Mercy Health Redefines Supply Chain’s Role in Quality Healthcare Through New Medline Partnership

Cincinnati-based Mercy Health is the
largest health system in the state with 23 hospitals and nearly 500 healthcare
facilities serving communities across Ohio and Kentucky. As demand for care
grew in recent years so did the pressures on its supply chain and it
became clear a massive effort was needed to thwart overspending. But the leaders
realized they needed guidance to drive process standardization in order to stay
ahead of growth. “The whole organization was structured by which any individual
site and within a site individual people to the masses, thousands, could place
orders and order product without necessarily going through what I’d say a
restrictive filtering to make sure that the right product the right price at the
right time in the right quantity, so we had to reevaluate, redesign.” At its peak
32,000 staff members possessed purchasing privileges. Chief supply chain
officer Dan Hurry quickly recognized early on in his new role that in order
to get to the bold future state he envisioned the system needed the right
strategic partner. “What’s important to me though is how do we look at the top
relationship, the leadership, the ownership of an organization and what is
their willingness to step forward and do they have a track record that
demonstrates that they’ve done it before and are they’re willing to listen and
co-create and then develop and then launch and maybe even trip along the way
but learn and progress.” In less than one year after selecting Medline as its
primary medical surgical supply partner product standardization eliminated
nearly 2,000 SKUs, a 21% reduction distribution hubs also dramatically
decreased from 14 to 2. “Supply chain has become a greater focus because if you
look at your expense lines at an organization number one expenses to do
going to be labor. Labor spread across everywhere and everyone
but in supply chain we have a chance to centralize a lot of this activity zero
in on a big target.” The supply chain team is inspired by Mercy Health’s mission by
improving margins more money can go toward those they serve. “I know as I take
action I’m helping someone alright if we can save a million bucks I know that
there’s a million more that can help someone that comes to Mercy in need and we don’t turn anyone away.” Put Away Ready is another behind the scenes
program designed to improve storage and space utilization by taking product
directly from dock to stock more time and dollars can be spent on direct
patient care. “Anything that we can do to allow that nurse to engage at a better
level on a personal level with the patient that to me is what the solution
is all about.” Tailoring product modifications to help drive enhance care
and safety across the system is also in progress. “Typically when you’re working
with a vendor even that manufacturer it’s kind of like this is what we make
and this is what you get so that was refreshing from my perspective because
to be able to say to them yes this products acceptable but the issue that
we have is maybe like the length of the ties were not long enough
could you work with us to potentially modify it for us and the answer was yes.” For Dan Hurry future state will soon be reality as teams get closer to a more
dynamic and consolidated physician preference item logistics model and
planograms for supply rooms. “If you’re not changing you know you’re staying still,
there’s no doubt about it.”

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