Measuring Benefits

By Marla Weigert Print this article Print

Building an item master database that delivers standardization across disparate systems and data sources significantly reduced costs and improved services for Premier Purchasing Partners’ members.

Measuring Benefits

To demonstrate continuous process improvement, we implemented a measurement scorecard that quantifies data integrity improvements, cycle times, throughput and match rates. Using the next-generation semantic-based solution, we have delivered the following process improvements:

  • Match rates immediately increased by 11 percent and are now up by 30 percent.
  • Operating costs have been significantly reduced. We project we’ll save an average of $4 million to $5 million per year.
  • Cycle times for bringing on new customers decreased from an average of 16 weeks to three.
  • Increased automation enables us to cleanse and standardize items manually on an exception-only basis.
  • Since we built business rules at the item level, changes don’t affect other product categories.

Additional qualitative benefits include continually expanding our offerings to our customers, thereby enhancing their satisfaction. We also enjoy a significant competitive advantage in our sales cycles because our expanded services are critical differentiators.

Recruitment efforts are easier, too, because prospective members want access to the accurate data we routinely provide to our members. Finally, our employees feel pride of ownership because they can give answers more quickly based on this reliable data. And working for an organization that is at the forefront of its industry gives a big boost to employee morale.

In the short term, our goal is to adopt the best available technology to deliver the best possible service at the lowest cost. In the long term, we look for ways to drive the definition and adoption of industry standards, which will ultimately eliminate significant costs from the information supply chain.

To help drive industry standards, Premier became a founding member of the Coalition for Healthcare eStandards, which promotes the adoption and use of open data standards in the health care industry. The coalition is now a committee of the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association, which is currently chaired by Premier’s CIO. We also actively participate in the development of standards for global data synchronization.

Premier’s ultimate goal is to fundamentally change the way the health care supply chain operates by bringing more transparency and consistency to all phases of the process. We’ve successfully achieved greater procurement transparency by building an item master database that delivers standardization across highly disparate systems and data sources. Going forward, we plan to link this item master to our benchmarking database of clinical procedures and outcomes to drive transparency into procedural efficiency.

We believe delivering better data improves transparency in the process and helps achieve greater efficiencies. And we are well on our way to achieving this goal for the benefit of our members, the health care industry and, ultimately, all patients.

This article was originally published on 2008-10-30
Marla Weigert, group vice president, Purchasing Partners Data/Technology.
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