How UChicago Medicine transformed its non-acute supply chain

Five years ago, UChicago Medicine decided to expand its ambulatory facilities to support consistent system growth. In the years since, the health system has expanded its ambulatory network from three locations to more than 45 sites of care. To do so, it had to create a consistent supply chain experience across all of its sites. 

Two supply chain leaders from UChicago Medicine discussed how the health system transformed its non-acute supply chain strategy during a May 11 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Cardinal Health. 

The leaders were:

  • Gabe Toledo, ambulatory supply chain operations manager at UChicago Medicine
  • Rob Martin, director of supply chain and logistics at UChicago Medicine

Three key takeaways from their discussion: 

  1. Start by finding a leader to drive your strategy. At the beginning of UChicago's journey to develop its ambulatory supply chain strategy, the system faced many challenges, including having no central point of contact for facilities to work with. Clinical staff was managing supplies in their spare time, there was no process for facility openings and the team had to move fast, as the system was opening 15 physician practice locations within 12 months.

    "We knew that we needed to appoint a key resource and a leader who would be responsible for driving non-acute supply chain strategy. Someone who could take ownership of this and create the strategy and processes to move us forward," Mr. Martin said.

    Appointing this leader also freed up a lot of time for clinicians to focus on patient care.

  2. Create a systemic approach to structure, process and people. UChicago's supply chain team created a playbook and checklist for standing up new facilities, developed a formulary specifically for non-acute supplies, established supply room standards, and leveraged data and analytics to track their progress. The team made sure to schedule weekly project review calls to ensure follow-through.

  3. Get the right data and metrics in place. Data and analytics are key to sustaining success in the long-term.

    "We don't want to track things just for the sake of it. We really want to be looking at metrics that mean these are things that we can take action on and drive success and they're meaningful to us and our stakeholders," Mr. Toledo said.

    UChicago Medicine created a weekly dashboard to drive action from. Supply leaders can tailor site-specific dashboards to have informed conversations with leadership at each location to point out what is working well there and what needs improvement.

Creating an optimal non-acute supply chain strategy has helped UChicago Medicine streamline its operations and become a leader in its market. Click here to watch the full webinar and learn more about how to transform your non-acute supply chain.

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