Mat Oram of AdviseInc discusses whether improved procurement procedures lead to better patient outcomes
Discrepancies between hospitals and inbred inefficiencies have long led to increased cost and inefficiencies. Price benchmarking from a procurement perspective is often solely around a product, not services or maintenance. However, the information in a purchase order line cannot provide enough detail to provide a side-by-side comparison for procurement managers to understand where the true savings lie.
For the past 8 years AdviseInc has been developing a revolutionary system to change the procurement landscape across hospital networks via a nationwide product price benchmarking system in the clinical theatre space. We deliver price benchmarking to 80 NHS Trusts in England, all NHS Wales, all Northern Ireland and 25 per cent of all Scottish NHS spend. We have provided transparency across billions of pounds of NHS spend for the first time.
Full spend visibility
By cross-referencing and cross-checking the product code, AdviseInc’s software allows visibility across the individual NHS trust networks, not only reducing variation, but saving money and reducing clinical risk. However, to address the need for direct price comparisons across the whole NHS, we have created a Procurement Dashboard or PD, an intuitive dashboard providing full spend analytics. Through PD, we see every non-pay related spend that goes through the hospital, whether it’s drugs, estates, or computers across most of the UK. We have data on about £150 billion of the NHS spend at our fingertips – we can tell you what was bought, who it was bought from and how much they spent, down to the person who brought it to approval. We give each hospital full visibility.
Building on PD, we developed a further service – PD Plus, and that plus is us. We recognised that our customers struggled to optimise the features of PD due to a lack of time and capability, so we do it for them. We create very detailed reports, giving our clients everything about clinical variation, from Trust to Trust.
Nobody has been able to classify this kind of data before. Not only do we present it back to the hospitals, but we are adding a layer of classification that nobody else has ever seen in the UK, and perhaps the world. It is the first time I have ever seen data like this, which is why we are so excited about it.
Reducing clinical risk
Crucially we are focusing on reporting levels of clinical variation and increasing levels of standardisation across the board. Too often we see procurement offices ordering 12 versions of the same product where others will limit their stock to one – all we do is ask the clinicians why.
It’s this sort of conversation that takes place through our PD Plus service that conducts more in-depth analysis and works with clinical teams to reduce this variation. In doing so, we are reducing clinical risk. Where there are different versions of products, there are different systems and sets of tools that go behind those products in the operating theatre. When a nurse or other practitioner comes in, they all have to be aware of these variations. If there is only one set of tools, the risk is reduced because there cannot be any overlap. To drive outcomes, one must reduce variation. That’s what we do and, by helping financially, we are also helping with better patient outcomes.
So how do we do this? We have developed analytics that sit on top of inventory management systems that help track all the products in a theatre storeroom, monitoring low stock, out of date equipment and pricing changes. Every time an order is raised we can track manufacturer changes, such as price increases, and eliminate administrative inefficiencies.
Going live in March, our NEW AdviseInc platform will launch, allowing a faster turnaround of data and analysis. We are going to be able to offer mobile optimisation, with a new, uncluttered visualisation package.
Further to this, we have developed Control Tower, that sits on top of lots of data in our new platform allowing Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) across the UK see which hospital is out of tolerance across key areas. It is designed to help a customer navigate massive volumes of data to get to an action point. We are allowing ICSs the best possible view of their landscape, enabling them to bolster their effectiveness and again improving patient outcomes.
Our tools provide a self-serve analysis of colossal datasets to support quicker and smarter decisions across the procurement framework. Detailed product information, product pictures and information about the suppliers all contribute to a comprehensive support system for each hospital. We’ve become a one stop shop for everything to do with procurement analytics.