Southlake’s teams are always looking for ways to improve the patient experience. Whether that’s through implementing new surgical techniques or advanced partnerships and programs, enhancing the patient experience is at the core of everything we do. This applies beyond the frontline to work being done behind the scenes in the Finance and Purchasing departments, through the implementation of Value Based Procurement.
Now, you’re probably thinking what is value based procurement?
It all started in 2015 when Supply Chain Ontario, an entity within the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, awarded funding to Southlake to further implement innovative solutions to improve health outcomes while maximizing value, fueling a move towards value based care. The hospital adapted their approach to procurement of goods and materials to focus on value, rather than the cheapest price. At the time, this was a new and innovative approach, which is now being replicated across Canada and gaining prominence across the world, with value based healthcare being a key focus for many organizations and health systems.
When value based procurement came to Southlake, it was initially implemented in the Regional Cardiac Program. By focusing on one program, the model was able to be rolled out as contract renewals came up for different products and services from vendors. Investment decisions were based on overall value to the hospital and health system, rather than focusing narrowly on the costs of a specific product or service. For example, instead of just buying a particular device used in cardiac surgery, the hospital approached it as if it was purchasing an outcome for the patient, inclusive of the device as well as vendor initiatives before and after surgery and access to latest innovations so that a complete set of improvements were wrapped around the whole patient journey.
Not only did this result in reduced costs for the hospital, but it also helped to reduce wait times for procedures, reduce readmission rates, create additional capacity within our cardiac clinics, and generate 50 per cent more bed capacity in the cardiac short stay unit.
Implementing this new model also enhanced relationships with vendors, improved clinical excellence through the funding of new innovative procedures and provided Southlake with earlier access to new technologies.
In an effort to educate and highlight the value based procurement model, the finance, cardiac and strategic sourcing teams are sharing their knowledge with other healthcare organizations across the globe. Most recently, Rob Bull, Southlake’s Vice President, Finance, Technology, and Innovation, was invited to Harvard to present the success achieved thanks to the implementation of value based procurement. The transition to a Value Based Health System is a key focus of a Harvard education course, and Rob was present to support with the education and discussion around this topic.
In addition to the presentation at Harvard, many members of our finance, cardiac and strategic sourcing teams have presented virtually and in-person to conferences internationally to share this information with other healthcare organizations, including the Medical Technology Association of Australia, the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement annual conference, the National Health System Supply Chain in the United Kingdom, and various other conferences across Canada.
The work of this group has been ongoing for more than five years and continues to be a driving force for procurement decisions at Southlake. By making the quality of outcomes at the core of procurement decisions, our teams are improving patient care and shifting the healthcare system for the better.