Shopping Tips to Save Hospitals Money

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media , November 26, 2012

Comparison-shop. Most hospitals assess their vendor contracts periodically, but don't forget that brand loyalty isn't a bad thing—especially if you want to secure a great price.

Vendor selection should encompass numerous phases, from a spend analysis to price comparison to product efficacy, and then result in a contract. But the work doesn't stop once you sign the agreement. if you want to truly reduce your revenue cycle costs, cultivate supplier relationship management (SRM).

SRM is an approach to managing interactions with the vendors that supply goods and services by creating a common communication and goal-setting structure between the hospital and supplier. Typically, buyers and suppliers use different business practices and terminology. The objective is to increase the efficiency in acquiring goods and services, managing inventory, and processing materials for not only the hospital but also the vendor.

Intermountain Healthcare, the 22-hospital, $3.6-billion healthcare system headquartered in Salt Lake City, usesd an SRM approach in working with a sterilization vendor over a six-year period. The result was reduced costs by $2 million per year. Intermountain and the sterilization vendor were able to share information and track monthly performance metrics against annual goals.

"This trusting relationship has provided excellent benefits for both parties," said Brent Johnson, vice president of supply chain and imaging services and chief purchasing officer at Intermountain.

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