Cost Savings Champions: Cleveland Clinic

In 2010, the Cleveland Clinic system realized $45 million in cost savings, thanks to the team effort put forth by supply chain management. Led by Carrie Steele, a director of supply chain, the team explored the reasons behind – and solution to – a steadily rising use of nitric oxide in cardiovascular surgery. “Carrie is responsible for monitoring and managing the dollars spent on supplies in anesthesia, imaging, cardiology cardiothoracic surgery and respiratory therapy,” says Bill Donato, executive director of supply chain management. “With a degree in finance, an MBA and years of experience in medical sales [prior] to joining our department, she is a master at her job.”

After watching nitric oxide usage continue to increase, Steele worked with the departments of cardiac anesthesia, cardiac surgery, lung transplant and respiratory therapy, as well as cardiothoracic anesthesiologist Erik Kraenzler, MD, to become better educated on usage patterns. “They read the scientific literature and got other physicians involved,” says Donato. “Based on their findings, they created protocols to manage usage. These changes had dramatic results, and within a month, nitric oxide usage dropped.” Indeed, it has decreased by 60 or 70 percent, providing Cleveland Clinic with over $1 million in annual savings.

This year’s cost savings look equally promising, according to Donato. “We’re putting a lot of effort into our cost visibility project, which began when Dr. Toby Cosgrove, our CEO and president, [decided] to spread the message [about the cost of] surgical supplies,” he says. “Our goal is to inform our surgeons about the costs of the medical devices and equipment they use, and to encourage them to use products that are cost-effective, without compromising quality.

To read the full article on Cleveland Clinic, read Striking a Balance

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