- Behind the scenes: Supply chain management - Archived
Everywhere you turn at CAMC, you see the direct effects of the supply chain management department. From the printing of the forms you fill out at registration, to washing and distributing the linens for your hospital bed and purchasing and maintaining the blood pressure cuffs on the units, supply chain management is a group of very busy people.
Supply chain management is made up of 115 employees in six different departments: linen services, purchasing, material handling, print shop, data management and courier/mail room.
CAMC's linen services processes more than seven million pounds of laundry each year. The department sorts, washes, dries, irons and folds all linens, and manages the pickup of all soiled laundry. It maintains the linens not only for CAMC's facilities, but also for outside facilities like Braxton County Memorial Hospital, St. Francis Hospital and Logan Regional Medical Center.
Linen services is responsible for maintaining and distributing the scrubs worn by clinical staff, and has recently updated equipment that helps keep better track of the scrub supplies.
Linen services director Kelly Harrison said people are always surprised to hear how much laundry is processed at CAMC.
"It's just not something you think about when you think of a hospital," she said.
The purchasing department handles all the day-to-day orders in the health system. Every day the staff of 11 people takes care of ordering regularly stocked and special items, managing rentals/leases of equipment and other services and oversees all the vendor contracts for CAMC.
The department handles 50,000 purchase orders each year. They take care of any product recalls and continuously measure the value of current vendors and negotiate for the best prices and value for the health system.
Purchasing also manages a value analysis program, which brings various clinicians and employees together periodically to discuss which products and technology they will bring in, and then work to review any new technology for evidence-based outcomes. Through eight different committees, administrators, physicians, nurses and other staff weigh the benefits and fall backs of any potential new equipment or supply to make sure CAMC can provide the best care to every patient.
"We take care of the day-to-day supplies, but it's more than that--we're working to provide the best products that will result in the best clinical and quality outcomes for the patients at the best value to the hospital," said Derrick Billups, director of purchasing/value analysis.
The material handling department stocks all daily orders for the hospital in a large warehouse, from baby formula to gloves and shoe covers. Employees replenish all materials on the nursing floors and take care of shipping and return goods and manage any excess equipment the hospital is no longer using.
Material handling also works with other departments in the hospital to help train them in inventory management.
CAMC has an internal print shop to accommodate the large amount of forms, brochures and other informational materials that are used every day. The department prints more than 3,000 different routine medical record forms and produces letterhead and envelopes for the various departments/practices.
Alan Shearer, director of material handling and the print shop, said using the internal service helps keep printing costs down.
Data management's main job is to manage the daily operations of an internal technology system specifically used for supply chain management. The system handles everything from tracking inventory and usage, electronic ordering and more. For patient consumable supplies alone, data management processes 300,000 transactions each year.
The department assists central services with inventory management and handles all special billing for the health system.
The mail room sorts more than 2,000 pieces of mail each day and distributes them to the appropriate locations. The department also offers a courier service, running supplies, mail and charts between facilities. It handles all "stat" runs, or items that need urgent delivery, which can mean up to 2,300 calls per month just for the unexpected events. The department operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Supply chain management doesn¹t only keep up with the day-to-day needs of the health system‹its employees look toward the future and work to prepare for any unexpected events.
"While most of the supplies we would need in the event of an emergency are regularly stocked in our facilities, we still want to make sure we're prepared for any unexpected occurrence," said Steve Perry, corporate director of supply chain management.
The department has an emergency supply room in one of CAMC's off-site locations that houses all non-pharmaceutical supplies (like water, gloves, splints, backboards, etc.) necessary in a disaster. The managers of each department are working together to make sure all areas of the health system are accounted for in order to be completely self-sufficient with no deliveries or aid for 96 hours.
Supply chain management leaders are always working to create more standardization throughout the health system and look for ways to make the hospital more efficient, in processes and costs.