Four signs it’s time to update your bill only process

By Angela McNally, Vice President-Provider Solutions, Owens & Minor

At many hospitals, the purchase process for bill only products, items that are delivered by a vendor rep the day of or the day prior to a procedure and are not kept as inventory by the hospital, hasn’t changed much over the years. But should a hospital change that process? And what are the indicators that it should change? There are no simple answers, but here are four signs that it might be time to change how you handle the purchase of bill only products. 

1. Vendor reps are submitting requisitions on paper  

At many hospitals, vendor reps of bill only products have submitted their requisitions via paper forms, usually because the vendor doesn’t have access to the hospital’s system to submit a requisition. But those forms present all sorts of problems. Paper forms are prone to get lost or even thrown away, without anyone even knowing about them. And once the information is filled out on the form, someone else usually has to key that information into a hospital’s system, a process that can often result in errors. 

The reliance on paper forms for requisitions and other actions is an indication that it’s time to reexamine you bill only management process. Vendors will always need to submit requisitions for bill only products to hospitals, so it’s important that the process remain as efficient as possible. For many hospitals, having the vendor rep submit the information electronically for the hospital’s system to pick up can save time and help avoid errors and confusion.

2. You’re spending time manually validating implant prices 

When a vendor rep submits a price as part of a requisition for a bill only product, many hospitals verify the price submitted by the vendor rep by manually looking at the price negotiated by the hospital, ensuring that the proper discounts are applied. It’s a laborious process that is error-prone and eats up valuable time that could be spent elsewhere. 

If you’re having to manually verify prices for requisitions submitted by vendors, that’s a sure sign that it’s time to change how you purchase bill only products. With the right solution, verification can be automated and take far less of your time. And what’s even better about automating the validation of prices is that pricing accuracy is improved, ensuring that you’re submitting the right price for the right product.    

3. You lack visibility into the purchase cycle 

Visibility is all about having updated information about the status of a requisition or a purchase order (PO) at any given time. Has a requisition been approved or is it sitting on someone’s desk? And if it is sitting on someone’s desk waiting to be signed, whose desk is it on? If you do have visibility into the purchase cycle, you can quickly get the answers to the questions. But if you lack the visibility into the purchase cycle, those answers can be hard to come by. 

If you can’t quickly tell where a given requisition is or what’s been approved and waiting for approval, then it might be time to change how you handle bill only products. The ability to see where documents are, what actions need to be taken and by whom, and what actions have been completed are key in effectively managing the purchasing cycle of implants. And if you don’t have that visibility, you can spend countless hours trying to find answers. That’s where a software solution comes in. By using a solution for the bill only process you gain that visibility and can quickly see what documents are waiting on what action by whom.    

4. The purchase cycle for bill only products can take weeks or even months  

Do you routinely process requisitions and cut POs the day a bill only product is used, or does it take longer? A long purchase cycle for bill only products has drawbacks across the board. For the hospital, it means keeping track of hundreds if not a few thousand open requisitions and POs. For the vendors, it means they aren’t being paid in a timely manner.  

If the purchase cycle for bill only products routinely takes weeks or months, then it’s time to rethink how you process bills for these products. In fact, you can often cut the time it takes to purchase a bill only product down with the right solution. These solutions will digitize your information and replace manual processes with automated workflows. The result is often a purchase cycle that is measured in days or even hours.   

Changing existing systems can be challenging, but making the transition now can save time and expense down the road. For the bill only purchase process, these four signs are a clear indication it is indeed time to consider an improved process.   

To learn more how Owens & Minor can help, call us at 1-866-935-0798 or email us at omlearnmore@owens-minor.com

To learn about Bill Only Management, Owens & Minor’s cloud-based solution for bill only products, click here.