Supply aggregation groups, in various forms, have been around for many years. Now however, the constant push to lower costs combined with the movement toward value-based care, has increased interest from all types and sizes of hospitals. The question then becomes, “What group is right for my hospital?”

Figuring out the best option may be easier than you think.

Vizient serves many different roles for its members ranging from the industry’s strongest national GPO portfolio provider to performance improvement consultant to collaborative partner, but add one more role to that list: aggregation group matchmaker.

Vizient developed a cultural assessment tool in 2016 to help guide members toward aggregation groups where they can maximize their chances for success. The tool covers three primary areas: member objectives, level of commitment and leadership structure.

“Based on the member’s unique objectives and goals, it’s critical they join the right aggregation group where they can realize the most value,” said Rebecca Morrill, senior director, member business ventures at Vizient. “An organization is going to have the greatest success when they join a group that best aligns with their culture, their ability to commit and their internal leadership structure.”

“If a hospital’s objectives and capabilities aren’t aligned with the group’s structure and culture, their savings can be substantially diminished,” Morrill said. “On the other hand, when a member selects the right group with cultural and functional alignment, their savings can be significantly expanded.”

Aggregation groups are a proven model to achieve new levels of cost savings. Across the 17 groups Vizient facilitates, 1,000 members collectively accumulated $325 million in supply chain cost savings in 2016 and are on target to reach $340 million this year.

Give us 15 minutes and we’ll find a group that will help you save money

Morrill says the tool is available to anyone, but it is most often the supply chain leader who completes the assessment. Most of the questions focus around the organization’s goals and resources from a supply chain perspective. Comprised of several multiple choice questions and a few open-ended questions, participants can expect to invest 10 to15 minutes in completing the assessment.

“If a facility chooses to skip the assessment, they won’t have time to reflect on what their true objectives and capabilities are,” Morrill said. “And the ultimate risk is they go down a path only to discover the group is not a good fit, so they just wasted that time and have to start their search over. Even worse, they might give up the search altogether, feeling disillusioned and assuming the aggregation concept is the problem.”

Once the cultural assessment is complete, Morrill meets with the member hospital for a review and interpretation of their responses. After the initial consultation, Morrill will then provide a recommendation of groups that would be the most appropriate for them to consider joining. 

"This is where art and the science come together to find the right match. We generally submit two or three groups for members to consider based on their survey responses. When they explore those groups and their respective members, they start to see the natural alignment of their organization with the others,” Morrill said.

After the member decides which group they want to join, the other member hospitals in that particular group invite the prospective addition to a more comprehensive introductory meeting to discuss topics such as compliance requirements, governance structure, the group’s workstyle, as well as answer any questions.

At times, a member hospital and group might feel the fit isn’t beneficial to either party and if that happens, Morrill and her team are quick to help the member move in another direction.

“If a member doesn’t feel they’re getting adequate value, we will go back to the cultural assessment results,” Morrill said. “That’s why we give them more than one option. If they’ve been through that process initially, we’ve already identified multiple groups as viable candidates, so they can quickly explore the other options.”

Lowering costs is a key component of every hospital’s goals, so why not invest a mere 15 minutes to take a cultural assessment and ensure the best opportunities for success? For more information about how finding the right aggregation group can substantially improve your supply chain cost savings, click here. To access the assessment tool, click here.

Published: July 20, 2017