AdviseInc has worked with Trusts across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care System (ICS) since 2019, three years before it formally became an ICS in 2022. We recently sat down with Ben Shaw, Director of Productivity, and David Streets, Head of Procurement at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, to talk about how AdviseInc has been deployed across the region to identify cost-saving opportunities and provide routine insights into procurement spend. “I joined University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust as Head of Procurement in 2015,” explained Ben. “My job focused on cost improvement, managing supply risk and inflation mitigation. I then moved into my current role at the trust, a wider efficiency and transformation position, towards the end of 2017.”
Ben first met the AdviseInc team at the HCSA summer conference in 2015, where he became aware of the company’s Product Price Benchmarking solution, which would go on to be used across 200 NHS provider trusts in England. AdviseInc’s national contract for PPIB ran until 2019, before NHS England and Improvement launched the Spend Comparison Service (SCS), its own version of the solution, and made it available to the NHS free-of-charge. Even so, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust continued to work with AdviseInc on Price Benchmarking, supporting the development of “product switching” – a tool that empowers users with the ability to see alternative products and suppliers, and make cost-savings.
Despite helping NHS provider trusts realise significant benefits in unwarranted variation, benchmarking could only provide visibility to 10-15% of non-pay spend. What’s more, benchmarking was only being used for products, with hospitals lacking visibility of services, maintenance and other non-purchase order spend. Another issue was that all the analytical tools on the market lacked the classification needed to make sense of spend data in a way that was useful for category teams, clinicians and suppliers. As a result, AdviseInc began work on the development of a new product, Procurement Dashboard (PD).
“Our primary reason for creating PD was to increase visibility of non-pay spend to 100%,” explained Mat Oram, CEO and Founder, AdviseInc. “Invoice data connected to Purchase Orders, Catalogues and Contracts was essential to provide greater transparency. With so many ways to classify spend across the various specialties, it was clear to us that category managers needed more detail, including that related to component, material, compatibility and procedure. This led us to talk with procurement teams across the country, and in doing so, we started to understand how important visibility is for identifying opportunities, reducing variation and comparing usage with peers, especially with the move towards Integrated Care Systems.”
Having already built a relationship with the trust, AdviseInc reached out to University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to see if they would be interested in the new solution. “My job focuses on cost improvement, managing supply risk and inflation mitigation,” said Ben Shaw. “So, when AdviseInc got in touch about Procurement Dashboard, I was immediately interested. After speaking with Mat, I was completely sold. From the moment you start speaking with AdviseInc, it is clear the organisation is run by ‘procurement people’, who understand the nuances of our role and the challenges we face on a day-to-day basis.”
As well as the greater level of visibility afforded by PD, AdviseInc established a team of procurement specialists and ex-clinicians to add more detailed classification to spend, including all the major clinical categories, allowing for greater analysis across a range of attributes. But with a “shrinking” procurement team, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, needed more than the standard Procurement Dashboard package to gain value from the insights it could provide.
After meeting with AdviseInc, in 2021, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust took the decision to implement Procurement Dashboard Plus (PD+). Users of PD+ get full access to Price Benchmarking and Procurement Dashboard applications, resulting in greater visibility and control over spend. In addition, PD+ customers benefit from receiving greater support from the AdviseInc team, who surface insights and make it easier for hospitals to take action. The AdviseInc team goes deeper into areas of clinical spend than anyone else in the market, driving greater ROI for Trusts and ICSs.
At around the same time the decision to implement PD+ was taken, Ben vacated his role as Head of Procurement to start a new position as Director of Productivity. He was replaced by David Streets, who originally joined the Trust as a Senior Category Manager in 2014. “Not only do we get the tool for benchmarking we also get expert analytics support,” explained David. “AdviseInc can quickly provide us with reports and insights into our spend and point us to opportunities they have seen in other organisations. You don’t always get that with other solutions, which is where the added value is. They are also able to get down to a granular level on some of their data through the work they do around data mapping – we’ve seen a lot of benefit from that over the past couple of years.”
More recently, AdviseInc’s 10th percentile analysis has helped Leicester hone in on product areas with the greatest variation in price, working with the Trust to identify alternative sources and routes for products.
So, what exactly is included with PD+?
As well as gaining access to Price Benchmarking and Procurement Dashboard applications, PD+ users receive:
Headline benefits for Leicester so far:
Working with AdviseInc, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust quickly began to realise significant cost-saving benefits. “As soon as we started using PD+, we began to reap the rewards. In less than 12 months, we identified cost-savings opportunities that covered the cost of the service for many years to come,” said David. “And when we look for opportunities, it’s reassuring to see things we already knew about because it reinforces the good work our team is doing.” As part of the PD+ offering, the Trust also benefits from access to AdviseInc’s high-cost tariff excluded device (HCTED) analysis at no extra cost. “AdviseInc’s HCTED analysis checks compliance against some of our procurement spend. This year alone, it has helped us to identify £262k worth of missed reclaims. NHS England has been helpful, and we’ve now received the money back,” said Geraint Jackett, Head of Financial Management at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.
Further to this, with rising inflation rates and supply chain disruption resulting in an ever-increasing cost of care, the Trust is working with AdviseInc to identify price changes, which help David and his team to forecast spend, negotiate with suppliers and budget more effectively. “With inflation rates rising, we’re now dedicating a lot of time to cost improvement, cost avoidance and mitigation,” explained David. “It is getting harder to maintain current prices with suppliers, let alone bring them down. Using AdviseInc ensures we are better equipped to have conversations about the reality of price increases, offering us a point of comparison with other Trusts. Their Price Change capability makes the whole process a lot easier.”
In one instance, the Trust used AdviseInc to benchmark one of its largest suppliers to mitigate inflation, leading to £539k worth of cost avoidance. “There are countless examples of where AdviseInc has helped us to crunch data very quickly and present it in a format that is easy to read and understand, empowering us when we have conversations with suppliers,” David added.
Adapting to the needs of the customer
In addition to PD+, University Hospitals Leicester is one of the first NHS organisations to go-live with the new AdviseInc Platform, having worked closely with the team on the development of the solution. The new platform brings AdviseInc’s suite of award-winning spend and analytics applications together under one roof, including the company’s latest solution, Control Tower, which simplifies the vast amounts of information being collected and managed in each care setting within an integrated care system. “For us, the main benefit of working with AdviseInc comes from being able to benchmark nationally,” said Ben Shaw. “But having worked with the team on the development of the new platform, it is clear how beneficial the level of visibility and control is going to be for ICS teams up and down the country.”
Beyond procurement, AdviseInc is working with the Finance and Procurement department at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to create analytics for purchase to pay measures. The new platform will ensure Future-Focused Finance KPIs are tracked across the Trust while providing users with more enhanced analytical tools and reducing the burden of manual data entry.
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