patient. In other words, a contract award based solely on supplier-driven compliance data may not be the best strategy for patient outcomes.
As your organization works through an initiative, consider leaning on a storytelling approach to the data. The story of your initiative may begin with a new product request, a need for patient outcomes improvements or a quality issue. While it is easy to visualize the result before you get started, it is important to follow the storyline sequentially.
As you proceed in the data review, certain data points may cause you to pivot in a new direction. The data will inform each chapter of the story. Be open to what the next chapter holds so you don’t miss key savings, outcomes or unidentified opportunities. As you link your story together, be sure that you can explain how and why the data supports the conclusion.
Presenting the data
The data presentation should be prepared in a consistent fashion so that members of the value analysis or CSI committee can quickly read and interpret the information. Utilizing an SBAR approach has proven to be an effective tool for leading discussion. SBARs are unbiased and focused on encouraging physician/clinician engagement as follows:
- Situation: Describe the ask. Non-essential detail should not be included here.
- Background: Inclusive of a contract summary, this section reflects the current and historical facts.
- Assessment: A statement driven by the situation and relevant background. It should be made by the committee chair or a qualified product end user.
- Recommendation: The recommendation toward solving the situation. It could be a recommendation for product evaluation or physician/clinician vote.
Value analysis and contracting team members prepare unbiased information for the committee as supporting members of the team. Leading practice is to send the materials to the committee at least one week prior to the meeting, which allows members to pre-read the information. Partnering value analysis/CSI together with contracting to utilize the data to tell the story will ensure a fact-based, strategic approach to supporting clinically made decisions that improve patient care.
About the authors
In her role as consulting director on the clinical advisory team, Kristi Biltz, CMRP, uses her more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry to assist acute care hospitals consistently integrate clinical and supply chain data in a clinical value analysis setting. She helps hospitals improve practice and product variation through a standardized decision-making process supported by evidence and best practice within a culture of continuous process improvement.
Camber Hayman more than 22 years of experience in healthcare, including as in-house attorney at Broadlane where she supported all contracting divisions before becoming lead negotiator on its pharmacy team. She then served as VP, custom contracting role, for more than 15 years with Broadlane, MedAssets and Vizient. Hayman joined the consulting side of Vizient in 2018 where she has conducted operational assessments for providers’ supply chain activities, led highly complex consulting engagements, and most recently began serving on a small team responsible for building out a new managed services delivery model for Vizient’s spend management division. Outside of Vizient, Camber has lectured and presented to numerous organizations on contracting, negotiation theories and strategies.
Cheryl Poplaski is vice president, supply chain operations, at Vizient. She joined the Vizient team in August 2001, serving in various outsourced supply chain leadership capacities at a number of clients overseeing day-to-day operations as well mentoring staff and advising on process improvement. Poplaski has more than 30 years of experience in all areas of supply chain and is particularly effective in implementing systems and redesigning operations to increase efficiency and reduce cost.