The operating room is a unique environment from every other department of the hospital. It is literally a gaited community, run by clinical-minded people. C-suite and business operations personnel have limited access, and best practices often arrive last in the OR.
On the other hand, the O.R. is the largest profit center for the hospital, and the second biggest spend area (pharmacy is first). One would think that as such, the operating room would have a keen focus on efficient supply chain management, which is the most effective way to measure and control cost and therefore maximize profit. It doesn’t, at least for supplies and implants used in the sterile field (‘non-sterile implants”) during surgery. The non-sterile implant supply chain (and ofter the entire implant supply chain) is a manual error prone process that relies on pens, papers, sticky notes, 2-3 manual data entry steps between 4-5 different people in different areas of the hospital. It’s a mess.
As someone who was in the O.R. for 15 years working for the largest implant device company in the world, I have first hand knowledge of this problem. It’s real, it’s pervasive, and it’s global. Every hospital struggles with managing O.R. costs, and has limited data visibility and inventory problems as a result.
To the hospital CFO I would simply ask: if every other department in your hospital, and every other industry in the world has realized the benefits of of supply chain automation through scanning at point of use, why wouldn’t you invest in the technology for one of the biggest line item costs in your largest profit center?
On large ships, it was often the captain who learns last that there is a leak in the boat. No one wants to be in the “bad news delivery” business. Mr CFO, you have a leak in your boat.
In the increasingly difficult financial healthcare environment, can hospitals afford to not know where their leaks are? As Deming taught, you cannot manage what you don’t measure. The most effective supply chain management MUST start with scanning at point of use - digitization of demand data.
It’s time for the O.R. to put Scan in the Plan for the sterile field, with Summate Technologies.
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