Published on September 18, 2017

Reading Health System Awarded Infor 2017 Progress Makers Award

Reading Health System Supply Chain Management, headquartered in West Reading, Pennsylvania, has been awarded the 2017 Infor Progress Makers Award for Operational Excellence. Infor is a leading provider of business applications specialized by industry, supporting more than 90,000 organizations in over 200 countries. The company announced the winners of the 2017 Infor Progress Makers Awards in July at its annual user conference in New York City.

The award distinguishes customers who drive innovation and showcase exceptional results in business performance after implementing Infor applications and services in various business operations including Operational Excellence, Financial Excellence, Employee Excellence, Customer Excellence, Innovation and Transformation. A panel of Infor solution and industry experts evaluated each applicant's nomination, and the winners were chosen based on scope and depth of performance improvement, quantifiable business benefits, customer focus and satisfaction, and technology use and innovation.

In October 2016, Reading Health System opened a newly constructed 476,000 square foot surgical and inpatient tower, Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care. As one of the most technologically advanced and sophisticated surgical centers in the region, this facility was designed with LEAN concepts in mind, and includes virtually no fixed storage or cabinetry in its 24 operating rooms. Reading Health needed a modern solution and new processes to efficiently stock and replenish supply carts that typically hold over $1,000,000 in operating room inventory. Paramount in designing the new inventory management model was ensuring that the right product be available at the right time and at the right quantity to support patient care. 

Under the direction of Rita White, Senior Director Supply Chain, and Ann Paolini, Director Analytics Supply Chain, Reading Health re-engineered the standard supply replenishment process in Lawson, one of Infor's enterprise applications, to enable the transferof items between Periodic Automatic Replenishment (PAR) supply locations. This custom solution, utilizing existing technology and requiring virtually no additional investment to implement, greatly enhanced Reading Health's use of the system's baseline functionality. Under this model, a large sterile supply room with roughly 2,000 SKUs is established as a PAR supply location in Lawson and serves as the primary replenishment source for smaller mobile supply carts that reside on the Surgical Services platform. By defining the sterile supply room as a PAR bulk supply location rather than a traditional perpetual inventory location, Reading Health's custom solution offers the ability to systematically replenish the mobile supply carts without requiring material movement transactions be recorded in the system. Conversely, supply transactions and adjustments associated with traditional inventory models are extremely time intensive to perform and usually require additional staffing. 

Historically, healthcare organizations are challenged for a solution to manage supplies not typically visible within the traditional inventory management framework. With the model Reading Health developed, the mobile supply carts are stocked with pre-defined optimal inventory quantities. After items are consumed, periodic counts are conducted to determine replenishment needs to bring the supply quantity up to the "PAR" level. Reading Health's solution captures replenishment data at a level of detail never before possible, providing an actionable report of supply utilization within the organization. This data has given visibility into approximately 90 supply carts valued at more than $1,000,000. In turn, Supply Chain Management is able to right-size inventories, reduce waste, improve customer satisfaction and drive other innovative improvements. 

Specifically, Supply Chain is using newly gleaned data to assist in managing the "Clean Returns" process of unused surgical supplies following case procedures as well as to support the Preference Card management process by providing recommendations for adjustments based on usage data. Furthermore, in a timed study the facility decreased time needed to pick supplies for a surgical case from 36 minutes to 12 minutes (66% improvement) following implementation. Most importantly, doctors have more confidence that the right supplies are at their fingertips at all times, to provide the highest levels of patient care. 

Infor's recognition helps establish Reading Health Supply Chain Management as a leader in the healthcare industry for its application of analytics and technology to enhance Supply Chain operations across the health system. For several years, Reading Health Supply Chain has been implementing a strategic approach to utilizing analytic solutions focused on improving operations throughout the system. "The must-have skills for a successful supply chain strategy have changed," says Rita White. "Our new approach is driven by data and predictive analytics. By using data as well as engaging stakeholders across the organization, we have taken a deeper dive into our revenue processes and clinical evaluations to balance fiscal responsibility and clinical excellence. Our goal is to align our supply chain strategy directly to the hospital's mission and the key objectives on which senior leaders are focused." 

At the Inforum 2017 conference, Rita White, Ann Paolini and Stephanie Tremble, Business Systems Manager, presented educational sessions highlighting the award-winning modified Infor replenishment process as well as a newly developed automated supply expiration audit process. The expiration audit process currently is being rolled out and will provide accountability, monitoring and documentation for Department of Health and The Joint Commission.