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June 21, 2023

Addressing the Crisis in Health Care Spending: Reducing Variability for Improved Patient Outcomes

The current state of health care spending in the United States is a cause for concern, with unsustainable costs and significant waste. Jimmy Chung, M.D., chief medical officer at Advantus, highlights the key issues contributing to this crisis.

Below are some of the strategies Dr. Chung proposed in an article with The Journal of Healthcare Contracting to combat the current crisis in health care spending.

Jimmy Chung

Reduce Variability

One crucial aspect of tackling the health care spending crisis is minimizing unnecessary variability in clinical care delivery. Dr. Chung emphasizes the negative consequences of having numerous vendors for orthopedic implants at a hospital, leading to a multitude of surgical approaches and potential mistakes. Advantus Health Partners focuses on streamlining health care purchasing, aiming to standardize the process and eliminate variability. By providing vetted products based on value and quality rather than physician preference, Advantus seeks to engage clinicians in a supply chain model that prioritizes patient outcomes.

Standardize Tools in Supply Chain Operations

Health systems are increasingly recognizing the importance of standardization and best patient outcomes. Organizations like AHRMM and SMI are actively working to reduce waste and variability. SMI’s Critical Product Attributes Framework offers a common structure and language for health care organizations to identify critical products during times of crisis. This tool aims to standardize the process of defining product criticality among trading partners and supports the broader use of SMI’s Resilience Maturity Model, driving a more resilient supply chain to meet future demands.

Team Up with Physicians

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the critical role of supply chain management in health care. Physicians, who traditionally focused solely on patient care, became involved in supply chain decisions during the crisis. Medical directors and physician advisors now play pivotal roles in communicating with physicians about product changes and reducing variability.

Avoid Unnecessary Risks for Patients

Standardization in health care is not only crucial for operational efficiency, but also for ensuring consistent and predictable patient outcomes.

“Patients are at risk for different outcomes if the same surgery is done in different ways. Some will have worse outcomes than others or some might have a longer length of stay,” shares Dr. Chung.

Supply chain professionals can collaborate with physicians to drive the conversation and align efforts toward achieving better standardizations that benefit both physicians and patients.

Partner with supply chain management experts

Contact us and let us know what supply chain challenges your organization faces and how Advantus can help.

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