While healthcare systems are expected to not only keep technology infrastructures up to date, but also to innovate to bolster patient care and satisfaction, financial pressures remain a reality for the industry.
Many hospitals are struggling to stay out of the red financially amid budget constraints, especially as reimbursement dollars shrink, security threats grow and government regulations change, said Kim Krisik, a strategic sales manager with CDW Healthcare, during a meetup focusing on procurement at HIMSS 2018 in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
"Across the country, organizations are operating in an environment of downward cost pressures, yet are expected to demonstrate improved outcomes," Krisik said.
To that end, she said, it's important for organizations to find reliable partners. Without contract management, providers risk overspending in the wrong areas rather than strategically spending in the right ones.
"Looking at products, you might be purchasing the same ones over and over again," Krisik said. "You don't need to do that."
Start an 'Intimate Conversation' on Contracts
Finding the right partner is critical, but discussing a contract can be a very intimate conversation, Krisik said.
"Contracts are not exactly something that you walk up to someone and say, 'I'd like to start a contract; I'd like to have a contract put in place,'" she said. "We spend a lot of time in our organization truly understanding what someone needs, whether it's around cost consolidation, leveraging a group spend or getting the same equipment at a lower price."
Krisik stressed that there's a lot of opportunity to leverage contracts as a vehicle to truly examine and drive down costs while adding more value. Reliable partner relationships, she said, can help realize that opportunity through standardized purchasing, detailed purchase reporting and incentive programs.
"Make sure you understand what their value is for you," Krisik said. "Make sure you understand what they're doing to help you reduce costs."