Operational Efficiency

Sustainability for Successful Healthcare Management

Traditionally, when we hear the word “sustainability,” it conjures up ideas of the health of the environment and the idea of “going green.” And that is clearly a very large part of the sustainability movement, but the concept of sustainability extends further.

MedSpeed is a member of Practice Greenhealth, a not-for profit organization whose mission is to be “the source for environmental solutions for the healthcare sector that lends support to create better, safer, greener workplaces and communities.” Earlier this year, Laura Wenger, Executive Director of Practice Greenhealth wrote, “Sustainability isn’t just about environmental stewardship. As the [health] sector faces increased financial pressures, more hospitals and health care facilities should prioritize sustainability as a way to strategically manage rising costs.”

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Stretching Outside of the Four Hospital Walls

Not long ago, adding more patient beds was the principle capital expenditure for many health systems and hospitals. But in today’s environment of value-based care, that has changed.

Healthcare leaders are shifting their capital strategies. According to “Reevaluating capital spending strategies”, from Healthcare Finance News, “As healthcare reimbursement shifts from a system that rewards quantity of care to quality of care, the onus is on the CFO to determine where best to allocate financial resources.”

Now, in order to provide care outside of traditional settings, systems focus on outpatient care and deploy capital to acquire physician practices that grow their reach.  Systems are also more prudent about equipment purchases and work to share equipment between facilities.

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Integration: Early in the game of healthcare reform

At the recent annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco—“where Wall Street meets healthcare to talk business,” according to HealthLeaders the themes ranged from preparing for the newly insured to continuing the expansion of clinically integrated networks. The conference included both for-profit and not-for-profit health systems discussing what had helped make them successful in this early stage of healthcare reform.

Clinical integration is a hot topic for any healthcare system, regardless of profit status in this early stage of healthcare reform. And that’s because success is dependent on it. As Chicago-based Advocate Health Care executive vice president Lee B. Sacks MD noted at the conference, “Clinical integration has allowed us to advance in value-based care.”

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CFOs and the Supply Chain: A winning strategy

Over the past couple of years, in this space you’ve seen the discussion about supply chain as a strategic asset for healthcare organizations, and how important it is that those in the C-suite understand and view it as such.  A recent Dow Jones/Deloitte Risk & Compliance Journal report titled “How CFOs Are Reshaping Supply Chains” makes this case very compellingly.

The report notes that while both chief risk officers (CROs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) have long been involved with supply chain oversight, finance chiefs—with their eyes on cost controls, risk management and the levers of working capital—are increasingly involving themselves.

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Practicing Sustainability, Not Just Preaching It

Back in the winter, I wrote about the benefits of sustainability in healthcare. The study I cited, sponsored by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) showed that sustainability initiatives could save the healthcare industry billions over several years. At that time I noted that we were going to look for more ways to continue our own sustainability efforts.

I’m very pleased to announce that MedSpeed has joined Practice Green Health, an organization that supports “environmental solutions for the healthcare sector and lends support to create better, safer, greener workplaces and communities.” This nonprofit membership organization was founded on the principles of positive environmental stewardship to support best practices by organizations in the healthcare community.

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Prepared to Care

This week, May 12-18, is National Hospital Week. The American Hospital Association began celebrating National Hospital week more than 90 years ago to “celebrate the history, technology and dedicated professionals” in hospitals.

This year’s theme for National Hospital Week is “Prepared to Care.” The 60-second video that the AHA put together on their website, speaks to how those who work in hospitals are called to serve and care.

While we at MedSpeed are not officially part of a hospital, the role that our Logistic Service Representatives (LSRs) play is very much part of the hospital’s chain of care. Our LSRs have daily interaction with hospital staff members and their outstanding efforts show how dedicated and “prepared to care” they are.

This year, at the end of March—as sometimes happens here in the Midwest—there was a snowstorm that created terrible road conditions.  Our LSR, Rick Warburton was trying to maneuver around some of the other cars, but lost traction and ended up off the road. 

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Healthcare transportation in 2015 and beyond: What does the future hold?

The last of my blog posts discussing our roundtable at the Fall 2012 IDN Summit covers our participants’ commentary on what the future holds for them.  What became clear from our discussion with these supply chain leaders is that health systems can no longer get by with the status quo.

Everyone acknowledged that doing things the way they’ve always been done is not a recipe for success. Health systems need to pay attention to previously overlooked areas, such as healthcare transportation, to see how they can improve and simplify the supply chain and ultimately better integrate the entire organization.

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If it’s not your core competency: Outsource it

This third installment stemming from the round table discussion with supply chain leaders that MedSpeed recently hosted is focused on outsourcing.

In our session, participants reiterated what we have heard in previous discussions: healthcare is their specialty, not transportation. Operating an in-house courier network or managing multiple third party couriers steals valuable time and resources from a health system’s ability to focus on its core competency of high quality patient care. Moreover, the shift towards outsourcing in order to become more nimble and to more effectively manage resources is thematically applicable to other non-core functions within the health system.

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The big unknown about healthcare transportation: Hidden costs

This is the second of four installments stemming from the round table discussion with supply chain leaders that MedSpeed recently hosted.

After discussing how rapidly U.S. health systems are changing and the demand of managing the supply chain amidst constant growth, the discussion moved on to another challenge faced by the supply chain leaders who participated in the discussion: that they, like most organizations, do not even know where to begin to truly understand healthcare transportation costs.

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Winds of change: As health systems expand, so must transportation operations

Here is the first of four installments stemming from the round table discussion with supply chain leaders that MedSpeed recently hosted.

One of the hottest topics the group discussed is how rapidly U.S. health systems are changing. Care is moving beyond the four walls of the hospital and health systems are growing quickly through acquisitions and strategic partnerships.

Hospitals and health systems will look very different tomorrow than they look today. Given that the reach of systems is much further than it was, managing the supply chain amidst constant growth creates a big obstacle.

What our supply chain leaders had to say, in their own words:

“I see a complexity that wasn’t there even a year or two ago. What used to be a very simple courier system

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