How Northside Hospital’s commitment to improving the quality of its hospital branded and patient amenity products has resulted in improved patient experiences and the “birth” of a successful direct sourcing partnership.

Northside Hospital has been recognized in both 2015 and 2013 as a recipient of Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award for its extraordinary focus on quality, but continuously looks for ways to further enhance the patient experience. As part of these efforts to improve quality, Northside believes that every interaction with patients and the products they use is a unique opportunity to bring additional value to its patient-centered care model.

Consequently, Northside has made a concerted effort to improve many of the amenity kits and products are given out to patients during their stay across various departments such as Admissions, Breast Surgery, Cardiac Rehab, and Maternity, a primary focus for the #1 Community Baby Hospital in the country as measured by annual births.

Kathy James, clinical supply chain manager with Northside says, “It’s the little things that make big differences in the lives of the patient. So while there are many commercially available products we could have had relative to our patient comfort kits, we wanted it to be part of a personal experience which is why we chose to work with ASP Global.”

Improving quality and reducing costs through direct sourcing: “A 10X increase in quality”

Northside distributes 60,000 comfort care kits to patients every year. The kits contain mouthwash, lotion, lip balm, hand sanitizer, earplugs, an eye mask and more. “Our new kits sourced through ASP Global are a 10x increase in quality,” Kathy says. “Reducing supply costs while maintaining or improving quality is a top goal. Our direct sourcing program through ASP Global accomplishes both goals by improving outcomes and reducing costs.  

As the healthcare world shifts to value-based care where readmissions penalties and patient satisfaction have a real impact on topline revenue and associated reimbursements, it becomes increasingly critical for hospital systems to continue to find ways to reduce costs while also working towards increasing patient comfort and associated HCAHPS scores.  

The Northside Hospital system which includes three not-for-profit hospitals with 852 licensed beds, more than 2,700 physicians on staff and over 2,000,000 patient encounters annually is no different.

In an effort to make its breast surgery patients more comfortable, Northside helped design a custom kit which includes an embroidered plush pink blanket, a pair of pink anti-skid slippers, Gilchrist & Soames lip balm, a pink safety pin, a lavender scented jewelry bag, all in a custom designed belonging bag.

Northside’s outpatient Cardiac Rehab Program provides self-monitoring tools including auto pulse oximeters sourced through ASP Global. These tools play a critical role in ensuring patients reach their physician before they go acute and wind up back in the hospital.

Lower readmission rates and higher HCAHPS scores

According to Healthgrades, Northside exceeded the national average in nine out of 10 Patient Experience metrics for Hospital Quality.

“All of these efforts to improve the quality and utility of our hospital branded, patient amenity and other products sourced through ASP Global have done nothing but improve our HCAHPS scores,” Kathy says. “When we started the process of custom designing our Amenity Kits we did not realize how much more of a personal connection we could make with our patients and what surprised us more than anything was how many middle layers of the cost we could remove by going direct.  As a result, we’ve gone to a more direct sourcing model on other items and are looking to grow.”

maternity supplies

Expanding the Direct Sourcing program and the Northside brand

Northside delivers more babies every year than any other community hospital in the United States. It follows that products for newborns and their mothers are critically important to all concerned. ASP Global helped design and source a long sleeved baby shirt with built-in “mittens” integrated into the sleeves to prevent infants from scratching themselves.

In the five years since Northside initiated its direct sourcing program with ASP Global, the program has quadrupled. In addition to the soon-to-arrive patient comfort care kit, Northside and ASP Global are developing a new mom care kit including bottles, a beautifully engraved baby spoon, and custom reusable ice packs, all in an insulated carrying case.

Two to three months can yield eons of improvements and savings

Branded hospital products, or products that are designed with clinical improvements in mind and “made from scratch,” can take as little as two to three months from the first order to the first delivery. Plan for this in advance. But this modest investment in time on the front end yields long-term savings, improved value, higher levels of patient satisfaction and improved patient outcomes.

“ASP Global can find almost anything I need,” Kathy says. “If I can’t find it, I go to them first, and many times they take my need and deliver a product vastly improved from what I originally envisioned.”

Put direct sourcing to work for you

If your hospital, IDN or large group practice is ready to put direct sourcing of hospital medical products including branded products to work contact or call 404-696-6999.

The Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ recognizes hospitals for providing outstanding patient experience based on 10 measures related to doctor and nurse communication, hospital cleanliness and noise levels, and medication and post-discharge care instructions. The award is based on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient survey data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).