GPO Standout – University HealthSystem Consortium

Editor’s Note: Like VHA and Provista, University HealthSystem Consortium is part of the Novation purchasing program. See VHA’s responses for all except the following questions.

Does UHC provide outsourced services to your members (that is, services provided by your organization, not by contract vendors)? If so, can you describe them?
Yes. UHC’s Capital Resource program places a UHC employee on-site to facilitate a member’s equipment needs for construction and renovation projects. The UHC staff member provides a continuum of services from planning through delivery and service/maintenance agreement negotiation. UHC’s Supply Chain Informatics program offers members a shared analytical resource to provides analytical support in supply chain and at the member’s direction. The work includes a broad spectrum of data analysis from contract specific to operating budget reconciliation.

Does UHC provide onsite consulting to your members (that is, consulting provided directly by your organization, not by a contract vendor/consulting firm)? If so, can you describe these activities?
UHC’s Supply Chain Consulting provides members highly customized, in-depth assessments of supply chain expenditures and business processes, collaborating with member’s staff. UHC provides supply chain knowledge and best practices from leading organizations in healthcare and other industries….Additionally, UHC’s Value Analysis Program helps members implement performance improvement, cost savings, standardization, and utilization efforts enterprise-wide.

To what extent does UHC assist members in local or regional contracting?
UHC offers members contracting flexibility via both a geographical and a virtual aggregation strategy that include affinity groups such as Spine Centers of Excellence. This presents opportunities to maximize price tier levels on existing contracts by pooling volume and commitment at a local level; standardize products and/or suppliers; and increase supply chain efficiencies with suppliers and distributors using UHC’s regional and custom contracting strategy. A differentiating characteristic of UHC is its ability to create networks among members that provide unique value beyond what can be achieved by individual members alone. (Editor’s note: See VHA entry for information on Novation Custom Contracting.)

Does UHC help members benchmark their clinical performance? If so, can you explain how?
UHC’s Benchmarking & Improvement Services are designed to help members identify best practices and better performance for operational and clinical processes. Clinical initiatives focus on patient characteristics and processes of care and their relationships to patient outcomes. Operational studies focus on the strategic issues associated with managing a department or process. The Clinical Data Base allows participants to analyze clinical and administrative data for measurement and improvement initiatives, and then benchmark their performance against the more than 130 academic medical centers and affiliated community hospitals. UHC’s Clinical Resource Manager allows participants to compare resource utilization for patient cohorts defined by any of the criteria available in the Clinical Data Base.

Does UHC help members benchmark their operational performance? If so, can you explain how?
UHC provides benchmarking projects in high-interest supply chain topics. Through rapid data collection and facilitated collaboration, members receive comparative analyses and information on best practices in areas of interest, such as physician preference management, medical research supply purchasing, automated dispensing machines, and models of supply distribution, among others. UHC’s Operational Data Base is used by members to set budgets, evaluate staffing productivity, and track operational performance. The product is further enhanced by UHC’s unique array of services, which are all part of the program fee. Hospitalwide budget analyses, area-specific analyses, and on-site education and training are available to members.

Does UHC offer information systems or reports to help members analyze and improve their supply chain performance (e.g., spending, contract utilization, product utilization)? If so, can you describe them?
UHC Spend Analytics collects comprehensive spend information from members, suppliers, distributors, and other healthcare organizations. Our data sets feature Novation pricing breakdowns. Several tools are provided to members to identify contract opportunities, manage LOPs, track supplier reported sales, identify conversion and standardization opportunities, and manage expiring contracts. UHC/Novation’s proprietary Product Spend Categorization provides members with market share information to support supplier negotiations and internal value analysis and standardization initiatives. Data management tools are provided to identify packaging and data issues. An automated work plan captures actionable information so that members can easily recognize savings opportunities.

Does UHC offer members resources to help them:

  • Control the cost or usage of physician-preference items? UHC’s orthopedic and cardiology solutions provide analysis…to identify operational and clinical efficiencies and facilitate clinician engagement. Members are provided with cost management solutions through focused assessments. These reports provide information to engage with clinicians to encourage standardization in order to achieve cost savings. Detailed market share and conversion price savings opportunities are highlighted. The focused assessments provide the best current line-item pricing for more than 350 homogenous hospitals across the United States so that members have comparable price points to benchmark. Members are in comparative groups by spend, so the pricing targets provided are for hospitals with similar spend for each product category.
  • Control spending on labor? As noted above, UHC’s Operational Data Base is used by UHC members to set budgets, evaluate staffing productivity, and control spending on labor.
  • Create and manage a vendor-credentialing process? No

Can you describe the educational opportunities (meetings, conferences, webinars, on-line training) you offer your members? [UHC facilitates] member peer networking and knowledge sharing through a variety of conferences and forums, multidisciplinary and discipline-specific councils and online listservers, Web conferences, publications, and websites that share member case studies and best practices. Many UHC educational and networking venues provide continuing medical education credits and continuing education units. A few of UHC’s networking and information-sharing opportunities:

  • Annual Performance Excellence Forum.
  • Annual Quality and Safety Fall Forum.
  • Supply Chain Web Conference Series.
  • Regional networking.
  • Specialty council and member groups.