How Health Systems Can Avoid Being “Data Rich, Information Poor”

By Medline Newsroom Staff | September 16, 2019

Hospitals are increasingly using best-in-class tools to manage complex supply chains. While these tools are often useful and effective, they generally help solve localized inventory issues, whether in the OR, or a long-term care facility. As a result, hospitals may soon find they have a half dozen systems and data platforms.

This creates the unfortunate scenario where hospitals are “data rich, but information poor.” None of these tools generally create structured data. In other words, the tools support the collection of data, but not necessarily the analysis of that data in a broader context.

In order to structure data, organizations need to first take a step back and ask themselves what questions they are trying to answer. Then they need to figure out what discreet data elements they need to assemble into a central “data warehouse.” Once an organization has this consolidated data in place, they can begin to glean more impactful insights from it.

For most hospitals and health systems, this level of data analysis is probably a few years off.

“Don’t get me wrong, hospitals are definitely gathering insights from their data,” says Robert Jones, director of supply chain optimization at Medline. “What I’ve seen from talking to systems around the country, however, is they’re mostly doing ad-hoc reviews of individual processes. They’re gathering and analyzing data, but not in a consistent way, week-to-week, month-to-month, year-to-year. The analysis screen of an inventory management tool isn’t going to give an organization what it needs to ask pressing, challenging questions like ‘how does clinical spend correlate to patient outcomes.’”

Before organizations can tackles questions of that complexity, they need to have a centralized method of tracking inventory and gathering relevant data. Helios is an RIFD-powered tracking system that allows administrators to track usage and inventory on a single platform across their entire system.

Having a system like Helios in place can not only lead to greater analytical reach, it can also generate significant saving. Systems leveraging this technology have seen a 15% decrease in charge capture and a 25% decrease in inventory because of the data they receive in real time. Lower inventory translates to increases in working capital that health systems can then direct towards programs and investments that directly help patients.


Learn more about how Medline helps health systems become more efficient.

Categories: Supply Chain

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline's newsroom staff researches and reports on the latest news and trends in healthcare.

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