East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub – Case Study

13 July 2023 by Mat Oram

The challenge

The NHS procurement landscape is both complex and multi-layered. NHS trusts need to not only create value and savings year on year through economies of scale, but also achieve efficiencies for both the NHS and larger community beyond monetary savings.  

In the past NHS trusts lacked visibility of their spend because of poor data quality, limited access to reporting tools, and trusts are using different financial systems. Each NHS trust employed its own accounts payable and purchase order system, resulting in a lack of standardisation across procurement systems. As a result, critical data could not be processed or analysed effectively.  

Acting on behalf of NHS trusts in the region, East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub (the Hub) wanted to reduce the lengthy and time-consuming process of collecting and making sense of all their non-pay data, including invoices. They needed a regional view so that NHS trust members could compile an accurate and complete picture of spend at a local level and ICS level. 

The solution

The aim of the project with AdviseInc was to enable 21 NHS trusts within the East of England region to have access to better quality data and to be able to view their spend data alongside other NHS trusts in the region. To do this, AdviseInc worked with the Hub to roll out its Platform+ solution. The hub acted as a representative of the 21 trusts helping to deliver quality, value and consistency across the board at all levels. 

Previously, most NHS trusts had only seen their own spend data and nationally price benchmarked products but did not have a full picture of non-pay spend. The Hub collaborated and worked with NHS England, the NHS trusts and AdviseInc to provide their members with visibility and access to the accounts payable and purchase order data needed across a wider range of products and services and at a regional level, covering 6 ICSs. 

The AdviseInc platform has been instrumental in providing powerful insights for both regional and trust projects. By organising the region’s data so that it could be easily analysed, it enabled the trusts to see the same data set as each other, compare against one another and get a more complete picture of spend across the region.

“AdviseInc was amazing throughout the process! They went above and beyond, offering personalised support and promptly answering any questions from our NHS trust members.” James Smith East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub. 

The result 

More data is now visible within the platform which provides a comprehensive and accurate view, enabling trusts to make well-informed decisions and implement procurement strategies more easily.
Together with the Hub, AdviseInc worked hard to establish a common baseline for what was being purchased, from whom, and at what cost. Using features like Route Switch and Price Change, which are built into the Platform+ service, users can see the products they are purchasing and identify those which could potentially save them money relatively easily. For example, instead of the user changing the product, they can simply change the route from which it’s purchased.  

The AdviseInc analytics team now sends quarterly HCTED (now known as SSDP) opportunity reports, providing trusts with a valuable opportunity to identify high-cost usage devices that have been purchased incorrectly. Identification of these devices will assist trusts in recovering the relevant costs and potentially highlight any products that have been missed internally. 

Thanks to AdviseInc all trusts within the region are now at the same level of visibility with regards to their spend data. The service has enabled the Hub to view 100% of its non-pay spend in a single application and the trusts have full visibility of their invoice data, helping to build advanced insights related to spend. Each trust within the region has easy access to their overall spend breakdown in categories such as legal or estates, as well as being able to view the available suppliers with just the click of a button. This information can also be conveniently downloaded for reports or presentations too. This is helping to involve a wider set of stakeholders including clinicians, estates, finance and other departments. 

By using AdviseInc the 21 trusts have collectively saved considerable amounts of time which would have been required to input, clean, and analyse data. Previously someone would have spent days manually doing this. The trusts now have complete oversight and meaningful data at the touch of a button. This has not only provided far greater transparency but allowed procurement teams to add value to their spend data and maximise its use. 

Thanks to AdviseInc’s user-friendly system and award-winning service those using the platform are now more comfortable with how to make sense of the data. AdviseInc is continually enhancing the platform based on user feedback to make it work for the region and engaging with the Hub and trusts on improving data literacy.  

​​Key benefits:

“Key to implementing new systems successfully is an extremely well-managed migration. AdviseInc made sure this was a smooth process throughout so that trusts could fully utilise the system.” Director of Procurement at East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub 

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