“While healthcare is one of the most noble, exciting and innovative industries in the world, COVID-19 has also exposed its sprawling, fragmented and often inefficient operations,” observed Chaun Powell, Group Vice President, E-Invoicing & Payables, Premier Inc. “The pandemic has been instrumental in changing not only the way providers deliver care, but also the way they do business.”
The big picture
Premier’s Powell urges healthcare facilities to extend their scope beyond traditional supply chain areas, such as procurement and sourcing but also incorporate finance to streamline the procure-to-pay (P2) process and root out cumbersome manual tasks that generate massive inefficiencies and waste. “Take, for instance, that healthcare finance – including accounts payable/receivable – still largely comprises manual, paper-based processes,” he said.
“As many as 70 percent of all invoices in healthcare are paper-based and nearly 85% of all healthcare purchasing is still done manually via paper checks. Across the industry, these transactions can add as much as $18 billion to $22 billion in unnecessary annual expenses for providers and even the simplest errors can lead to an average delay in supplier payment by 61 days. Not only is paper inefficient and expensive compared to digital alternatives but it also leaves room for errors when all of those paper forms are entered into purchasing systems.