Achieving High-Reliability Requires a Holistic Perspective

Providing healthcare has gravity, because the consequences of failure can be dire. Operating in this environment has driven many healthcare organizations to strive to become a High-Reliability Organization, or HRO. HROs are organizations that operate in complex, high-risk environments with fewer than normal accidents or catastrophic failures.

High-reliability is important in direct clinical activities, but high-reliability is just as important for support functions that have an indirect but significant impact on outcomes. Think about it: a late supply delivery or a damaged lab sample can negatively impact care and patient outcomes. Conversely, efficient and reliable intra-company logistics supports providers’ commitments to high-reliability.

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Partnering for Innovation: Break the Mold and Let Vendors Work for You

By Bonni Kaplan DeWoskin, Vice President of Marketing, MedSpeed

To solicit the most competitive bid for goods or services, healthcare organizations frequently issue a traditional Request for Proposal (RFP) to various vendors. Sure, a traditional RFP should get you the best price on beds for your new hospital wing, but it may not be the most effective way to solicit proposals for services because purchasing services is often very different.

An RFP predetermines the right solution for a problem, which makes sense for product purchases, but could mean missed opportunities when purchasing services.

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Turns Out, Intra-Company Logistics & Transportation Are Important to Healthcare Leaders

A recent survey conducted by The Health Management Academy found that logistics and the coordination of transportation across healthcare organizations is increasingly important to healthcare leaders, which is no surprise but nonetheless great for our industry. The survey polled Chief Operating Officers (COOs), Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Strategy Officers (CSOs) at 21 leading health systems about their awareness, perspective and strategy around intra-company logistics.

More than three-quarters (76%) reported that their health system has been involved in activities that have increased the scale and/or complexity of the organization in the past 18 months, and of those, 69% have seen an impact on the organization’s transportation operations.

I was especially encouraged by two major findings from the survey:

  • 75% reported that their organization has a defined strategy for intra-company logistics
  • 100% reported that achieving systemness is very important to their health system
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MedSpeed on the Crain’s Fast 50

I am pleased to share that MedSpeed is one of Crain’s Chicago Business Fast 50, which recognizes the 50 Chicagoland businesses with the highest five-year growth rates. Nice honor aside, milestones like this make me think back to the days when we were a small team in a single office outside of Chicago with the ambition of making a positive contribution to healthcare by delivering health to patients, providers and their communities. It also makes me think about how we got from there to where we are now, which I think really comes down to two key points.

First, there was a need for a more strategic approach to connecting healthcare facilities. Our service not only eliminates waste and provides exceptional quality, but also helps healthcare organizations to harness the economies of scale as they grow and change. This is something that is more important than ever in a new healthcare environment of value-based care and system consolidation.

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In an Era of Big Data, the Key Is Integration

By Dan Blake, Chief Technology Officer, MedSpeed

In the era of big data, integration is key, but unfortunately, healthcare software has a long way to go in terms of interoperability and integration. Too often there’s a lack of transparency and automated integration—aspects that have been commonplace for years in other industries like retail and finance. If healthcare providers and those who partner with them want to mimic the customer experience and efficient workflows of retail and finance, it’s imperative that all partners and health systems address these integration shortcomings.

As an intra-company logistics provider, data integration is particularly critical. We integrate clinical, financial and supply chain data from disparate systems, to help our clients better manage costs, better track utilization, and procure and move products in an efficient and timely manner.

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Earn Their Trust and Let Nurses be Nurses

This week is National Nurses Week, and it’s important to recognize the invaluable role nurses play in American hospitals and how we as an industry can maximize their impact on patient care. Nurses are on the frontline of healthcare, ensuring patients receive consistent attention and high-quality care. But when nurses end up responsible for “below license” tasks like placing supply orders, checking inventory and moving supplies, a hospital’s most important talent assets are diverted away from patient care.

At MedSpeed, we know that supply chain shouldn’t be a nurse’s job. By ensuring items are delivered on time and stocked in the right quantities, we help hospitals build trust with their nurses. When nurses trust their supply chain, they’re less likely to resort to habits like hoarding or overordering just to ensure adequate supplies for their patients. Building trust among nurses enables them to do the jobs they’re intended to do, which leads to higher satisfaction for staff and patients.

Here is my full blog post on this subject on Modern Healthcare.

Is the ‘Sharing Economy’ the Disrupter Healthcare Needs?

Tech startups pioneered the “sharing economy,” allowing people to repurpose their assets to provide a variety of goods and services, such as a shared car ride, bike or place to stay. It’s very beneficial to take this concept of sharing assets one step further and look at in the context of systemness and how sharing makes healthcare more efficient.

According to industry reports, equipment utilization in healthcare could be as low as 40 percent. What if instead of medical and surgical equipment being viewed as fixed assets that belong to a facility or even a specific hospital wing or operating room, forward-looking leaders examined ways to share equipment across growing networks, so those valuable assets aren’t sitting around underused?

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The Answer to Innovative Healthcare? It’s Probably Outside the Walls of Your Hospital

South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX, has gained a reputation as a conference where cutting edge technology and ideas are launched. To give you an idea, 11 years ago Twitter launched at SXSW. So, it’s not surprising that other hot ideas—including those related to healthcare—were being discussed in Austin last month.

On opening day of SXSW, there was a panel discussion that included three execs from UPMC discussing how their organization is piloting a program whereby UPMC becomes a strategic investor in healthcare-related start-ups.

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How the Barrier Between Competitors and Collaborators is Changing in Healthcare

As a panelist at the upcoming Becker’s Hospital Review 9th Annual Meeting, I was asked my thoughts on what’s happening in healthcare today. To my eyes, one of the most interesting developments is how the barrier between competitors and collaborators is changing.

Today, everything in healthcare points toward value and enhanced patient/customer experience. To succeed, healthcare companies realize there is value in letting go of their desire to control all functions. Instead, they are exploring opportunities to collaborate both with each other and with outside entities to create greater value.

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Improve Outcomes and Cut Costs: Standardize and centralize to hit the sweet spot

Variation is in the crosshairs of the Triple Aim. Whether in the form of differing lengths of stay, unnecessary emergency care or variant lab test processing times, variation can impact disparities in quality, outcomes and patient experience.

Standardization initiatives that focus on the clinical layer but overlook how problems in support functions like printing or food service create variations in care, are missing opportunities for standardization.

To read more about eliminating variation to meet the Triple Aim, read my most recent blog post on Modern Healthcare.

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