Why IDNs Are Embracing Standardization

By Medline Newsroom Staff | March 5, 2019

A generation ago, hospitals faced a different landscape. They could choose to work with any number of vendors, without much thought to efficiency and redundancies. Within the four walls of a hospital, individual departments would often manage their own purchasing and inventory, leading to hundreds of different vendors serving one facility.

Since the shift to value-based care, providers face new pressures to meet clinical standards to avoid paying penalties. With clinical results tied so closely to payment, hospitals are acquiring non-acute facilities, such as urgent care centers and physician offices, to better control quality and outcomes. Reducing clinical variance throughout a health system helps systems ensure consistent care, quality outcomes and positive patient experiences.

As health systems grow, their list of vendors do as well. For example, a newly acquired facility may have different EMR and ERP platforms from the acquiring hospital, making it difficult to analyze data system-wide. Without this system-wide transparency, IDNs could end up with different facilities, or even different departments within the same facility, paying separate prices for the exact same product.  Large systems are realizing they need a system-wide view of their supplies to make informed purchasing and planning decisions.

“Health systems that embrace standardization are ahead of the curve,” says Doug Golwas, SVP of Corporate Sales at Medline, whose team serves hundreds of Chief Supply Chain Officers at some of the country’s largest IDNs. “With the cost of care outgrowing the cost of revenue, we see health systems grappling with how to standardize care while allowing for some clinical preference flexibility.”

Take exam gloves, for example. Instead of offering doctors dozens if not hundreds of gloves to choose from, forward-thinking IDNs are polling clinicians about their preferences and then working with Medline to refine their purchasing options down to a manageable number, say six gloves across the continuum of care. That way, they can offer clinicians a range of products to accommodate their preferences, while still curtailing the worst inefficiencies related to non-standardized purchasing. Mindful purchasing also allows systems to lower their inventory-on-hand, generating additional savings and freeing up valuable space within their facilities.


Learn more about how Medline is co-creating supply chains solutions to support long-term growth plans at the nation’s top IDNs.


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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