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Improving Patient Outcomes with Integrated Materials Management

Published: August 14, 2017
Jennifer Stango is the Senior Director, Health and Life Sciences, at Tribridge. Read More

The IHI Triple Aim is one of the largest trends impacting materials management today. The Triple Aim pursues three objectives – improving quality of care, improving population health and reducing the cost of health. All three of these objectives are centered on a patient, but how can healthcare organizations impact patient outcomes without changing their materials management processes?

Materials management processes are not currently tied to patient outcomes. It has been traditionally tied to cost savings in healthcare organizations. The biggest limitation to materials impacting patient outcomes is that the electronic medical record system is not integrated to a materials management system. The lack of integration and visibility into the two disparate systems has caused supply waste and materials hoarding.

In many cases, the burden of maintaining the supply falls on the nurse and detracts from his or her primary job function: providing patient care. Instead, nurses and other caregivers tend to overstock or hoard materials to reduce their trips to supply rooms so that they can meet patients’ needs in a timely manner. Unfortunately the patient focus, which is extremely important, is causing healthcare organizations to throw money away due to expired or contaminated materials.

Healthcare organizations can alleviate this and improve patient outcomes by integrating their electronic medical record system and materials management system. When a procedure is scheduled, the nurse or caregiver knows what materials are required for that patient. These scheduled procedures create a supply requisition in the materials management system. The supply requisitions can be filled by the materials managers and delivered to the nurse or other provider in time for the patient's appointment. Nurses and providers will have more time to focus on the patient. Materials managers will be focused on having the right supplies when needed.

When a healthcare organization takes on a patient-focused materials management system, they can reduce the number of trips a caregiver is making to a supply room, make the materials managers responsible for having the right materials in the right place when they are needed, reduce materials waste, reduce patient wait times and improve overall patient outcomes.

Here are other ways healthcare organizations are using patient focused materials management systems to improve patient outcomes:

Materials Management Data Analytics

Instead of analyzing materials data to just determine the best price, healthcare organizations are evaluating materials data to identify items that should be used to provide the optimum outcome for a patient. They can evaluate successful procedures, which materials were used as well supplier data. They can also evaluate failed procedures in the same manner.

Collaborative Relationships between Materials Managers and Care Providers

Materials managers and care providers typically do not collaborate. As patient focused materials management systems become more predominant, healthcare organizations have created teams consisting of materials managers and care providers to discuss supply replenishment processes, product issues, and ideas on how to improve patient outcomes.

Learn how The Polyclinic, a physician led multi-specialty clinic in Seattle, streamlined its supply chain and reduced inventory turns, carrying costs, and waste from expired materials and improved overall patient care with the Tribridge Materials Management solution.

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