In an age of ongoing reviews and inspections, the pressure is on for the healthcare sector to deliver high-quality care. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is England’s independent regulator of all health and social care services, and it aims is to ensure that fundamental standards of quality and safety are met. It publishes the findings of these reviews, meaning that healthcare organisations that don’t meet those standards risk falling into disrepute.
One way of ensuring that they meet CQC standards is via a clinical audit ran by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), an independent organisation responsible for managing clinical audit contracts on behalf of NHS England. It works with healthcare organisations to identify those areas where the quality of care they provide can be improved. It was launched to promote quality in healthcare, and in particular to increase the impact that clinical audits can have on healthcare quality improvement. But this can only happen if you have the provision to source high quality medical and scientific experts who can help conduct a successful audit. And to do this, best practice tendering processes need to come into play.
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The HQIP is a prime example of an auditing body rethinking its procurement approach to boost efficiency. Now using Wax Digital’s cloud-based web3 eSourcing, it can publish tenders electronically and make use of existing templates, while giving suppliers the ability to submit responses online. A tool of this kind gives HQIP the ability to source experts quickly while offering a mix of automated and manual scoring facilitates, and managing subsequent contract awards too. The NHS’ aim to be paperless by 2020 is driven by the efficiencies that it will bring, primarily cost-savings. Thanks to its auditing body making a similar move by ridding the procurement process of paper, it too can make efficiencies and speed up its processes. Improving its contract management processes means that it can spend more time focussing on how the healthcare organisations it audits can be improved.
Judith Hughes, interim head of procurement at HQIP, highlights benefits of the speed and efficiencies offered by intuitive cloud-based software: “As we’d aimed for, Wax Digital web3 has greatly improved our processes. Moving away from paper-based tendering has significantly reduced the time it takes to review and award teams for projects. It has also helped further ensure our quality guidelines are upheld and we now have a much more efficient way of engaging with our suppliers and them with us.”
But the benefits of eSourcing go beyond making the procurement process more efficient. We’ve seen procurement departments in healthcare organisations integrate more easily with the clinical team thanks to eSourcing technology, and entering into discussions about equipment and supplier choices can happen much more naturally. Procurement can also spark up a more successful relationship with the finance department, as having access to accurate spend data means that it can work towards the savings goals. And of course, procurement is about more than just saving money, and thanks to eSourcing technology, healthcare organisations can source durable and quality equipment and find it at the best price. For example, hospitals have reason to select a more expensive piece of equipment if it significantly reduces the likelihood of the patient requiring further care. eSourcing enables procurement to treat different health situations on a case-by-case basis like this.
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Innovating the procurement process can spearhead a change across the organisation, and organisations like HQIP have realised the benefits of turning contract management digital. In the healthcare sector particularly, we’re seeing many organisations make their supply chains more efficient by rolling out eSourcing technology and using the cloud to store all relevant information in one place. And given that a clinical auditor that oversees healthcare has taken that route, the sector has taken a further step towards procurement efficiency.