The Healthcare Hub

Healthcare Can Solve Supply Cost Confusion

posted by: Peter Nelson, Vice President, Product Management, GHX
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

“How much did that procedure cost?” Simple question that is simply too difficult for providers to answer. Supply chain plays perhaps the most critical role in helping the industry get to a clear and reliable answer.

Notwithstanding healthcare’s increasing move to value-based care, it’s critical for providers to understand the true cost of a procedure from start to finish. I recently addressed this very issue in an article in Health Data Management: How healthcare can solve supply cost confusion.

Total cost of care comes down to our ability to answer some key questions within four cost categories:

  • Care Episode. What was done? Who was involved? What was the outcome?
  • Location Costs. Where was the procedure or test performed?
  • Labor Costs. Which surgeons, nurses, and technicians performed specific procedures and tests?
  • Supply Costs. What was used? What was the total cost of these items?

It’s relatively easy for us to identify a procedure, staff involved, the procedure results, and where the procedure took place. But the question about the overall cost for supplies can be daunting.   

If our industry wants to accurately account for the products used in the course of care, prepare for recalls, and capture a greater percentage of case charges, we must ensure the systems supporting every aspect of care are connected and able to share timely and accurate data. 

Supply data doesn’t have to be a stumbling block to understanding total cost of care. In the article, I discuss the difficulties providers face in bedside and procedural documentation of supplies.

GHX is leading the industry in addressing this challenge. Clinical ConneXion is the industry’s first cloud-based clinical item master that serves as the single source of truth for robust item information to support clinical documentation and patient billing. Clinical ConneXion makes it easier for clinicians to document product use. The data will help ensure that providers have complete and accurate information on chargeable items, and allow providers to improve patient safety through better recall management and adverse event reporting.

What I am convinced of, data is, and will continue to be, the lynchpin to understanding the total cost of care. We must do everything possible to maximize our existing investments in EHR, ERP, and supply chain systems to ensure clean, accurate data can be accessed and shared across these systems to help improve efficiency and enhance patient care.