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Having the clinical knowledge and data analysis is paramount for saving our trust money 

Modified on: Tue, 24 Sep, 2019 at 9:29 AM
Author: Paul Horsman / Celia Poole

Celia Poole, Clinical Procurement Manager – Corporate Services Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership shared with AdviseInc how our analytics has supported her work across Greater Manchester to deliver a GM-wide formulary for Woundcare.

While the concept of wound care might be easy to understand, the types of wounds managed by the NHS, and the products used to treat them, are vast and complex. Anyone looking at the category for the first time would need to spend a significant amount of time understanding all the different products and suppliers involved.

Yet despite not being a wound care specialist, Clinical Procurement Manager Celia Poole was able to get her project underway sooner with the help of AdviseInc. Not only did they understand the market, its categories and suppliers, but could present what each hospital was using and identify which products would help save money. And with the data analysis taken care of, Celia could concentrate on clinical engagement instead.

Making money work better for us

“We’ve all been or will be a patient. So, why wouldn’t we want the best quality healthcare provided for us at the best price? Greater Manchester spends around £5m a year on wound care products in the Acute sector. I’m looking to see how we can make that money work better for us.

Wound care itself is about how you dress a wound, whether that’s to protect it or aid its healing. All Trusts have a formulary, a kind of blueprint that tells clinical professionals what type of products they should use when dressing a wound. I’d say there’s around 15 to 20 different categories that sit in a wound care formulary. That can be from the tape that holds the dressing in place to a whole range of antimicrobials designed to help with the healing process. It might also include a variety of other products needed for specialist areas, such as burns. 

The Tissue Viability Nurses who devise and develop the formulary will involve other experts within their trust (including burn specialists, podiatrists and dermatologists) and determine which products need to go on it. They’ll then work with their procurement teams to get the best price for those products. This usually happens every couple of years. The problem is that each trust in Greater Manchester has been doing its own thing, so the process has been happening 12 times over. It makes far more sense to do it only once and develop a single wound care formulary for Greater Manchester.”

The depth of knowledge at AdviseInc

“The first thing we needed to understand was the current spend profile across Greater Manchester. Neil Hind (Procurement Lead for GMHSCP) had worked with AdviseInc before and recognised they could play an important role in helping us do this, as well as scoping out any potential savings. Their familiarity of the products and suppliers was invaluable to me. While I work in clinical settings, I’ve never been a specialist in wound care, so that depth of knowledge was very useful for me to tap into.

Having their support also meant I could concentrate on engaging stakeholders. It was suggested to me that getting all the Tissue Viability Nurses in the same room to agree on anything would be a challenge. After meeting each one individually to get their support, we were then able to sit down together. That’s when a lot of the work AdviseInc did for us really came to the fore. 

Not only were we able to demonstrate to the Tissue Viability Nurses that they were often selecting similar products, but we could show them the volume being ordered, the prices each trust was paying and the potential prices available by switching products. Along with each specialist’s clinical view, we got them to discuss and agree on which products to use going forward. Having AdviseInc attend that meeting was so helpful, as their insight and data meant we could all reach a decision.”

Confidence to deliver what we need

“Since that first meeting, we’ve been working hard to get consensus on different products for each category line. In a couple of months, I would expect to have full agreement on which products and categories make up the final formulary. As well as the products being clinically agreed, there should be no cost pressures for any of our trusts using the basket of wound care products on this formulary. In fact, when committing to volume, it should save them money.

 I don’t tend to stop and think about how large my projects are… I just think about what needs to be done and get on with it. There’s an additional project I’d love AdviseInc to help us with. They would certainly have a head start compared with anyone else in the sector, and I have confidence they would be able to deliver what we need.”