Skip Navigation LinksPhysicians-and-Supply-Chain-Team-Up-to-Achieve-Sustainable-Cost-Reductions

The challenge

Conemaugh Health System, a physician-led, professionally managed health system in west central Pennsylvania, serves over 500,000 patients annually through its network of hospitals, outpatient care centers, and physician offices.

With supply costs on the rise, Conemaugh realized it needed a more strategic supply chain process—one based on effective use of price benchmarks, comparative analyses of products, and evidence-based technology assessments. It could no longer afford to make buying decisions based on vendor bias or physician preference. It needed accurate, objective data to identify potential savings and gain leverage at the negotiating table.

The solution

When Stephen Tambolas, vice president of supply chain, integrated ECRI Institute’s full range of procurement advisory services and technology assessment tools into the system’s supply chain process, the organization saw immediate results. More than 20 Conemaugh physicians play an active role in the supply chain process, including chairing value analysis committees. “Have you checked with ECRI?” has become part of their common vernacular as they validate supply purchases for the system. This includes:

  • Benchmarking existing and proposed pricing for supplies and equipment against PriceGuide™ and SELECTplus™ low, average, and high prices paid by peer institutions
  • Comparing proposed products side-by-side, based on clinical comparability and effectiveness
  • Basing purchasing decisions on clinical evidence—not hype—using ECRI Institute’s evidence-based research and new and emerging technology assessments

The result

When physicians involved in the supply chain process take advantage of ECRI Institute’s decision support tools, everybody wins. Benchmarking has helped Conemaugh become recognized as the low-cost leader among its peer groups within its GPO and has helped to dramatically reduce its adjusted patient discharge rates. The system has achieved and sustained a hard $21.6 million reduction in annual expenses over a five-year period, including a 25% decrease in supply costs for cardiac procedures alone.​


Learn more about SELECTplus, PriceGuide, and Health Technology Assessment memberships.