An independent third party interview with Leslie Flick, Executive Director at Health Future, LLC. Ms. Flick has been working within the supply chain and procurement industry for more than 30 years.
Summary of Business
Health Future, which was founded nearly 40 years ago, is a healthcare consortium owned by several independent hospitals and healthcare systems. Operating as an IDN under a reverse membership, Health Future is an integrated network for quality improvement, margin enhancement, and cost reduction for all its member facilities.
Health Future’s aim is to stay small, effective, and nimble — they have fewer than six full-time remote employees — by leveraging software solutions to save time and costs. They have several facilities across the state of Oregon to consider and must have all strategic planning and spend approved by their member councils. Transparency and ease of identifying and vetting supply management opportunities, decisions, and results are paramount.
“When someone says they want to look at a product category, we need to begin looking at it immediately,” Leslie Flick tells us. “Our members represent 280 million dollars in supply spend each year and represent more than 1,300 beds.” Health Future needs to support these member facilities by responding quickly to changing needs and strategic priorities.
How is Health Future working differently now that they have Curvo as a partner? Ms. Flick gives us three main differences:
- Early trend spotting: Curvo pushes information to enable Health Future staff and members to correct trends before they become hardwired into the system. “They give us early exposure to any changing trends in buying patterns,” she says.
- Fast spend analysis: “Curvo allows me to extract an analysis of my spend very quickly. Monthly spend is usually analyzed and reported within 72 hours of receipt.”
- Opportunities with benchmarking included: “When Curvo shows us opportunities or when we pull specific categories, Curvo automatically provides us with price benchmarking. We don’t have to spend time going to another third party to pull pricing benchmarks. It’s just a normal part of [Curvo’s] reporting.”
What’s more, “It was extremely simple to get up and running,” Ms. Flick says with a chuckle. “[Curvo is] incredibly responsive. Also, they are constantly seeking our input. ‘What can we do better? Where are you missing some services?’ They allow us to provide feedback and they respond to it. That’s very refreshing,” Ms. Flick says.
Early Trend Spotting … with Easy RFPs
When Ms. Flick was initially shopping for a tool like Curvo’s, her organization was looking to automate the RFP process, which is exactly what they got with Curvo; they’re now able to move through RFPs very quickly — plus a whole lot more.
“Since then, we also look at spending, identifying differences in trends in our purchasing, including for new items and for items where cost has gone up or down. They annualize that impact for us,” Ms. Flick says.
“Normally, we’d catch some of that stuff only 50% of the time and it would take a lot of hours to find and pull that information,” Ms. Flick says.
Curvo regularly pushes this information in what they call a “Snapshot.” Ms. Flick tells us, “What’s beautiful about that is it provides all the information we need to forward to vendors and ask for clarification.” This leads them to a road of correction within minutes, rather than after days or weeks of research.
Fast and Timely Spend Analysis
How fast is fast? When Health Future asks for analysis, it’s already done.
Ms. Flick explains, “I work with some pretty big third parties who do spend analytics. Curvo can pump that stuff out in days … some of those bigger partners take weeks. And, with the bigger partners, that analysis is usually lagging about 90 days behind where we are today. With Curvo, it’s done every time we submit a new monthly spend report.”
Opportunities that Include Benchmarking
The opportunities are expanded exponentially when you can see benchmark costs built right into your report.
Ms. Flick says, as an example, they used solely Curvo for an RFP process for neuromodulation. “A big part of that was to help us see what impact we could have compared to base prices that we were seeing in benchmarking. We changed to a system price as opposed to an independent item price because of that,” Ms. Flick says. “That’s amazing in that space because it’s an emerging technology.” Health Future ended up saving $375,000 with this project. “We’re very, very happy.”
Curvo has helped Health Future reduce labor time and overhead, reduce spend on physician preferred categories, discover more opportunities in less time than their team ever could have done without adding a couple more staff, and more easily work remotely with spread-out facilities, CEOs, and CFOs. The ROI was tremendous:
- Neuromodulation RFP streamlining: $375,000 savings within three months.
- Neuromodulation, total joint, and osteobiologics initiatives altogether saved $2.8 million within the first year of using Curvo to augment other systems’ data.
How have Health Future team members responded to Curvo? “They love them!” Ms. Flick says. “It took them a while to figure out that they could use Curvo RFPs for anything, but adoption was quick once they realized the ease of use. Curvo has really transformed how we approach new opportunities.”