Hospital purchasing decisions are driven by clinical, operational and financial considerations, including patient outcomes, product quality, ease-of-use, supplier value-adds—as well as cost and product availability.

To make informed decisions, product attributes and data need to be assessed by different supply chain stakeholders with different perspectives and requirements in a timely manner, which is why there’s a need for a collaborative, analytics framework that aggregates data. One that discovers savings opportunities in an environment with dynamic price fluctuations, offers collaborative capabilities among stakeholders and provides visibility to achieve sustained savings.

“There are a lot of analytics tools available for supply chain leaders and many perform certain functions very well. However, those tools only go so far and the data is not able to be aggregated and shared in an efficient way,” said Chip Bunata, associate vice president, product delivery, supply chain analytics at Vizient. “In order to move to a value-based model for care, the information and data gaps in the contracting process must be closed.”

Enter Vizient Savings Actualyzer
Last summer, Vizient introduced a new platform that enables all stakeholders to gain access to potential savings opportunities buried in the supply chain data and assigns tasks to stakeholder, based on key responsibilities, for purchasing decisions. In addition, the solution can create a custom decision path for identified opportunities, with a unique sequence of steps, based on the individual member’s unique process. 

“It’s a new collaborative platform that allows multiple stakeholders to see the same aggregated data and the savings opportunity across the continuum of care, as opposed to only a sequential view,” said Bunata.

In the past, purchasing data couldn’t be readily aggregated by product category, contract, facility or user-defined fields. For example, analysis shows that implantable medical devices (IMD) can represent as much as 19 percent of a hospital’s non-labor expenses and manufacturers will adjust pricing based on dynamic market fluctuations. These fluctuations mean that the best price for an IMD in January may not be the best price in March.

Adding to the challenges of a sequential-only perspective, supply chain leaders are not able to easily share pertinent information in real time with all stakeholders. The best option currently is email, which is far from ideal. With missed messages, version-control issues and potential gaps in the data from stakeholder to stakeholder, decisions could be based on incomplete information.

Vizient Savings Actualyzer provides a clear view of all opportunities related to capital equipment, IMDs and other product categories across the Vizient contract portfolio. It also solves the communication and collaboration challenge via an interactive dashboard that shows tasks for individual stakeholders that involve savings initiatives across the enterprise. Achieving data aggregation adds significant value as hospitals (and more specifically, their purchasing departments) are now effectively able to manage their 1,000+ local and GPO contracts within a single application.

“One thing supply chain leaders get excited about when they test drive our analytics solution is how they can roll up opportunities to the corporate/parent company level. That’s nearly impossible to do efficiently with other solutions on the market because supplies used between the various facilities within a system change frequently or are used in different time periods. Those tools don’t capture those changes and variations in a manner that enables effective aggregation,” said Bunata. “Vizient Savings Actualyzer really does solve the problem of disaggregated data and presents a view which allows members to reap cost savings.”

Savings generator
Users have responded that Vizient Savings Actualyzer presents an example of the proverbial three-legged stool: bringing together technology, data (which powers technology) and service. By uncovering previously hidden opportunities, members can begin to take costs out of the equation. It’s a solution that can be utilized by stakeholders horizontally across the organization or vertically across the health system’s facilities.

“We move at the speed of the member. We train and educate them on how to use Savings Actualyzer to uncover data and then we help them turn it into a story that changes behavior among their supply chain stakeholders. And by accelerating the harvesting of opportunities and decreasing contracting cycle times, meaningful cost savings are realized,” said Bunata.

For more information about Vizient Savings Actualyzer and how it helped a large health care system in Ohio, click here.

Published: January 26, 2017