The Imperative of Technology Partnerships for Regional Purchasing Coalitions

The Imperative of Technology Partnerships for Regional Purchasing Coalitions

For Regional Purchasing Coalitions (RPCs), challenges with data collection, normalization and enrichment are just some of the obstacles they face. If unaddressed, these problems can impede volume commitments, contract compliance, favorable pricing, and more.

This blog delves into seven pivotal challenges faced by RPCs in centralized sourcing and how the engagement of a proficient technology partner fosters mutual success for both RPCs and their members.

  1. Scalability Issues in Data Management
  2. Central Repository for Enhanced Purchasing Power
  3. Normalization and Aggregation of Heterogeneous Data
  4. Expedited Sourcing Processes
  5. Scalable Practices and Technology
  6. Ensuring Member Compliance
  7. Enhanced Efficiency: From Manual Work to Automated Sourcing Management 

7 Reasons RPCs Turn to a Technology Partner

What problems send RPC leaders in search of better data and technology solutions? 

1 - Scalability Issues in Data Management

As RPCs expand their scope by welcoming new members, the associated data management complexities escalate exponentially. The management of data and Request for Proposals (RFPs) for a single entity or a small network is significantly distinct from the overwhelming task of representing a multitude of facilities.

The challenges include handling diverse member data streams, securing a common data lake, normalizing data across members, and establishing a user interface for comprehensive data analysis.

Most RPCs lack the right combination of internal technology and staff capabilities to scale beyond traditional spreadsheets to perform these critical duties. Recognizing their inherent limitations, strategic RPC leaders turn to external experts like Curvo for a comprehensive data solution that encompasses data capture, enrichment, and expedites the RFP workflow.

2 - Central Repository for Enhanced Purchasing Power

One of the primary RPC value drivers is accumulating member purchasing power. While the purchasing power of one individual facility alone may not be great, their combined volumes could be game-changing. The added spend volume of just one new member could be enough to push everyone in the RPC up to the next pricing tier.

But to know what the membership actually spends in specific categories; RPCs must aggregate data from members quickly (data is quickly outdated) into a secure central repository or data lake. From there, RPCs utilize the data to make sourcing decisions and build purchasing power.

Using a trained team and the Curvo Platform, Curvo Data Operations build and maintain the secure repositories needed for long-term RPC success.

3 - Normalization and Aggregation of Heterogeneous Data

Regional purchasing coalitions grapple with the inherent non-uniformity of hospital data. With numerous hospital members utilizing different systems and naming conventions, achieving data uniformity becomes a formidable task.

Acquiring member data in the first place is a common challenge. If an RPC can't easily and consistently get member data into their system, they are limited in their ability to act on it and provide value.

The success of the central repository hinges on effective data normalization and cleansing, a process that can be streamlined by collaborating with a seasoned technology partner capable of seamlessly ingesting data from diverse sources.

Curvo experts address this challenge not only by normalizing data, but also summarizing and aggregating information from disparate sources, facilitating actionable analysis. The Curvo Data Operations team works with member hospitals on behalf of the RPC to swiftly ingest and aggregate data into a secure central repository.

4 - Expedited Sourcing Processes

With traditional sourcing practices, contract events can take months. The problem stems from a combination of outdated manual processes, disjointed data, and limited team bandwidth. The data supporting certain RFPs and contracts can become outdated before decisions are made, diminishing its relevance and value in the decision-making process.

The implementation of Curvo Strategic Sourcing, an outsourced solution with integrated capabilities, can compress sourcing steps from months to just weeks. Sourcing automation further drives faster contract turnaround.

5 - Scalable Practices and Technology

How can RPCs cope with growth if they are struggling to manage the influx of data, analytics, and overall management load? Even the most efficient organizations struggle to merge dozens of spreadsheets into one dataset across all members, and report back out.

Scaling data management for RPCs becomes unfeasible with traditional practices, especially when dealing with multiple spreadsheets across numerous members. Outdated databases and manual approaches are insufficient, prompting RPC leaders to seek the expertise of a trusted technology partner like Curvo to modernize and scale capabilities.

6 - Ensuring Member Compliance

The RPC mission revolves around centralized sourcing and member commitments to volume, market share and compliance. Compliance ensures members adhere to established contracts, and suppliers appreciate and reward member commitment and compliance with favorable pricing. Some RPCs also limit contracted suppliers in exchange for more attractive contracts, further encouraging mutually beneficial relationships.

As a technology partner, Curvo manages compliance through effective data management. Curvo Sourcing Analytics help monitor the results of member compliance, resulting in enhanced bargaining power and loyal suppliers.

7 - Enhanced Efficiency: From Manual Work to Automated Sourcing Management

Manual data management not only burdens RPC employees, but also hinders them from focusing on more strategic contributions. The negative effect is compounded with every pricing event.

Engaging with a technology partner like Curvo alleviates this burden, and RPC teams can redirect their efforts towards strategic activities, such as member interactions, problem-solving, partnership growth, and clinical variation reduction.

How RPC Technology Problems Get Solved

Collaborating with technology partners like Curvo helps RPCs overcome the intricate challenges of data management and centralized sourcing. By addressing these issues, RPC leaders can unlock new opportunities, enhance member value, and ensure the sustainable growth of their coalitions.

Curvo frequently works with RPC leaders to address and resolve these seven challenges in order to deliver optimal member value. Read this case study about our results for Health Trust, then reach out to learn more about work we’re doing with other RPCs and how Curvo can help your organization.