Why the Supply Chain Process Needs Quick Search Capability

Why the Supply Chain Process Needs Quick Search Capability

Value analysis and category leaders at health systems are stretched for resources now more than ever. In order to scale for growing new product requests while responding quickly, these teams are actively looking for ways to automate the manual supply chain process. One area where current processes are both manual and time consuming is related to the research required in advance of new product committee meetings. These teams have tools available for the new product introduction workflow, however, the product research proves to be especially difficult and time consuming. 

With many tools, it’s difficult to quickly search for and find answers about clinical products used in a health system. Information is often kept in several different places and teams need to run multiple searches to gather and prepare information on a single product or line item supply. This becomes an exponential problem when faced with a long list of new product requests or when trying to address a complex category like total joints or spine. With tools such as Lookup by Curvo, teams who are searching for research on new products are able to more easily and quickly gather the insights they need from one place, which allows them to confidently prepare for meetings with vendors and committees, and inform stronger negotiations. 

The problem: Incomplete and siloed data

Value analysis teams at healthcare organizations receive new product requests frequently from many different clinical areas. They are often expected to research the products thoroughly and meet with the various teams to present data and information related to the request. Preparation is critical ahead of those meetings. In many cases, however, their internal data sets do not have the required information in a purchase order history or in an item master, so they need to find that information through several external resources.

The two types of information that these teams typically need include: 1) elements related to product specification and details, and 2) benchmark performances and pricing insights. Product specifications may include the approval path, recall events, drilling down for high-level cross references by GMDN (Global Medical Device Nomenclature) or GIC (Generic Implant Classification), the Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUDID), the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), as well as details on material, unit of measure and size. Benchmark performances and pricing insights give a big picture view of how clinical products perform and how they are priced throughout the industry, but some benchmarking solutions may not have a quick search function, which causes long lead times for reports that also yield low match rates. The value analysis teams need this information to relay to their clinical colleagues. However, if the information is not accessible in one central place, it can take a significant amount of time (ten to twenty minutes or more per item), as well as internal and external resources, to track down or the data collated may be inaccurate or incomplete. Late, missing, inadequate or incorrect information can negatively impact negotiations with vendors.

Unbiased insight and informed negotiations

Having a quick search capability for new products is critical, because without this tool, value analysis teams are reliant on what the vendor says a particular product can do. When the vendor quotes a price for a new product and the value analysis team does not have a purchase order history, they can check with the group purchasing organization (GPO), but as GPO benchmarks are often limited to what is on contract, this may not give them enough insight on a particular aspect of a product, such as price performance. Value analysis teams are then faced with conducting vendor negotiations in a vacuum and having to trust in how the vendor is pricing the product.

Real-world benefits of quick search capability

Having a quick search tool, such as Lookup, tackles challenges that value analysis teams face on a daily basis such as price transparency, researching new products, analyzing contract files, and presenting data to vendors and committees, as well as getting to the best price negotiation. Quick search tools such as Lookup also help ensure that these teams have enough information to make better decisions while having what they need to bring to business reviews and negotiations. 

As an example, by using the Lookup tool, the Saint Francis Healthcare System saved $256K during the first two weeks of using the tool. They saved $70K on a single item when they shared Lookup pricing information with a vendor and requested the 75th percentile pricing – the vendor changed the pricing that same day. 

Lookup is also being used by large enterprise Healthcare Value Analysis teams who want to drive operational savings. Currently, it can take hours and hours to prepare for new product committee meetings because they have to research product information in multiple sources to build the value analysis on a new clinical product. 

Curvo’s Lookup for quick search capability

As value analysis teams adopt quick search tools, they eliminate the challenge of waiting days to weeks for the information that they need. No matter what information they are referring to for benchmarking, these teams still need a quick search capability, which is where Lookup by Curvo comes in. This tool has proven to give teams the confidence and ability to obtain the necessary benchmark performance and pricing insights to arm them with the insights they need to make the best negotiations, bring in better products and, ultimately, help improve patient outcomes.

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