The Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare, includes many stipulations. One of these is to create a change in the way the federal government pays for healthcare services provided to patients on Medicare. Specifically, the change is to move away from a quantity-based payment system to a quality-based system. Another way it is described, is the process of moving away from a volume-based, to a value-based, system of purchasing services for the Medicare patients. Quite literally, it is referred to as the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program, a program that has three objectives:
Decrease reimbursement costs
Improve the quality of care
Improve patient satisfaction
A primary way that hospitals and their administrators support the program is through controlling operating costs while maintaining or improving the quality of patient care. Equipment procurement is an area that provides an opportunity to address both. By standardizing on the same equipment brand and model when purchasing for new construction, expansion or remodeling projects, workflows can be streamlined with reduced costs and improved quality.
Here are five advantages of medical equipment standardization.
1.) Standardized procedures and usability for all departments
By using a single manufacturer, you can ensure that the equipment used in all departments is the same. This will decrease the confusion of staff working in different areas of the hospital when using equipment such as infusion pumps and vital sign monitors.
You will also decrease the learning curve for staff, which not only improves workflow efficiency, but also decreases the probability of mistakes that would negatively affect patient care and outcomes.
2.) Increased efficiency for biomedical support and maintenance
Standardizing the equipment helps the biomed engineers just as it helps the users. Dealing with fewer manufacturers and models simplifies the required analysis, testing, and maintenance processes which the engineers have to be familiar with.
3.) Standardization of supportive supplies
Product standardization also helps when purchasing supportive medical supplies. Working with a single equipment manufacturer decreases the number of different supportive supplies that are required for proper operation and increases the opportunity for greater volume discounts.
4.) Cost control with GPO compliant purchases
By partnering with Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) you’re able to take advantage of bulk buying discounts, which obviously helps keep costs lower.
GPO contracts often require a set percentage of purchases happen with defined manufacturers in order to obtain the discount. Other contracts establish a sliding scale that increases your discount as your percentage increases. Standardizing equipment purchases so that they comply with the GPO contract ensures that you get the cost savings you’re looking for with the relationship.
5.) Cost discounts on products NOT included in the GPO contract
Purchases made outside of the GPO contract can also benefit from manufacturer standardization. Just as the GPO gets better pricing through volume purchases, you can get better pricing though volume purchases of particular items and through negotiations on secondary purchases. Manufacturers regularly give discounts on product B when you’re already purchasing product A.
CME has product specialist resources to advise you on the features and benefits of various manufacturers and their medical equipment. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to help you make informed choices, save money on your medical equipment, and support your standardization goals.
Contact us here to discuss where we can help.