Big wins from small devices

Supply chain pros highlight success stories from mobile device use — even linked to the cloud.


Chris Luoma, Vice President, Product Management, GHX, Atlanta:

Increasing compliance rates for supplier representatives working in hospital settings via our mobile technology. These representatives are constantly on the move between cases, between facilities, and between providers. By moving the credentialing experience to a mobile device, they are able to fulfill credentialing needs, check status, and sign in and out of facilities in a much more efficient manner. Making the process simple leads to higher rates of compliancy, which, in turn, leads to greater patient safety.

Another example is using handheld scanners to track inventory within the surgical suite. Specifically, the GHX European Community has seen great benefits from capturing this inventory information in real time at the point of care. The benefits range from reducing the inventory on hand through better information on utilization to being able to negotiate new and different arrangements with suppliers who can better understand when and where their products are being consumed.

Additionally, we have found that enabling supply chain experts to have critical alerts related to their supply chain delivered to their mobile media of choice enables users to react at any time to information that needs attention. Mobile technology brings speed to the equation. Getting to the perfect order is one of the critical goals for supply chain leaders. We are seeing how mobile technology is a critical tool to helping move closer to that reality.

John Freund, CEO, Jump Technologies Inc., Eagan, MN:

A large health system in the Northeast was struggling with managing the thousands of packages that land on their hospital loading docks every day. From time to time expensive materials would take too long to move from the dock to the procedural areas. In rare occasions, expensive or sensitive items such as tissue were lost or sat outside of freezers too long. Staff was added to help reduce this problem, increasing costs to the hospital. They also had no real visibility into true velocity data, and were overstocked throughout the system out of fear of stockouts. They also struggled with managing implantables, from charge capture to return policies with manufacturers, for items that were not used in a case. The hospital was losing millions of dollars as a result of these problems.

They deployed mobile technology to track supplies from the moment the landed on the dock until they were distributed to either stock rooms, or for more expensive items, directly to the patient. Items are scanned on the dock, POs are matched and closed in their ERP systems, priority packages are flagged and rushed through the process to ensure they get to the right place at the right time. When items arrive, they are signed for or scanned, for proof-of-delivery on mobile devices. They now have simple mobile point-of-use technology that gives them total visibility into velocity, allowing them to reduce on-hand inventory by millions of dollars. Using mobile devices they will be able to capture items scanned in procedural areas. They will log what was used and what was returned to inventory on a case by case basis. Items that need to be returned to the manufacturer within a specific time frame will be flagged and immediately returned for credit. Charges captured can be sent to their EMR, saving clinicians time and avoiding data entry errors from keying lot and/or serial numbers. Finally, as a result of using mobile devices for charge capture, supply chain professionals have credible data to share with physicians regarding case costs and physician preference items. The partnership between supply chain and clinicians will create better data transparency and the ability to use predictive data for estimating total cost of care.

Gregory Seiders, Director, Supply Chain, Claflin Co., Warwick, RI:

Many clients have seen increased order accuracy, quicker order cycles and rapid adoption of the ALM360 mobile technology. Advanced Logistics Management is a proponent of the ALM360 handheld solution, a mobile device with apps developed for common supply chain functions, such as procurement and physical inventory. Ordering through the ALM360 handheld has significantly improved supply chain functions in provider facilities, especially in just-in-time environments. Because the handhelds are tied back to the MMIS, departmental inventory levels are easier to manage through the embedded PAR levels. Scanning item labels can reduce time in matching item numbers and quantities, as well as ensure accuracy. Ordering on the floors and in departments is a breeze before uploading to the MMIS via wi-fi or docking station. With the ubiquity of mobile devices and the simplicity of the apps, training from start to finish takes only a few minutes

Michael DeLuca, Executive Vice President, Operations, Prodigo Solutions Inc., Cranberry Township, PA:

Through its own mobile app, Prodigo Solutions enabled scan and integrate functionality between the app and a proprietary surgical cath lab system at UPMC. This allowed cath lab personnel to scan the bar codes (multiple, if required) on medical devices and integrate them with a clinical system of record. It facilitated no re-entry into the cath lab system and ensured the items were added with the correct surgical charge code.

Carl Natenstedt, CEO, Z5 Inventory Inc., Austin, TX:

Using an inventory count solution from Z5 that runs on iPads and iPhones at a multi-hospital system in the eastern U.S. was able to accurately take its entire inventory in a matter of a few days. Coupling this detailed inventory data with purchasing history and modern data analytics, the system was able to identify excess and obsolete inventory and reallocate it throughout the system avoiding future expiration. This allowed the system to save almost 20 percent of its inventory value. Easy-to-use mobile devices were deployed throughout the 10 hospitals with no IT involvement, connected to the Meditech ERP data, enabling the data collection and savings.


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