“Criminal checks are crucial to us for the safety of our patients and staff.”
- Paul George, director, Supply Chain, Mount Nittany Health
Across the U.S., in offices and healthcare facilities, in shopping malls and on the streets, the safety and security of men and women of all ages is as important as ever.
“Criminal checks are crucial to us for the safety of our patients and staff,” says Paul George, director, Supply Chain, Mount Nittany Health, who recommended a move to a true vendor management system from its manual vendor credentialing and tracking. “Everyone here, from our employees to our vendors, really is aware and understands the impact of proper controls and checks for security.”
It was then no surprise that Mount Nittany’s entire hospital staff embraced symplr’s automated vendor credentialing and there was no resistance or pushback whatsoever.
“Our staff and vendors are completely committed to the new system and it was the easiest rollout and implementation imaginable - symplr’s ability to implement its vendor credentialing and onboard every vendor in 30 days gave us security that we’d lacked,” says George.
“When assessing vendors, I sought out those with a long-term presence regionally and nationally – when your vendor credentialing provider is in hundreds of facilities across the U.S. and already has hundreds of thousands of users, their credibility is evident to anyone that works with their systems and support teams.”
Thanks to the symplr team’s experience and ability to listen and respond to customers, its system is ready to go out of the box. The fact that symplr had already anticipated the needs of customers saves time, effort, and energy that would be required to start a credentialing program like this from scratch. To this day, symplr takes the initiative year-round to keep the supply chain team informed and ready for anything that could impact vendors and their staff. For example, every fall, symplr contacts George to remind him that flu season is imminent and it’s time to prepare.
“I love that it just happens – I don’t have to think about it because symplr does it for me,” says George, who notes symplr has recommended everything from new policies and value analysis to specific training, all of which Mount Nittany implemented. “symplr provides an incredibly well thought out package and has the answers I require even before I ask the questions.”
Vendors in specialties like orthopedic and spinal are inherently valuable to the surgeons in the operating room. Fortunately, George can rely on the various symplr dashboards to track these vendors, which is helpful.
“symplr’s detailed real-time and historical data allows me to quickly and effectively follow up with the reps when required – it helps ensure accountability and transparency, says George.”
On occasion, a basic question, such as ‘where do you want to locate the check-in kiosks?’ inspires conversations that help address other ongoing, but otherwise unrelated issues.
For instance, Mount Nittany has grown so much over the past decade, it can take 20 minutes to find a parking spot at 9 a.m. and George didn’t want vendors taking premium parking spots away from patients and other visitors with health and mobility challenges. George took the opportunity to strategically place the vendor check-in station in the area where he wanted Mount Nittany’s vendors to park instead.
“Either vendors park where we want them to park or the further they have to hoof it,” said George. “We were able to think about this because symplr’s questions are designed to guide and lead us in the direction we need to go.”
Before symplr, George and his staff spent 60 to 90 minutes each day preparing lists and badges as well as handling any other vendor issues. Prior to implementing the new system, about half of the vendors pre-booked their visits, the rest showed up unannounced, but either way, the supply chain team needed to interact with them face-to face.
“We rarely see them now, which means we’ve virtually eliminated the busy work and we don’t get the disruptions and intrusions that started and wrapped up each day. The energy and time spent getting your focus back on what you’d been doing before a disruption from a vendor was the biggest challenge we had, and symplr addressed it for us, says George.”
George serves on the symplr’s customer advisory board, and has seen the impact that the group’s discussions have on symplr products. Improvements include everything from fine-tuning a particular capability to building a new feature from scratch.
“It’s impressive and rewarding that they implement the bulk of the ideas that result from our brainstorming and sharing,” says George, who also hones his symplr product knowledge as he learns from his peers during these sessions.
HEALTH SYSTEM SPECIALTY: Primary & acute-care, cardiology, OB/GYN, audiology/diabetes care, reconstructive surgery, orthopedic surgery.
EMPLOYEES: 2,300 including more than 220 physicians
VENDORS: 293 registered
UNIQUE REPS: 772
REP CHECK-INS: An average of 6 to 8 visits daily
VOLUNTEERS: Contribute more than 68,000 hours of service annually
1. All-manual legacy vendor credentialing system
2. Background and sex offender checks paramount due to local history
3. Inconsistent approach to vendor credentialing and treatment of vendors
4. Fear of audit and accreditation checks
5. Fell short of government requirements
6. Vendor drop-ins and cold calls
7. Impossible to track vendor reps’ real-time and historical access
8. Onerous, time-consuming for supply chain staff
symplr vendor credentialing and verification.
1. symplr’s fully automated, systematic registration, credentialing and compliance
2. Background and sex offender check run annually, others updated monthly
3. All vendors and reps must now meet identical requirements
4. Only registered, credentialed, compliant vendors receive badges and day passes
5. 110% confidence in the face of audit and accreditation checks
6. Meet and exceed government requirements
7. Eliminated drop-ins and cold calls
8. symplr reports ensure traceability and transparency
9. Saves supply chain staff 5 to 8 hours weekly
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