Streamline the infusion inventory process with technology
Good vendor relationships will support your infusion-based physician practice as you support access, choice, and value for your patients. Picking a medication delivery platform that easily integrates with other technologies allows you to streamline inventory processes while improving both the provider and the patient experience.
"Our business technology transformation enabled us to provide improved interoperability with third-party systems," says Eric Besse, Vice President of Specialty Sales, Besse Medical. Physician practices retain the preferred ordering platform that best fits their business needs.
Besse continues, "Whether customers use our ordering platform (ABC Order) or we connect with theirs, we want to make that [ordering] experience as seamless and efficient as possible, allowing customers to spend more time with their patients."
Technology to support productivity
An integrated medication delivery platform can help bring order to the organizational chaos at some practices. A well-intentioned practice may have created its own workflow that relies on disparate systems that don't seamlessly communicate with each other. A piecemeal practice management system, though good in a pinch, is not the right solution for long-term productivity. It can cause issues with efficiency and reliability.
"Imagine how hard it is if somebody new comes to work for this practice and they have to be trained on a post-it note system that is manually typed into a spreadsheet, then uploaded into a special form, then makes its way into the EHR," says Bryan Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO, WeInfuse.
Putting everything into one system is a significant benefit of using WeInfuse. This provides all users with visibility into all aspects of the workflow. Staff in the specialty physician practice are in sync with one another while also setting up virtual guardrails that guide workflow.
Technology to ease staff burden
Staff at physician practices that administer infused medications must perform multiple calculations when ordering inventory. First, they need to consider how many medications they have on hand; and second, they need to consider which patients are on the schedule for the upcoming week and what each patient's weight-based dosage will be.
Under a traditional inventory management system, the calculations of what is in stock versus what is needed are conducted manually. And of course, in the meantime, patients are treated, so inventory is continually moving out of the facility.
"Once a user has finished all that math, in about 24 hours it's completely worthless. And you have to start all over again because the nurses have been pulling vials, patients have been canceling appointments, and more patients have been added to the schedule," says Johnson.
A medication-based delivery platform would automate some of the process, removing the need for mental math, and the risk of human error. Practices would know, to a high degree of accuracy, their current inventory.
Technology to look to the futureBesides a clear picture into the present, predictive analytics provided by a platform could open a window into the future. Ordering prompts based on the schedule eliminate potential waste.
Besse says, "We want to make sure our customers aren't buying too much. If there's a solution out there that helps customers pinpoint their exact need based off patient demand, that will enable them to buy only what they need, which ultimately helps with their cash flow."
An integrated medication delivery platform can also offer visibility into the products that were delivered but not yet checked in. Given the common need for refrigeration, knowing when infused medications arrive at the facility is critical.
Maintaining a correct balance of inventory is essential for creating an optimal patient experience. Patients with chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, or multiple sclerosis, among others, should get their infused treatments at regular intervals for maximum efficacy. There is also the inconvenience factor. Those trips to the physician may involve taking time off from work, getting a family member to drive them, finding child-care arrangements, etc.
"It is critical that they get their medications," says Johnson. "If the meds aren't there, or if things aren't taken care of in advance, things can go downhill quickly. If a patient is off their medication schedule, they can have flare-ups and be hospitalized if it gets bad enough."
Technology to align with distributorsFor their part, the specialty distributor has access to the entire process — from taking the order for the infused products to acknowledging shipping and producing invoices — regardless of which infusion management platform the customer integrates. Such access lets the distributor meet the customer where they are, doubling down on the principle of supporting choice when it comes to practice management.
Technology is not worth anything if the practice can't have autonomy in deciding which platform works for its specific needs. A specialty distributor who recognizes that will gain its customers' trust.
Specialty distributors and specialty physician practices work in concert with the other players along the healthcare supply chain — manufacturers, payers, patient engagement providers, and more. Integrated technology lets them all plug into the same system for maximum productivity.
"A distributor can tap into the infusion center management platform, get common language, common information, and suddenly have access to 500-plus locations. From there, they can provide services directly to practices without a huge technological lift on their end," says Johnson.
It's important for physician practices to pick vendors who are aligned with their perspective on customer service, innovation, and culture, all of which can contribute to success.