As the healthcare industry’s largest group purchasing organization (GPO), Vizient manages more than $100 billion in spend for more than half of the nation’s acute care providers. Its members include a diverse group of large community health systems, safety net institutions, children’s hospitals, independent community hospitals and 95% of the country’s academic medical centers. This provides Vizient CEO Byron Jobe and his team exceptional visibility into the healthcare system and yields countless benefits for members of the network – especially during a national and global pandemic such as Covid-19.
In this episode of Healthcare is Hard, Keith Figlioli talks to Byron about ways Vizient is using its supply-side and clinical data and leveraging the power of its network in the fight against Covid. They explore a number of issues including:
- Cross-Network Collaboration. While GPOs are always recognized for their purchasing power, they bring so much more to their networks. In Vizient’s case, its sheer size and reach allows it to share data, information and best practices across a broad segment of the U.S. healthcare system. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than a thousand members have been joining weekly Vizient webinars where providers in hot spots share strategies about what’s working to fight the virus. For providers who have not yet experienced a surge, this offers an invaluable opportunity to help them prepare so they can mitigate the impact if and when a spike of cases occurs in their area.
- Predicting PPE Needs. There are many Covid surge calculators on the market, but unique datasets including information about social distancing at a local level enabled Vizient to build one of the most accurate. In fact, revisiting predictions from March and April showed that its models were accurate within 3-5% of actual numbers. Byron talks about how Vizient has now made this calculator available to all providers and is also adapting it to help predict future needs for PPE and other supplies as different parts of the country prepare for future outbreaks.
- Secrets of the Healthcare Supply Chain. Covid-19 has awaken many people to details about the supply chain they may have previously taken for granted – specifically, how much product is produced overseas and how little visibility exists. Byron talks about a Vizient “war room” that’s been running around the clock to globally source products its members need, how they’ve seen an uptick in attempted fraud, and how they vet suppliers to ensure quality, which includes having feet on the ground to inspect product around the world. He talks about how this crisis could motivate changes to the current system and what those changes might look like.
- The Lasting Impact of Covid. Before his role leading Vizient, Byron worked in healthcare finance roles and spent time in the healthtech startup arena. Combining his knowledge from these experiences with the unique visibility he has into the healthcare system at Vizient, he talks to Keith about the long-term impacts of Covid-19. He talks about how providers will be reevaluating capital projects over the next few years, especially those focused on building acute care facilities because of the accelerated adoption of virtual health. While providers have been preparing for virtual health for some time, he says some models predict that adoption rates at the end of this year will reach levels that had previously been predicted for four or five years down the road.
To hear Byron and Keith talk about these topics and more, listen to this episode of Healthcare is Hard: A Podcast for Insiders.