There are several ways you can increase profitability in your practice. Many practices initially think the easiest and quickest way to do this is by increasing the number of procedures. While this is correct, looking at the costs can provide quick savings without increasing marketing costs and labor hours. You can increase profitability, keep the same number of procedures, and keep your staff happy just by monitoring your spending.
After payroll, supplies are the primary cost center for most offices. This line item often gets overlooked, but with a little thought and you can save anywhere from 10% – 40% with minimal work and no major changes in products.
Finding both the correct distributor and Group Purchasing Organization (GPO), and building this relationship is critical for cost savings on your materials. As an added bonus, the right suppliers will free up extra time for those who handle the ordering, payment, and reconciliation.
However, finding the right distributor is a bit like dating. There are many options, but not many with the correct attributes which you want to settle down with. Finding the right distributor and building a relationship with your account manager should be your focal point as it can streamline your material management and reduce costs.
Here is what you should be looking for:
1. Stable pricing
This is critical for profitability. Most practices do not have master service agreements (MSA) to contractually lock in prices. These contracts are common in hospital systems and some larger ASCs. Without an MSA your pricing will fluctuate during the year, making it near impossible to forecast and maintain profitability. Pricing models differ across distributors. However, there are some distributors that maintain pricing annually for all their customers, regardless of the practice’s size.
2. Account manager
They’re responsive, helpful, and educating. They’ll be there when you need them, and they’ll guide you when needed most. They have the ability to get you products when items are back-ordered or seemingly not available anywhere. Most importantly, if your distributor has “fluid” pricing, without an MSA in place they control your price and price increases.
3. Customer support
This should be separate from your account manager. They’re typically in charge of getting you the products, getting them shipped, and finding alternatives if a backorder happens. Make sure you have easy access to this group, as they’ll be on your speed dial #2 after your account rep.
4. The breadth of product
Find a distributor that has lots of products, everything you need. Building a relationship with your account manager takes time and effort. You don’t have the time and bandwidth to do this with many companies. Remember, your goal is to streamline ordering along with saving.
The right distributor will take care of the “extra stuff” and set you up with a GPO that provides you with the most favorable pricing. They will keep you compliant for things you didn’t even know existed. The right distributor will help manage your licensing. Your distributor will go the extra mile to ensure you’re getting the most time and money savings and will help steer you to those directions.
We’ve spent lots of time sorting through different distributors, so you don’t have to. We scored through the many options to find the one that makes the most sense for plastic surgeons, dermatologists, med spas and ASCs. Our pick is Pipeline Medical.
We chose Pipeline Medical because they check all the boxes. As an added bonus they were founded by facial plastic surgeons in 2007 and built the company around knowing what plastic surgeons and dermatologists need. Even their website was designed by ordering nurses. Today they’re private equity-backed and investing heavily in their tech, customer support, and product portfolio.
We spoke with Pipeline Medical to learn more. They shared a recent client case study of a dermatology practice in Georgia, with multiple accredited operating rooms, who saved over 30% on their medical supplies, without switching brands or manufacturers of the product!
Pipeline offers great savings on Ethicon, 3M, monelicky, BD, and pharmaceuticals, to name a few. They also distribute over 700,000 products across the United States to their thousands of medical providers.
So, how does Pipeline Medical exactly help your practice increase profitability?
1. Competitive prices:
Pipeline Medical has built strong partnerships over the years with a unique structure. And they mean it. When you compare your existing pricing to Pipeline Medical, there is no competition. The same products at majorly discounted rates equal a boost in your bottom line.
2. Material management support:
Pipeline Medical acknowledges the fact that the healthcare industry is all about saving time and effort to focus on patients. Pipeline has a white-glove material management service team, which ensures that supplies are delivered. They’ll find you alternative products, give you backorder support, and also recommend new products which make sense for your practice. Oh, and they’ll maintain your compliance with licensing and GPO requirements. Overall, they estimate this saves practices 8 – 10 hours per week.
3. Streamlined procurement process:
The industry’s best material management services without any additional costs. Orders are typically shipped and delivered within 24 to 48 hours. Pipeline streamlines the ordering process by acting as a one-stop shop. Think Amazon but for medical practices. Everything and anything you need, from medical supplies, capital equipment, pharmaceuticals, and even office supplies can be ordered in one place. Your accounting team will thank you as well since you’ll have only one invoice to pay for all your supplies.
4. Value-add services:
Pipeline Medical values the time of medical practices and offers further value-add services. For example, through their GPO relationship, you can get savings on your phones, FedEx, lab services, medical gas, and all other day-to-day needs.
Click here to sign up for Pipeline Medical.