Not only is the sourcing process time consuming, but resources are limited. With so many implants and PPI categories, it’s time to focus and establish a contracting strategy for each particular category. For example, during a minimally invasive endoscopic operation, a surgeon may use the single-use scalpel or — as often happened — leave it untouched. Either way, the instrument is tossed in the garbage afterward. By sharing cost transparency and utilization between both supply chain managers and physicians, you can reclaim millions of dollars in wasteful spend. That money can then be reallocated to the organization and better care for patients.
We spoke with Dr. Karen Canlas, a gastroenterologist who received her medical degree from University of Louisville School of Medicine as well as completing her fellowship at Duke University. Dr. Canlas gave us insights from a physician’s perspective about sourcing new products, how they learn about new products, ways they discover the pricing of products, and how they choose to compare and analyze these supplies.
When it comes to researching new products, Dr. Canlas reviews them quarterly. A good place to find quality research is DDW, digestive disease week, a big conference for leaders in the GI space and a great source of information. Whether or not a SCM leader is able to attend DDW, it’s important to stay aware of what’s going on and being discussed at DDW. Leaders can stay in sync with their physicians (who return from these conferences with new procedural techniques and products) by studying these conference resources. Keeping the line of communication open by reading journals, attending meetings or conferences, talking with reps and colleagues about new techniques or devices are very important activities for the supply chain leaders.
For Dr. Canlas, cost, effectiveness, clinical trials, and colleague experience are the top four criteria that guide her evaluation of new products. A discussion with her peers ensues every time a new device is considered, about every two or three months. When if comes to cost, Dr. Calnas says it matters a lot. “If the cost is high without clear significant benefit, then I likely won’t pursue a new device or technique. However, if a benefit is significant and at a reasonable cost then I would absolutely implement change.”
Information is constantly circulating among medical staff — they talk with one another, consult one another, and study the value equations together. This presents a real opportunity for supply chain leaders to be that trusted strategic partner to the clinical team and to proactively provide them with information and data. Supply chain leaders should also keep surgeons informed about reimbursements. Dr. Canlas says she is roughly aware, but not always. If there is a product for which you get little reimbursement, and the medical staff is aware, they may never ask for that device because they understand the constraints.
For more detailed insight into endoscopy sourcing and physician/SCM alignment, you can watch the full presentation here.
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