Moving beyond PPI, increasing cost savings

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | March 01, 2021
From the January/February 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

However, due to their physicians’ different training and backgrounds, their preferences for the devices vary widely.

Dr. Christopher J. White, medical director of value based care at the health system, and his team conducted an evidence-based search using a library tool called LumiR. They gathered the information and disseminated it to about 58 of their cardiologists.

They then polled individual cardiologists and asked them to rank their preferences. The data revealed that there was no consensus favorite.

But when they were shown this data, 57 of them agreed that 90% of the time they will go with the best price from a single vendor. The other 10% of the time, a physician could select a specific device if needed.

“I let my supply chain guys make the best deal they could,” said White. “That worked, and we put our preferred vendor on the shelves.”

His team monitored utilization out of the cath lab quarterly and if someone fell below the 90% level, then the preferred device was the only thing offered to that cath lab until they achieved that 90%. As a result, they experienced “significant savings.”

“This is a partnership and I think for many years, physicians assumed that they weren’t necessarily part of the big picture, but the more you engage your clinicians [and] be transparent, we’ve actually found that physicians are very interested,” said Dr. Christopher Kwolek, co-chair of perioperative products and the technology steering committee at Partners HealthCare.

Getting buy-in and engagement from physicians also proved to be especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. In White’s case, the crisis necessitated vendor consolidation and while his organization was able to avoid furloughs and pay cuts, this consolidation was still taxing for its physicians.

“[We were] asking for more commitment than we normally would, asking for more give than we normally would get,” White said. “This was expensive and we needed to find ways to save, and this was [their] contribution to Oschner getting on the other side of this COVID challenge.”

He said this process yielded very positive results.

“We saw cooperation and actually bottom-up ideas about better ways to save,” said White. “It was a very gratifying two or three months there in the summer when we would see everybody pulling each other up.”

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