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Healthcare Supply Chain Technology Powers Vital Feedback Loop

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, July 31, 2012

On a regular basis, supply-chain analysts sit down with physicians to look at outcome data by product. If they can't spot a better outcome on their preferred products, doctors support management during price renegotiation with vendors.

Now, those outcome metrics are being brought into a data warehouse for real-time access, Arruda says. "The challenge has been [that] a lot of times… when you're trying to go from the old product to new product, many times behaviors will change, where doctors will decide not to support that product you said you were going to move to," he says.

"Or there could be a new product that comes onto the market, therefore what you said you thought you were going to save may not be realized."

With a new metric called price-per-unit, IU Health's data warehouse can track each product by its UNSPSC code.

For the uninitiated, UNSPSC stands for United Nations Standard Products and Services Code, a taxonomy of products and services used in eCommerce. Supply chain technology is far bigger than healthcare, and doesn't just have big implications for getting the highest-quality products at the lowest prices.

It gets into issues of product safety, the proliferation of counterfeit goods, and chains of trust between suppliers. For a good background, see a podcast released this week by Dana Gardner, "Forging Trust Within the Supply Chain."

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