Implanting Efficiency

By using innovative process improvement software, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health took back control of implant surgeries.

Implant surgery can be highly complex, even beyond the procedure itself. Because of the multiple products and instrumentation involved, hospitals must keep a large inventory on hand that’s often owned by the manufacturer and managed by sales representatives. As a result, millions of dollars of product are stored at the hospital with little oversight or transparency.

In addition, purchase orders are usually entered manually into the financial ERP system after surgery, and the hospital pays for the products once the procedure is complete (known as “bill-only” implant surgery). This can create unwanted surprises, including the use of costly, unproven devices outside hospital-approved contracts.

In his previous role as vice president of supply chain for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, Curtis Lancaster knew this situation was creating inefficiencies and cost overruns at his organization and wanted to do something about it. “We saw a real need for greater visibility into the products that we were using in the surgical arena,” said Lancaster. “I thought that we needed to get ahead of it as opposed to being behind it.”

Searching for solutions, Lancaster became aware of a Vizient® partner called Surgery Exchange. “After a few presentations, we saw that their tools would allow us to do exactly what we wanted,” he said.

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