Feature Article

Interventional Cardiology Analytics: A New Level of Productivity

Interventional cardiology puts out-sized demands on the supply chain. Innovative technologies for inventory management offer dynamic opportunities for enhanced accuracy and efficiency. 

Inventory Management

An interventional cardiology procedure involves many supplies, from catheters and balloons to stents and vascular closure devices. Difficulty tracking these items at the point of care is a constant challenge, resulting in inefficiency and waste.

When it comes to inventory management, many interventional cardiology departments today still rely on manual processes, such as attaching an item’s barcode sticker to one’s scrubs or saving it in a notebook for entry following a procedure. It’s no wonder these departments experience a high inventory-loss rate.

What if there was a better way? What if one could enter inventory accurately and dynamically, as well as view trends, outcomes and outliers? In addition, what if these analytics could highlight opportunities for performance improvement and training?

“Not only is interventional cardiology a high-cost space, there’s also a lot of inventory being held on hand and consumed,” said Ryan Donlon, Director of Product Marketing, Cardiovascular Information Technology, at GE Healthcare, Healthcare Digital. “Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of functionality from the enterprise material management solutions designed specifically for cardiology use cases.”

According to Donlon, one of the most-expensive problems in interventional cardiology labs is expiring supplies. “If you don’t have visibility into when supplies expire, then you have no way of prioritizing usage,” he said, adding that missed charges is another top inefficiency.

Better data capture and analysis that become part of a daily, weekly, or monthly routine can help minimize waste, maintain supply levels, and reduce inventory overhead costs.

A Look At One Hospital

Take Cabell Huntington Hospital, for example, a 303-bed teaching hospital, located in Huntington, West Virginia. After moving from manual processes to GE Healthcare’s Centricity™ Cardio Workflow, it resulted in a 70% reduction in time to manage inventory, par level, and stocking on an ongoing basis. Prior to using an automated solution, charge capture submission took 20 to 45 minutes per case based on complexity.

Charges are now accumulated during a case by barcoding and completed in one click after the case is complete. Savings from improvements in inventory and department efficiency were reallocated to support more procedures, which helped the department increase its volume by 9.7% year over year, which subsequently brought an increase of 9.7% in procedure billings as well. This was all accomplished without increasing hours or the number of staff or physicians.[1]

While inventory management and charge capture solutions for interventional cardiology labs is better than a manual system, an opportunity remains for taking this structured inventory data and conducting more sophisticated, data-driven analysis. An example would be a solution with the ability to provide insight into key performance indicators such as expiring materials, low material usage, and cost of physician per case, with the ability to drill down into case details.

Along with better inventory management in the cardiology department, a tool that granularly tracks the details of each procedure workflow step and inventory item can highlight departmental productivity issues. Productivity, like inventory loss, is a top challenge for interventional labs.

Leveraging Data To Drive Efficiency

“Why is one physician using five catheters per procedure, while everybody else is using an average of 1.2?” Donlon posed. A detected issue with physician variability could be around training, inventory quality, or both. “The data may not tell you what the problem is, but it gives you the insight and talking points to have a productive conversation,” he noted.

Such analytic tools go beyond inventory management and expose individual or departmental inefficiencies, identifying delays at specific workflow steps. To make them effective, however, these tools need easy-to-consume dashboards on all the topics of interest to the department head without the need to write custom reports or dive deep into an information system database.

One example of this type of next-generation analytics is Interventional Cardiology Insights (ICI) from GE Healthcare. ICI sits on top of GE Healthcare’s Centricity Cardio Workflow, a cardiovascular information system with inventory management, charge capture, and structured reporting modules, and leverages Edison, GE Healthcare’s secure intelligence platform. ICI provides multiple dashboards that can drive clinical, operational, and financial improvements from Centricity Cardio Workflow data.

To learn about GE Healthcare’s Cardiovascular IT solution, visit our website.

[1] “Cath Lab Inventory Management: How GE Healthcare’s Centricity Cardio Workflow helped improve operational efficiency and the bottom line at Cabell Huntington.