Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia web photo 2

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia shifted its supply chain from a cost-first mindset to focus more on the patient experience.

One of the biggest challenges in managing a supply chain for a children’s hospital is the varying size of the patients. Some are nearly full grown adults while others can be held in the palm of a hand. Products that an adult hospital can get from a single supplier require sourcing from multiple suppliers for pediatric hospitals. Simply managing the dose of medication accurately requires automation for precision and can result in tremendous waste due to supplier packaging.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is one of the leading children’s hospitals in the United States and around the world. CHOP operates a 535-bed hospital in Philadelphia and has an outpatient network that has grown to more than 50 locations spanning across southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Additionally, CHOP manages many pediatric services in community hospitals in the Philadelphia region and suburbs. CHOP has treated international patients from over 90 different countries around the globe.

Aspirus web photo

Aspirus’ head of supply chain has modernized the company’s systems and cut costs.

By Chris Kelsch

Like many healthcare systems throughout the United States, Aspirus has met some very strong headwinds in recent years. Chief among these is managing the ever-increasing cost of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and capital equipment, while still trying to manage better outcomes for its patients.

“Medical products are getting more expensive, and reimbursements keep getting lower and lower,” says Gary Rakes, vice president of supply chain. “In addition to that, the aging of baby boomers and their increasing demand for healthcare services continues to add stress to all health systems.”

Managing those challenges is exactly why Rakes joined the Aspirus team. He was brought onboard 15 months ago to help reduce costs and modernize Aspirus’ supply chain system. “We’re on a three- to five-year journey,” Rakes says. “But so far, the results have been very positive.”

Cambridge Health Alliance web photo

Cambridge Health Alliance’s recent changes have enhanced its supply chain.

By Alan Dorich

Providing quality care is the main focus of every health system, but it is not the only goal for Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA). “We pride ourselves on providing the access to healthcare to clients and doing it in a way that’s fiscally responsible,” Senior Director of Materials Management William J. McFarland says.

Based in Cambridge, Mass., CHA provides 140,000 patients in its region with primary and specialty care, emergency services, hospital care, maternity care and behavioral health services. The system’s history goes back to the 1800s, when it was a municipal hospital in its home city.

Over the years, it merged with two additional hospitals in Somerville and Everett, Mass. Today, “Our niche is as a safety net hospital,” McFarland says, noting that CHA primarily serves a culturally diverse, economically deprived clientele.

TPC web photo

TPC helps hospitals achieve significant economies of scale by collaborating as a single, highly committed contracting entity.

By Alan Dorich

It has been said that culture trumps strategy, and it is TPC’s culture of innovation and commitment that enables its hospital members to endure the highs and lows of the increasingly volatile healthcare market, President and CEO Geoff Brenner says. “Culturally, we have developed into a very fluid and adaptable organization that consistently achieves market-leading results amid unprecedented industry disruption,” he says.

Based in Plano, Texas, TPC is a hospital-owned coalition that focuses on innovative cost-reduction strategies within supply chain, purchased services and clinical product utilization. Its history goes back to 2007 when several large health systems conducted a study to measure the true value of consolidation.

“The results of the study revealed that as much as 80 percent of the anticipated financial value generated by hospital consolidation could potentially be achieved by collaborating as a single, committed contracting entity and if successful, it would diminish the need to merge assets,” Brenner explains, noting that the group ultimately chose not to merge assets but rather to form a highly-committed partnership by creating TPC.

Ransom Memorial Hospital web photo

Ransom Memorial Hospital’s material management department helps the Kansas hospital meet its goal of providing excellent patient care.

By Jim Harris

As a facility that is not a part of a larger network or system, Ransom Memorial Hospital stands out in the modern healthcare world. However, the facility’s lack of affiliation and relatively small size do not prevent it from giving its patients the best care possible. 

“We are, as our CEO would say, a dying breed,” says Emily Graves, director of materials management for the Ottawa, Kan., hospital. “By staying independent, we feel we can best adapt to our patients’ needs for our specific region.”

The 44-bed acute care facility offers most of the services the people in its surrounding community need, including cardiology, neurology and urology services; wound care, rehabilitation services; imaging, laboratory and pathology; maternity care and orthopedic surgery. The hospital also operates an express care clinic and cancer center, and regularly hosts visiting specialty physicians.

“We do our best to monitor what needs our community has in regards to the services we provide and make sure we remain competitive,” Graves says. “I feel we are constantly changing; if we weren’t, then we would be closing our doors.”


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