Charlotte, N.C. – Health systems continue to focus on engaging and collaborating with physicians to advance purchasing efficiency. While progress is being made, some physicians aren’t buying in, according to the Premier healthcare alliance’s spring 2013 Economic Outlook survey.
Almost half of the 530 responses cited increased physician-system collaboration around clinical value and cost containment among the trends expected to have the greatest impact on their supply chains over the next year. Resource utilization was cited by 44 percent of respondents, up 14 percent from six months ago.
However, survey respondents – primarily hospital C-suite, and materials and practice area managers – suggest there’s work to be done to advance this collaboration: 29 percent cited a lack of willingness on the part of physicians as the top barrier to integrating care across all settings.
Providers are working to address this issue. When asked for the two areas in which health systems are dedicating the most resources (financial, labor) to improve their supply chains, 37 percent of respondents chose product standardization, an 11 percent increase from fall 2012. Building relationships with physicians and clinicians (27 percent) and reducing costs for physician preference items (PPIs – 25 percent) were also often cited.
“Many of the barriers to clinical integration that we’re seeing are a matter of getting out of our comfort zones,” says Tim Kirby, executive vice president of system alignment and integration, Methodist Health System (Dallas). “Physicians have traditionally been trained to be independent. We’re now asking our physicians and clinicians to work as a team to manage patient health.”
St. Joseph, MO-based Heartland Health is also focusing on enhancing physician engagement, according to President and CEO Mark Laney, MD. “We paired physicians with other leaders in the organization so that physicians are at the table for all major organizational decisions. It has really helped us gain physician alignment.”
In addition, the percent of survey respondents who would “definitely” try a non-branded PPI increased 26 percent over the past six months.
“Willingness among physicians to try new devices and supplies is intertwined with increased physician-system collaboration since it’s necessary to get physician buy-in on many supply changes,” said Premier’s Chief Operating Officer Michael J. Alkire. “This is essential to successful collaboration among practitioners and supply chain management to meet system-wide goals.”
Thirty-five percent of respondents predict their organization’s cost savings goals as the existing factor having the greatest impact on their supply chain in the next year, a 20 percent increase from six months prior. Integrating the supply chain across the continuum of care was cited by 15 percent of respondents.
Streamlining purchasing across all facilities through a centralized channel is one way to reduce supply costs, as well as standardize purchases across the continuum of care. Many survey respondents (35 percent) reported to have centralized purchasing for all of their owned, leased, or managed and affiliate facilities.
Premier President of Supply Chain Services Durral Gilbert noted, “Moving toward ACOs and payment reform, it’s becoming imperative for providers to tie their decisions about supplies and procedures back to cost and patient outcomes. There’s a real need to improve connectivity beyond the acute care setting, and that’s where health systems are looking to drive costs down, improve the quality of care they provide and enhance the patient experience.”
Spring 2013 Economic Outlook survey results released earlier this year suggest providers are projecting a significant shift in 2013 admissions from inpatient to outpatient settings as they transition toward new care delivery models.
About the Economic Outlook
Premier’s Economic Outlook highlights emerging economic and industry trends impacting alliance members and the overall industry. The publication leverages subject matter expertise to build consensus from diverse points of view while highlighting best practices and strategies needed to drive performance improvement.
The spring 2013 edition includes insights from Premier member experts, including:
Eric Bieber, MD, chief medical officer, University Hospitals (Cleveland);
Michelle Darnell, vice president of systems improvement, St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Inc. (Mount Vernon/Centralia, Ill.);
Tim Kirby, executive vice president of system alignment and integration, Methodist Health System (Dallas);
Mark Laney, MD, president and CEO, Heartland Health (St. Joseph, Mo.);
Keith Suedmeyer, director of social services, St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Inc. (Mount Vernon/Centralia, Ill.); and
Ferdinand Velasco, M.D., FHIMSS, vice president and chief health information officer, Texas Health Resources (Arlington, Texas)
About the Premier healthcare alliance, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient
Premier is one of the nation’s largest performance improvement alliance of approximately 2,800 U.S. community hospitals and 95,000 alternate sites using the power of collaboration and technology to lead the transformation to coordinated, high-quality, cost-effective care. Owned by healthcare providers, Premier operates a leading purchasing network that provided members more than $5 billion in savings in FY2012. Premier also maintains clinical, financial and outcomes databases based on 1 in every 4 patient discharges. A world leader in measurably improving patient care, Premier has one of the largest performance improvement collaboratives in America, including one in partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier also has an office in Washington. https://www.premierinc.com. Stay connected with Premier on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.