By , Chief Marketing Officer

7 Experts Weigh In

7 Minute Read – Hospital supply chain and inventory management leaders faced unprecedented challenges in 2020. Now, with several COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon, the 2021 forecast is much rosier.

Still, hospitals must not slow down their supply chain management and inventory management improvement efforts. Continued progress will help your hospital withstand future supply chain disruptions, improve efficiency, and reduce waste.

To help your hospital start off 2021 on the right foot, we asked hospital supply chain management and healthcare inventory management experts to weigh in. Here’s what they said:

#1. Engage in an accurate inventory count and valuation—now

Accurate data and clear visibility into your into your inventory are the foundations of an effective supply chain. As Joseph Pipkins, our associate director of inventory services, says, “If your hospital hasn’t yet taken an inventory count or contracted with an inventory counting service provider, don’t delay. If history has taught us anything, it’s that hospitals need to expect the unexpected so that if a supply chain disruption happens, they have everything in order.”

#2. Implement a plan to stay on top of your inventory, year round

In addition to conducting a formal, annual inventory count, hospitals must continually track and monitor their inventory throughout the year, says Rebecca Addison, our director of inventory operations. “Consistent, standardized inventories will improve efficiency and reduce waste. Also, if you always know what you have on hand—and you can trust that information—you won’t have to scramble to assess your inventory if you encounter a crisis, such as a PPE shortage, as we did in 2020.”

#3. Create contingency plans specific to inventory management

A serious disruption that impacts the supply chain, such as a natural disaster or other event, could happen at any time. Hospitals must take the lessons they learned from the COVID-19 supply chain disruption, and apply those lessons to better prepare for future disruptions, says Melissa Horn, our vice president of inventory sales. “If you’re a large system, make sure you have an enterprise-wide plan regarding how to distribute and allocate resources quickly when necessary,” she says. “In general, you should include sourcing plans for secondary and tertiary resources, and begin forming coalitions with other organizations to enhance resource-sharing when necessary.”

#4. Update your item master

Since the pandemic began, many hospitals have steadily acquired inventory, such as PPE, from non-traditional suppliers that were not part of their GPO contract. These items may not have been updated in their item masters, says Todd Plesko, our CEO. “Adding this information to your item master file will help you determine if you should add these vendors to your procurement cycle and ensure that you have their information on file during a future disruption,” he says. “It will also provide more visibility into supplies and suppliers across your system and make it more easy for you to identify cost-savings opportunities.”

#5. Identify physician preference item (PPI) savings opportunities

When it comes to optimizing inventory management, a key area to focus on is the OR, says Brion Bailey, our chief commercial officer. “More optimal inventory management within the OR can lead to significant margin improvements for hospitals,” he says. “In 2021, focus on increasing physician acceptance of lower-cost supplies by identifying when these items lead to the same or better outcomes. Effective supply chain management technology can help you do this, by producing cost-variance analyses that show how different PPIs affect patient outcomes and length-of-stay metrics.”

#6. Provide efficiency-boosting tools to clinical and inventory management teams

Point-of-use tools that have scanning and charge capture capabilities seamlessly integrated into their supply chain analytics platform (such as smart wands, RFID smart cabinets, point-of-care technologies, and barcode systems) save staff members a significant amount of time, adds Bailey. “These features improve productivity and ensure supplies being used during procedures are captured and accurately recorded in clinical systems which increases OR revenue. It’s a small change to workflows that is easy to incorporate and makes a significant impact.”

#7. Engage and elevate your hospital supply chain and inventory management leaders

In 2020, the healthcare industry learned how critical a role hospital supply chain and inventory management leaders play in ensuring patient and staff safety, says Plesko. “As a result, more and more hospitals are giving these leaders more responsibility. If your hospital hasn’t done that yet, it’s time. Not only can these individuals help your hospital navigate supply chain disruptions, but they can also help improve margins by identifying opportunities to reduce supply chain waste.”

#8. Implement additional safety measures

Product recall notifications are an inevitable component of the hospital supply chain, says Lee Smith, RNFA, BSN, MBA, our vice president of clinical solutions. “Unfortunately, these important notifications don’t always make their way to the appropriate inventory management individuals, and that raises significant patient safety concerns,” she says. “In 2021, every hospital should explore adding point-of-use scanning capabilities that integrate with the FDA’s recall database and flag recalled items.”

#9. Focus on inventory supply standardization

Standardizing supplies increases negotiating power with suppliers, reduces inventory, and decreases variability. Consider investing in a single supply-chain management platform that can provide real-time insights across the entire healthcare enterprise and facilitate standardization, says Bailey. “Supply-chain management tools can help hospitals quickly and easily run reports to identify supply standardization opportunities.”

#10. Use demand forecasting technology

Effective supply chain management technology can help your hospital plan for, better manage, and more quickly recover from supply chain disruptions. For example, incident and peak demand forecasting tools can support inventory planning and management during disruption periods and during periods of normalcy, says Steve Herz, our vice president of products. “If the past year taught us anything, it’s that hospitals must implement demand forecasting technology to ensure high quality patient care.”

Learning from the past

The healthcare industry learned a lot of hard lessons in 2020. Don’t fail to act on them. Now is the time to shore up and improve supply chain and inventory management. Use these tips as a starting point, and reach out to us to learn more about how we can help.

Reach out with questions or learn more about Syft’s Clinical Inventory Services

Whitney St. Pierre Chief Marketing Officer

Whitney St. Pierre has nearly 20 years’ experience fulfilling various marketing leadership roles in the technology industry. In her current role as Chief Marketing Officer, Whitney has oversight of all aspects of marketing including strategy, branding, product marketing, sales enablement, and communications to name a few.

Prior to joining Syft, Whitney was the Director of Marketing for Extension Healthcare. During her 8 years there, she was instrumental in a major rebranding initiative that helped to propel the company’s growth. Having become the leader in the clinical communication and collaboration market, Extension Healthcare was acquired by Vocera Communications in 2016.

Whitney earned a BS from Auburn University in 2001 with a concentration on business and marketing. She now lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and two children and is an accomplished artist.

Need To Schedule Inventory Services? Request A Quote
By Fierce Healthcare: Originally from sponsored by Syft.

Out of Struggle, Opportunity

7 Minute Read – The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged healthcare networks throughout the U.S. in unprecedented ways. As financial losses are being surveyed, new opportunities have emerged for hospitals and health systems to not only recover from those losses, but also simultaneously establish cost-saving initiatives in the perioperative area by using optimized supply chain analytics.

Healthcare organizations are also recognizing the benefits of engaging incident surge services and solutions to help their supply chains move forward from COVID -19. These services include:

  • Conducting inventory health checks to optimize inventory in all departments
  • Restoring and optimizing their Item Master
  • Automating manual, time-consuming tasks
  • Streamlining decedent management and tracking processes
  • Incorporating supply demand forecasting and additional real-time data analytics

The numbers make the benefits of supply chain analytics clear: A hospital with $800 million in revenue that improves its SCM performance by 1% to 3% could gain between $8 million and $24 million.

To turn wounds into wisdom, the time is now for hospitals to improve their supply chain analytics and grow from the pandemic’s strain, says Todd Plesko, CEO of Syft, a supply chain management solutions provider which recently released a playbook for hospitals to help them recover from COVID-19 and fortify for future disruptions.

“Optimizing your hospital’s supply chain has never been more important than it is today, and it will grow even more critical as winter approaches and hospitals face potential additional surges of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza patients,” says Plesko. “Hospitals that can make quick improvements now will enhance patient and staff safety, while also identifying opportunities to reduce waste and improve overall margins.”

Knocked Down

According to the American Hospital Association, hospital financial losses will deepen by an additional $120.5 billion from July 2020 through December 2020, bringing total losses to at least $323.1 billion for the year. Experts have warned that the recovery pace for hospitals and health systems will be slow, and that normal hospital volume will not come back quickly, even as states lift moratoriums on non-emergent procedures.

To confront this challenge, hospitals will need to find ways to make the most of every procedure they do perform.

Enter an optimized supply chain, substantially reducing waste in the perioperative area and significantly improving margins.

Rise Up Stronger

The operating room in particular accounts for many hospitals’ highest supply costs, particularly due to the cost of physician preference items (PPI), says Brion Bailey, Syft’s Chief Commercial Officer.

“This is why hospitals must be able to employ analytics that automatically, systematically, and continually identify PPI savings opportunities,” he says. “For example, they should regularly provide physicians with reports that connect cost-variance analyses with patient outcome and length-of-stay metrics. Data can be used as evidence to prove that lower cost items do not negatively impact patient outcomes, which makes it easier to gain physician buy-in on those lower-cost items.”

Hospitals can also use supply chain analytics to identify the surgical procedures that are their highest revenue drivers, says Plesko. These procedures are best identified with point-of-use (POU) tools that have scanning and charge capture capabilities seamlessly integrated into their supply chain analytics platform.

“When hospitals give their staff POU tools that automate traditionally manually processes, it saves them a significant amount of time, improves productivity, and ensures supplies being used during procedures are captured and accurately recorded in clinical systems which increases OR revenue,” says Plesko. “It’s a small change to workflows that is easy to incorporate and makes a significant impact.”

Despite the benefits of point-of-use supply chain management solutions, less than half of hospitals use them, according to a February 2020 survey of 100 hospital and supply chain leaders. In addition, 80% of hospital and supply chain leaders say OR physicians can’t easily track or compare cost-per-case and outcomes with peers, and 49% say case cost variations aren’t discussed with individual surgeons.

Point blank: Hospital leaders need more viable data. Today, most rely on data at the point of purchase. To achieve total supply chain visibility, they also need data at the point of use.

To that end, an updated item master, supplied with high-fidelity data, is crucial, especially as hospitals adapt to changes that have come about during COVID-19, says Bailey. Since the pandemic began, many hospitals have acquired supplies from non-traditional suppliers that are not part of their GPO contract, he explains. These items may or may not have been updated in their item master. By incorporating barcodes with these items, staff members can use POU scanners in the OR and allow the system to flag any item that is not on-contract (including bill-only). “Staff members then have the option to quickly substitute for a contracted item, which will ensure that they are using items the hospital has negotiated for, thereby saving money,” says Bailey.

An Opportunity Seized

Hospitals across the country are increasingly recognizing the value of an optimized supply chain. Rady Children’s hospital, for example, a leading San Diego pediatric medical center, recently leveraged the Syft Synergy platform to increase their supply chain efficiency.

“One of our biggest strategic goals is to increase our cost-based decision-making for Surgical Services inventory, while continuing to ensure the highest quality patient outcomes,” said Dave Graul, Director of Supply Chain Management at Rady Children’s. “It’s the next step in our multi-year strategic supply chain optimization project.”

COVID-19 has forced many hospitals to scrutinize the way their supply chains are managed. They recognize this as a moment to go beyond recovering financial losses and use lessons learned from this challenge to build a fortified, more resilient system.

Optimize the supply chain, increase margins. Syft Synergy is a supply chain management platform that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help hospitals forecast supply demand, realize cost savings through supply standardization, optimize inventory across all departments including the point of use, and accurately capture supply utilization which boosts the hospital’s bottom line.

Recover From COVID-19 Losses Incident Surge Recovery and Long-Term Preparedness Services

By , CEO

New software will provide hospitals with real-time analytics to drive savings and reduce waste

7 Minute Read – Syft, the leading provider of healthcare inventory control and end-to-end hospital supply chain cost management services, today released Syft Synergy 4.3. For the first time, Syft is offering a few of its most popular dashboards and analytics as a standalone package leveraging data provided by the hospital. An easy-to-install, web-based offering, the intelligent suite of analytics provides real-time business intelligence data that drives inventory and process optimization in procedural and surgical settings.

Hospitals may also upgrade from an analytics-only solution to include all Syft Synergy dashboards and reports plus Syft’s Master Data Management (MDM) services and Point-of-Use technologies. The additional services and solutions help ensure the data driving the dashboards and analytics is clean, complete, and reliable.

In this Q&A, Syft CEO Todd Plesko shares more about 4.3, what it means for healthcare organizations, and why real-time perioperative and surgical analytics is so important.

A key aspect of 4.3 is that it provides deep analytics and reporting in the perioperative area. Why is this so important for hospitals and health systems?

Plesko: The operating room is a significant contributor to a hospital’s total supply cost, particularly due to physician preference items (PPIs). In fact, surgical supply usage typically constitutes 40% to 60% of a hospital’s total supply cost (excluding medications). That’s why hospitals must be able to automatically, systematically, and continually identify PPI savings opportunities. Version 4.3 can help them do that.

Version 4.3 also ensures that, once hospitals identify PPI savings opportunities, they can act on them. For example, hospitals can use 4.3 to create cost-variance reports that show how different PPIs affect patient outcomes and length-of-stay metrics. Having access to these reports and providing physicians with visibility into the findings is the most effective way to gain physician buy-in for lower cost items. Essentially, if physicians recognize that a lower-cost item does not jeopardize the quality of care provided, they are much more willing to use that item.

Hospitals can also use 4.3 to identify surgical procedures that are the highest revenue drivers. This is beneficial information in times of normalcy, but it’s even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. As hospitals attempt to recover from financial losses, this data can help them make strategic decisions regarding which elective procedures have long-term sustainability.

You mentioned COVID-19. Can you elaborate on how 4.3 can help hospitals and health systems recover?

Plesko: COVID-19 has placed unprecedented strain on every aspect of the healthcare system, and the financial fallout will continue for many months. The American Hospital Association (AHA) projects that hospital financial losses will deepen by an additional $120.5 billion from July 2020 through December 2020, bringing total losses to at least $323.1 billion for the year. According to the AHA, “Experts have warned that the recovery pace for hospitals and health systems will be slow and that normal hospital volume will not come back quickly even as states lift moratoriums on non-emergent procedures.”

READ: Healthcare Supply Chain Recovery Playbook

As hospitals confront these challenges, they must find ways to make the most of every procedure they perform, and using 4.3 analytics and reports to optimize the supply chain—particularly in the OR, which is such a big contributor to total supply costs—can be a gamechanger.

Numerous studies point to the revenue-enhancing benefits of supply chain optimization, including a Guidehouse report which found that optimizing the supply chain can reduce annual expenses by 22.6% annually, or $12.1 million per hospital.

What are some of the key elements of 4.3 that you think will be most beneficial to hospitals?

Plesko: There are several features and functions that I would call out, but if I had to select a few I’d point to the following:

  • Variance dashboards and reports by specialty, procedure, and physician, and outcomes data
  • Detailed reports on preference card optimization opportunities, supply usage, and waste
  • Reports on the highest-cost procedures and surgeon procedural cost benchmarking tools
  • Procedure and supply demand forecasts that can help hospitals prevent supply stockouts (particularly critical during a supply chain disruption such as COVID-19)

Hospitals should also consider upgrading to a bundled solution that includes all Syft Synergy dashboards and reports plus Syft’s Master Data Management (MDM) services and Point-of-Use (POU) technologies. The additional services and solutions help ensure the data driving the dashboards and analytics is clean, complete, and reliable.

It’s also noteworthy that 4.3 includes new features and functions that make system administrators’ jobs easier such as streamlining testing and more flexibility with configuration.

Lastly, there are numerous enhancements in 4.3 that came at the direct request of existing customers through our Voice of Community program. The program allows users and systems administrators to participate in users’ groups and product testing so they can tell us firsthand what they want and need from our platform.

What are some of the other advantages hospitals will gain from a bundled solution?

Plesko: Hospitals’ efforts to identify cost-savings opportunities and top revenue-driving procedures will be seriously hindered if they aren’t using accurate and robust POU scanning and charge capture capabilities that seamlessly integrate into their supply chain analytics platform. Without POU, staff members won’t be able to quickly and efficiently capture supply usage, and the data acquired will not be accurate. If hospitals can’t trust in the accuracy of their data, they can’t trust that the data is telling the full story related to supply usage, cost, or patient outcomes. A bundled solution is the best way to get the most reliable data.

As hospitals strive to harness supply chain analytics and ensure they are working with high fidelity data, they also need a reliable item master. This is why our MDM services are so critical. Since COVID-19 began, many hospitals have acquired supplies (such as PPE) from nontraditional suppliers and are buying off-contract. That data may or may not have found its way into the item master and could be incomplete.

Even during non-COVID times, hospitals need help cleansing their data, as was the case with one hospital we recently assisted. During that discovery process, we found that of the 190,000 items in their item master, only 30,000 items were actually used. Much of the data was duplicative and/or obsolete.

Hospitals must update their item master and integrate it into their supply chain management technology. That way, when staff members use POU tools, any item that is not on-contract with the hospital is automatically flagged. Staff members can then quickly substitute a contracted item to save money.

Todd Plesko Chief Executive Officer

Todd Plesko brings deep entrepreneurial and executive experience, having founded and led several successful healthcare technology companies. As CEO of triPRACTIX, he grew the business to become one of the nation’s largest GE Centricity™ resellers. He then founded and was Chairman and CEO of Extension Healthcare, a spin out of triPRACTIX. Extension provided over 270 hospital customers with a robust clinical integration and caregiver communications solution. The company was acquired by Vocera Communications in 2016, where Mr. Plesko served as Vice President of Product Strategy, guiding all aspects of product management, development, and direction for Vocera’s industry-leading clinical communications platform. Previous experience also includes being Chief Information Officer at a large, multi-site healthcare provider organization.

Mr. Plesko holds a BA from Central Michigan University and an MBA from Indiana Institute of Technology.

Ready to Upgrade to Synergy 4.3? Get Started
By , Chief Nursing Officer

Three reasons why better quality decedent management can help hospitals and the communities they serve

6 Minute Read – Hospitals strive to deliver quality care at every stage of a patient’s experience – across the full continuum. This continuum doesn’t end after a patient’s death. Hospitals have a moral and business obligation to ensure that deceased patients continue to be treated with dignity, and that their final journey through the healthcare system to their final disposition is handled seamlessly and compassionately for their family members and loved ones.

Yet recent news articles, such as this one in the Wall Street Journal, show that decedent management is an area in which many hospitals and their third-party collaborators are struggling.

RELATED: Leveraging a Supply Chain Platform to Manage Hospital Decedent Affairs

As hospitals seek to make improvements, one of the first tasks should be forming an Office of Decedent Affairs (ODA). These departments, which are already in place at a small but growing number of hospitals, are made up of specialists who are specifically focused on decedent management and who have backgrounds in areas such as pathology, mortuary services, and bereavement counseling.

Here are three key benefits that establishing an ODA and prioritizing decedent management provides hospitals, patients, and patients’ family members:

1. The ODA will improve the experience for the patients’ family members and loved ones

Compassionate and professionally trained decedent management specialists within the ODA play a key role in guiding and supporting the loved one’s next-of-kin through the very challenging and emotional decision-making process that occurs after the death. This process includes providing comfort and answering questions, determining how to honor the decedent’s prior requests, making decisions related to organ and tissue donation, facilitating the transfer of the decedent to the funeral home, and completing all the required paperwork.

The ODA will also create processes and procedures related to decedent management that will improve risk-management, improve relations with patients’ family members and loved ones, and prevent errors that could result in public relations crises.

To ensure ODA staff members have effective and robust decedent management procedures in place, hospitals must provide them with adequate tools and resources. The traditional manual processes and paper-based workflows that hospital tend to rely on reduce efficiency and increase the risk of error. Syft’s Decedent Management and Tracking Solution helps ODA staff optimize and automate workflows to ensure safe, seamless, compassionate, and compliant handling of deceased patients.

2. The ODA will increase the likelihood of organ and tissue donation, when appropriate and when aligned with the family’s wishes

Legally, at death, possession or custody of the patient’s remains pass to the surviving spouse or legal next-of-kin. The surviving spouse or legal next-of-kin can authorize an autopsy and donate tissues, organs, or even the entire body for therapeutic or educational purposes. Many times, autopsies or organ donations do not occur because the surviving spouse or legal next-of-kin have not been asked or they do not have the appropriate information to make an informed decision.

ODA staff members can provide private, empathetic, and non-coercive information to the family about organ donations and autopsies. When the decedent’s death falls within the jurisdiction of the state’s Medical Examiner, the ODA staff can assist with obtaining consent from the family. Studies indicate that with an established Office of Decedent Affairs, organ and tissue donations have increased by 300%,i while autopsies increased by 30% for non-medical examiner hospital deaths.ii

3. The ODA will lead to expanded medical knowledge

Similar to organ and tissue donation, ODA staff members can talk openly and honestly with patients’ families about whether they would like to have autopsies performed. They can answer any questions, so that families have an easier time determining if they would like to have an autopsy performed.

These honest and open (but never coercive) conversations, may lead to more autopsies, which can be an invaluable tool for building on medical knowledge, providing researchers and scientists with information that can lead to breakthroughs in care. Additionally, autopsy findings can bring immeasurable comfort to the patient’s family and next-of-kin by providing answers to questions and uncovering possible genetic implications for other family members. Between 15-40% of autopsies have unexpected findings, and nearly 50% of the time that autopsies are performed, the pathologist’s findings don’t match up to the clinician-filed death certificate.iii

A complete continuum of care

Hospitals owe it to patients, their families, and others who will benefit from organ and tissue donation and autopsies, to handle patient deaths in a timely manner, with compassion and dignity. Deceased patients and their family members should experience the same level of quality care and attention as all other patients receive. An ODA can create multi-faceted value for a hospital, from providing initial bereavement counseling to the family and ensuring a timely and efficient transition to the funeral home, to increasing organ donations and autopsies, potentially saving lives.

  1. i. Kowalski, A., Light, J., Ritchie, W., Sasaki, T., Callender, C., & Gage, F. (1996). A new approach for increasing the organ supply. Clinical Transplantation, 10(6), 653-657.
  2. ii. Juskewitch, J. E., Griffin, J. M., Maleszewski, J. J., Asiedu, G. B., Paolini, M. A., Regnier, A. K., Yrjo, M. L., Kendall, M. L., Comfere, N. I., Cheville, A. L., Carey,E. C., Amirahmadi, F., Rabatin, J. T., Moynihan, T. J., Reichard, R. R., & Aubry, M. (2020). Resurrecting the hospital autopsy: Impact of an Office of Decedent Affairs on consent rates, providers, and next-of-kin. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.
  3. iii. Juskewitch, J. E., Griffin, J. M., Maleszewski, J. J., Asiedu, G. B., Paolini, M. A., Regnier, A. K., Yrjo, M. L., Kendall, M. L., Comfere, N. I., Cheville, A. L., Carey,E. C., Amirahmadi, F., Rabatin, J. T., Moynihan, T. J., Reichard, R. R., & Aubry, M. (2020). Resurrecting the hospital autopsy: Impact of an Office of Decedent Affairs on consent rates, providers, and next-of-kin. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.

Lee Smith DHA, MBA, BSN, RNFA Chief Nursing Officer

As the CNO at Syft, Lee is responsible for guiding customers through their implementations of Syft Synergy point-of-use (POU) and analytics solutions to drive efficiencies and expense reductions throughout the perioperative environment. With an extensive clinical background, Lee is instrumental in helping hospital clinical leadership and front-line users understand how to best optimize their Syft Synergy technology investments, improve processes and metrics across the perioperative continuum, and use data insights to improve the performance of operating rooms. Lee has more than 35 years of experience in health care, including 21 years in supply chain and information technology. She has held leadership positions in hospitals as well as other health care organizations such as Cardinal Health, CareFusion, and BD. She holds a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration, a Master of Science in Business Administration, and Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.

Improve decedent managementHospital Decedent Management and Tracking
Steve Herz headshot

Chief Product Officer

A Unique Solution for Decedent Management and Tracking

4 Minute Read – In the fall of 2019, one of our long-time customers presented us with a question that would ultimately inspire us to develop a very unique solution. The big question was, “Can we configure your supply chain automation platform for decedent management and tracking?” This of course raised many more questions…and ideas! As VP of Product for Syft, you can imagine my excitement about this project.

After much discussion and a lot of market research, we learned that most hospitals use manual processes for postmortem patient handling—often because they can’t find any good solutions to automate this extremely complex process. We knew we could address this need.

We quickly developed the Syft Synergy Decedent Management and Tracking solution, which is built on our existing hospital supply chain automation platform. Never could we have anticipated how quickly our solution would undergo the ultimate pressure test as a result of COVID-19.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Decedent Management

Our customer, who initially spurred the idea behind our new solution and became one of our first users, experienced a higher rate of patient deaths due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, this customer—a large mid-western health system with nearly 56,000 inpatient admissions each year—was not alone in that struggle. Hospitals across the country are struggling to efficiently and compassionately handle their decedents. The crisis has thrust hospital decedent management into the national spotlight like never before.

Pre-COVID statistics show that approximately 70% of U.S. deaths take place in a hospital or other institutional setting (e.g. hospice care). With roughly 2.8M U.S. deaths occurring in 2019, we can surmise that nearly 1.9M deaths occurred in a hospital or like environment. Hospitals dealing with accelerated patient deaths from COVID-19 need tools that can be integrated quickly and in unison with their existing systems such as the EHR/HL7/ADT.

Rightfully so, hospitals are hyper-focused on patient care and recovery. Unfortunately, many do not have well-orchestrated processes for managing patients who do not recover from illness or injury. Some have developed an Office of Decedent Affairs (ODA) in which ODA specialists oversee the long list of activities surrounding patient demise. While ODA oversight is extremely helpful, ODA specialists – and the many others who are involved in these activities – are still burdened by manual workflows and other requirements including documentation, communication, personnel, equipment, supply, and tracking requirements to name a few. The documentation requirements alone are enough to warrant adoption of an automated decedent management solution. Hospitals must adhere to city, state, and federal documentation requirements as well as their own protocols which can be different for hospitals even within the same network.

Point is, ODA specialists need technology too. With the right technologies in place, hospitals can efficiently manage the technical and business aspects of patient demise events and alleviate stress and frustration for many multidisciplinary hospital staffers.

How Syft Addresses this Critical Need

Our decedent management solution provides this critical technology and is configurable to address each hospitals’ unique needs and compliance requirements.

A few key benefits of the solution include:
  • Real-time, technology-enabled tracking for decedents and appendages ensuring the decedent’s location is always known
  • Decedent identification and transfer verification via the ‘Patient Passport’
  • Pre-populated forms (from the EHR) to help expedite the tedious documentation process
  • Automated communications/notifications to align internal and external stakeholders
  • Configurable dashboards and reports including communicable disease tracking, other important decedent statistics, and workflow and time tracking with visual alerts and prioritization of tasks ensuring timely completion of activities

Death is a highly sensitive subject, and because of that the healthcare market has been shy about developing solutions for decedents. There is a lack of awareness, resources, and guidance for hospitals so despite their best efforts, many continue to use ad hoc, manual workflows that create unnecessary burdens on all the key stakeholders including ODA specialists, clinicians, transport and security personnel, morgue staffers, external parties, and of course, deceased patients’ loved ones. We hope to shine a light on this subject and help hospitals better serve their patients along the full continuum of care. We all deserve this.

Steve Herz Chief Product Officer

Steve Herz is a proven product leader focused on driving product vision, strategy and roadmap for mutual client, company value and growth. Steve focuses on collaboration between customer and company and internal execution teams to deliver successful strategic, operational, and roadmap results. Steve comes to Syft from SOC Telemed where, as VP of Product, he led strategy, roadmap, and execution of specialty telemedicine clinical and technology services delivery to over 450 health systems and hospitals. Prior to his work with SOC Telemed, Mr. Herz held multiple leadership positions with Quest Diagnostics where he led strategic planning and execution of Quest’s health IT products division and delivery of services to hospitals, health systems, payers and ambulatory providers. Additionally, Mr. Herz launched and lead the growth of Exostar’s Healthcare cyber security and identity management government and private sector divisions. Mr. Herz holds a BS in Engineering from the University of Connecticut and a MS in Engineering from the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign.
Join the Community contact us today