Steve Herz headshot

Executive Director of Product

Syft’s Executive Director of Product, Steve Herz, discusses key 4.5 enhancements

5 Minute Read – Thanks to input from our hospital partners, Syft Synergy’s new 4.5 release supports more efficient warehouse and distribution workflows with task information that is personalized to each user and fewer steps associated with task completion overall.

Here, Syft’s Executive Director of Product, Steve Herz, shares more about version 4.5, and how Syft partnered closely with customers to identify improvement opportunities and refine the new enhancements.

What’s most exciting to you about the Syft Synergy 4.5 release?

Herz: We took our customers’ feedback to heart and used it to greatly improve the Syft Synergy mobile application. We fully redesigned the app interface for the warehouse and distribution modules to simplify processes for receiving, stockroom, and distribution users. The app now meets global functionality standards, including uncluttered screens and quick taps on floating buttons to complete tasks. The keyboard sits just beneath the typing and calculation fields and is customizable. The app organizes and groups tasks by their status and files them in collapsible subdividers to keep the screen view clean ensuring optimized user productivity. These are significant and time-saving improvements for those carrying out day-to-day supply chain tasks.

We also enhanced the receiving function to support license plate scanning and recognition. This makes it easier for users to receive items associated with multiple POs bundled into a license plate. Our customers are really excited to have this new functionality.

How do the new and updated features improve productivity?

Herz: Streamlining and simplifying the warehouse and distribution modules helps users stay focused on the task at hand in a few ways. One is that administrators can configure screen views according to roles and user groups, so workers only see and touch tasks relevant to them. Another is task organization. We’ve made it much easier to see what’s next, whether that’s completing a task or starting the next one.

Now, anyone can pick up a device and use the app with very little training. It’s easier and cognitively intuitive to use. Our hospital partners will experience more employee satisfaction, higher performance, faster turn-around, more accuracy, and reduced costs associated with supply chain management.

What helped you identify these—and other—key improvements you made with the 4.5 release?

Herz: Syft is committed to continually raising the bar for supply chain management. As part of that work, we partner closely with our customers to gain a deeper understanding of their needs and experience with our products. For this 4.5 release (and with all releases) we sought feedback from our users, including those who are part of our forum for product co-design, user testing, and ideas. From them, we receive comments such as: “I get confused because there are so many steps to take and I don’t know what all the buttons and icons mean,” and “We need to have more ability to alter settings based on users and roles.”

We took all these suggestions to heart and applied them to version 4.5. Previously every screen displayed multiple buttons, now there are fewer buttons making it clear what the task at hand is. The secondary and tertiary warehouse and distribution tasks have been removed from the primary screen view but are easily accessed via the menu or task item swipe options. The app now automatically downloads task activities, which eliminates user cognitive disconnect from tech-oriented commands.

What improvements were made for clinicians?

Herz: Clinical users move from location to location and log into multiple computers and applications daily. Remembering login information can be difficult and logging into different apps is time consuming. Syft now supports Imprivata Single Sign On (SSO) technologies so users can automatically log in to the Syft Synergy supply capture application. This further improves supply capture adoption and workflows for circulating nurses and other clinical users.

The new 4.5 release also offers automated data integration to implant trays systems and allows hospitals to configure the frequency of data synchronization. The Syft Synergy supply capture implant details window now provides more detailed product and manufacturer descriptions and allows nurses to create emergency cases and auto-case pick items from a preference card straight from the supply capture function. Procedures and physicians can also be edited mid-case and in closed cases.

We’re most excited about offering clinicians the new mobile UI/UX in the next release planned for later this year so they too can realize the workflow improvements that our warehouse and distribution partners will experience with this new 4.5 release. Stay tuned as there is much more exciting news about that coming soon!

Steve Herz Executive Director of Product

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, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GHX, 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.
Syft Synergy 4.5 Release Learn More
By , CEO

Syft Joins Forces with GHX to Help Hospitals Create Healthier Supply Chains

A Note from Todd Plesko, Syft CEO

3 Minute Read – Today we announced exciting news for Syft, our customers, and progressive hospitals and health systems everywhere. Proudly, Syft is now a wholly owned subsidiary of GHX, operator of healthcare’s largest cloud-based supply chain network that connects tens of thousands of healthcare organizations. As part of GHX, we’ve joined a strong and innovative community of more than 4,500 hospitals and suppliers in North America, as well as more than 1,500 providers and 350 suppliers in Europe. GHX’s data-fueled offerings and supply chain expertise will complement Syft’s dock-to-doc™ supply chain solutions, including our data analytics capabilities, automation and point-of-use tools, and inventory management services. It means we can support more hospitals in creating more efficient, clinically integrated supply chains to help enhance margins and improve patient care. For more than 20 years, GHX has helped healthcare move faster, operate more intelligently, and improve outcomes. Integrating our extensive supply chain data with GHX’s industry-leading enriched and validated data will help health system executives better identify opportunities to eliminate waste, improve operational efficiency, minimize clinical variation, and accelerate the transition to value-based care. Bringing together Syft and GHX will also extend the benefits of our technology and services to the many hospitals and health systems in the GHX community, which represent more than 80% of licensed beds in the United States. As I reflect on this new chapter in Syft’s 23-year history, I’m most excited about our organizations’ shared commitment to continuing to help the industry transform the supply chain from a cost center to a value driver so that a future where affordable, quality healthcare is possible. We’re well on our way—and now we will be able to get there even faster. We welcome your questions and comments as we continue on this important journey.

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.
Read Press Release Advancing Healthcare’s Value-Based Future
By , Senior Clinical Specialist

6 Minute Read – Healthcare labor costs are getting way out of hand. Clinical labor costs increased 8% from 2019 through August 2021, which equates to $17 million for a 500-bed hospital annually, according to research reported by Becker’s. The cost burden is even higher for hospitals that are asking staff to work a significant amount of overtime, or that are turning to agency staff to help fill clinical gaps. These factors add about 50% or more to a regular employee’s hourly rate, according to the research.

What does this have to do with the hospital supply chain? Everything.

Let me explain.

When it comes to the supply chain, it’s the nurses’ daily workflows that are impacted most. If supply chain management design truly works for them—helps them do their jobs better and allows patients to receive better care because of it—nurses work much more efficiently. That translates to less overtime and less need for agency staff, and therefore, markedly lower clinical labor costs for the hospital over time. It also translates to happier nurses, which means less turnover and less money spent recruiting and training new clinical team members.

How do I know? I’ve seen the impact of supply chain processes on nurses firsthand. I’ve been an ICU nurse and a consultant on patient experience, productivity, and operational throughput for more than 30 years. I recently joined Syft as a senior clinical specialist. I did so because Syft’s core focus is healthcare, they understand hospitals and have developed a unique services- and software-integrated supply chain management platform, and Syft makes significant efforts to bring clinician representation to supply chain decision-making. No other vendor out there has the potential to transform the supply chain like Syft.

Nurses Play the Most Important Role in Hospital Supply Chain Management

Having nurses at the table is critical in nearly all hospital workflow and technology decisions, and sadly, many vendors don’t seek their input when selling and designing solutions. But Syft does, and that’s of personal significance to me. Syft’s unique approach enables hospitals to engage nurses, offer them a proven efficiency tool that eliminates menial tasks, and create more time for them to do what we got into nursing to do: care for patients.

I am proud to serve on the clinical team at Syft. Yes, that’s right: This supply chain management company employs nurses in the sales, solution design, and onboarding processes. That’s because nurses, the most important partner supply chain managers need for system adoption, trust other nurses.

Hospitals Can Better Manage High-Cost Labor with an Optimized Supply Chain

While a more efficient supply chain translates to more efficient clinical teams, it also reduces waste, which in turn, offsets the increasing clinical labor costs referenced in the Becker’s article.

The supply chain is the largest expense for a health system after labor, so it makes sense to start cutting there. It’s the only place to streamline costs, really, without disrupting several other departments’ processes and workflows, which would in turn trigger change management, training issues, and increased cognitive burdens on staff.

Savings from the supply chain come from efficiencies of standardization and control. With a platform like Syft, OR teams can look at preference cards and get visibility into costs. A technologically optimized supply chain provides visibility into the real costs for a physician to perform a certain procedure. Physicians can see what their costs are compared to other physicians in the same facility.

Point-of-Use Makes or Breaks Nurse Job Satisfaction

A recent study by Syft and Sage Growth Partners found that 43% of healthcare leaders surveyed said their organizations have lost nurses specifically due to pandemic-related supply challenges.

When it comes to OR nurses, especially, that’s a lot of intellectual capital built over years that has suddenly disappeared. Considering it takes an average of 111 days to hire a new OR nurse, having a repository of accurate preference cards and a correct count of the right instruments and supplies is imperative if hospitals want to try to keep their biggest revenue-generator (the OR) operating.

From the nurses’ perspective, there are several reasons why a technologically managed supply chain benefits them. If nurses must run out of an operating room to find supplies, it puts the patient at risk for a never event. That situation happens more than you think. It also gives the patient the perception that the providers don’t know what they’re doing, which is a mortifying experience for a nurse (and the patient, too).

Another example is the possibility of using recalled or expired instruments or medications in care delivery. I know the last thing I would ever want to do is create risk for the patient, the hospital, or myself by using bad products. This is an area where a solution like Syft can make a difference for frontline workers: providing visibility into expired and recalled products, which removes a cognitive burden from nurses’ workflow.

If hospitals want to save nurses from burnout and turnover, they must invest in tools that enable nurses to perform their jobs more safely and efficiently, which ultimately boosts retention.

Trust a Collaborative Supply Chain Management Partner that Respects Nurses

A healthcare-specific supply chain management platform provides just such help. Syft, for instance, eliminates the double documentation process of nurses having to enter data into an EHR and then again into an ERP. An automation tool that does both simultaneously saves nurses a tremendous amount of time, allowing them to tend to the bedside more.

Data is another tool that helps nurses. In essence, nurses are data scientists. When we assess a patient, we look at blood pressure, respiratory rate, oxygen level—numbers that tell a story. When supply data, cost data, and patient outcome data are combined, nurses and staff can get an accounting of the entire patient experience that tells a story. Data can be very powerful for enabling better decision-making and job performance.

Syft has developed a very special solution with a consultative deployment approach that can really make a difference for nurses and hospitals. We custom design workflows in collaboration with supply chain managers and clinicians so that hospitals have the right tools that nurses not only agree to use but like to use. This affects their job satisfaction and contributes to better retention, safety, and lower labor costs.

LEARN MORE: For more about our collaborative user-guided development process and the results, check out these examples

Lori Martin, RN, MBA Senior Clinical Specialist | LinkedIn

As the Senior Clinical Specialist, Lori is instrumental in helping hospital clinical leadership and front-line users understand how to best optimize their Syft Synergy point-of-use (POU) and analytics solutions investments, to drive efficiencies and expense reductions to improve processes and metrics across the perioperative/procedural continuum.

Lori has an extensive clinical background and more than 40 years of experience in healthcare, including supply chain and information technology, labor management technology, patient experience, and patient flow. She has worked for Kronos, API Healthcare, Teletracking, and Vocera. She holds a Master of Science in Business Administration in Finance, Bachelor of Science in Finance, and a Nursing degree.

Ready to Learn More? Hospital Supply Chain Optimization Resources
By , Chief Marketing Officer

A Senior Nursing Director speaks on Syft’s “Smart” Kanban system

5 Minute Read – In a recent interview with a senior nursing director at a 10-hospital health system, I had the opportunity to hear first-hand how their clinicians are using and benefitting from the Syft Synergy 2-bin Kanban inventory management system. The Syft Kanban solution has been adopted by 8 of the 10 hospitals and medical centers that make up this East Coast-based network. Here’s what the Senior Nursing Director who leads the Critical Care/Emergency Department/Trauma Services at one of the locations shared about Syft’s “really smart Kanban design” and how it has driven user adoption at the point of use.

Before implementing Syft’s 2-bin Kanban solution, how did your hospital manage inventories and PAR replenishments and what were some of the challenges you experienced?

Sr. Nursing Director: The previous system was also a 2-bin Kanban system with integrated RFID tags, but it had limitations and flaws that occasionally impacted supply availability. For example, with the old system, once a bin was empty, the RFID tag had to be moved to an RFID board which then sent the PAR replenishment signal. There were times when the RFID tag fell under a cabinet and because no one knew this had happened, the request to restock the bin(s) was never received and we ran out of certain supplies. We learned the hard way that if you miss the window to send the restock signal, supplies could be delayed by a day or even longer. Another big issue with the previous system was lack of data. We need data to help gauge efficiency. Without data we find ourselves asking questions like do we have the right PAR levels? What variables are impacting optimal performance? How do we course correct? What revenue is being generated from chargeable items? We are very excited that Syft can provide this level of intelligence.

Have you experienced any stockouts now that Syft is in place?

Sr. Nursing Director: No. However, we’ve had to train personnel on certain things and make some PAR adjustments along the way to ensure this doesn’t happen. Here’s what I mean by that. The materials team has to make sure they put the right bins in the right place with each turn or that can impact replenishment cycles. We also have to make sure clinicians don’t pull from the full bin (“Bin B”) when there are still items in the first bin (“Bin A”). If this were to happen it could skew PAR levels. The good news here is that Syft has a unique approach that almost forces the nurse to pull from Bin A. It’s really clever.

Lastly, we’ve adjusted PAR levels on certain items like baby diapers in the NICU. Originally, we wanted to keep 9 days stock for all supplies but for bulky items like diapers we’ve realized the need to lower PAR levels and adjust the replenishment cycles accordingly.

You’re not only using the Syft Synergy software to manage PAR replenishment. Your teams actually leveraged Syft Kanban experts to design and physically build the 2-bin Kanban structures for more than 40 units. How did this process go?

Sr. Nursing Director: First, we created committees and sub-committees where supply chain, medical materials, nursing leaders, and others could collaborate to ensure a successful Syft deployment. For example, our supply teams were very involved with the Syft team in space planning and making sure the racks that were built fit within the spaces allocated for them. Medical materials managers and nursing leaders collaborated with Syft’s clinical experts to determine appropriate PAR volumes for each unit. Nurse leaders across all facilities joined together to share best practices. It’s been a team effort and we are happy with the outcome so far.

Change is hard for some. How have the nurses reacted to using the Syft 2-bin Kanban system and what change management advice can you give to others?

Sr. Nursing Director: Oh, they are totally fine with it! The system before this was a 2-bin system so they were familiar with it; they just thought the old system was confusing and clunky. Literally before this, even when trying to follow a process, we still ended up storing items on top of trash bins and in other makeshift storage units. Nurses just want things to be simple and they want supplies to be available when they need them. The engineering of the Syft system is very cool and super organized. It’s a creative, efficient use of space. For example, some items can’t be stored in a flat bin. Some things are just meant to be stored vertically, which the Syft system allows. Again, the design is just really smart and easy for nurses.

All this to say, my advice for improving adoption is to make it simple for the users. Get front-line nurses and nurse leaders involved early. Our nurse champions really loved being a part of the initial design process. Training is important too. We trained super users through Syft U  and they in turned trained the end users. This model has worked really well for us. We still have some things to figure out and improve but all-in-all things are going as planned and staff satisfaction is high.


Whitney St. Pierre Chief Marketing Officer | LinkedIn

Whitney St. Pierre has more than 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.

Ready to Learn More? Schedule a Demo
By , Chief Marketing Officer

With all that manual processing, what could possibly go wrong?

6 Minute Read – It’s estimated that one large hospital receives more than 35,000 calls per year and juggles between 6,000-14,000 documents related to deceased patient processing alone. Managing these communications and guiding decedent patients from the proclamation of death to the funeral parlor is a massive, people-and-paper undertaking.

Pandemic Increased Awareness of a New Concern for Hospital Risk Management

Across the country, as the deaths from COVID-19 approach 5 million people, hospitals are finding themselves processing a heavier than normal decedent load.

In fact, in a recent survey of 100 hospital leaders conducted by Syft with Sage Growth Partners, a healthcare consultancy, 60% of respondents said the pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in how their hospital tracks and manages deceased patients. Only 22% said their hospital has made any changes to improve these processes.

Add to that severe staffing shortages, decreased revenues, burned-out staff, and scarce resources, and hospitals are suddenly in a precarious position for risk management. Tack on an increasing number of deceased patients and a highly manual method of processing them, and hospitals could be facing legal and reputation risks without even knowing it.

The Need to Mitigate Risk Around Decedent Management

Decedent management processes are complex, touching multiple stakeholders and multiple areas of the hospital. Hospitals must improve collaboration among all of the involved parties, streamline workflows across departments, and ensure deceased patients receive the same consideration and quality of care as all other patients.

Some of the most common issues that occur when there are no streamlined decedent management processes in place include:

  • Missed autopsies
  • Improper release of body tissues
  • Misplaced fetal demise specimens
  • Missing disposition of remains

One of the top risks of not having a dedicated demise management team is compliance around the complexity of the laws governing decedents and fetal remains. Hospitals must meet and comply with a litany of statutes pertaining to:

  • Surgical pathology
  • Therapeutic termination
  • Mother’s right to disposition of remains
  • Death certificate compliance
  • Release of fetal remains
  • Transfer laws (across state lines, out of state and international)
  • Proper release of a body

Even the smallest error in the management of deceased patients can have major consequences, such as a compliance failure or lawsuit. Inaccuracies, omissions, or unlocatable decedents can also bring more complications and emotional pain to the staff and the patients’ families. That not only impedes a positive patient experience, but can lead to reputation damage from negative social media posts and press coverage.

Compliance Risk Management

With so many local and state rules regulating decedent care, and because so many parties are involved, it’s extremely hard for a hospital to achieve 100% compliance for every deceased patient and situation.

Fulfilling state requirements—such as completing death certificates in a timely manner—requires efficient processes and strong decedent management communication within the hospital stakeholders. For example, Tennessee requires that death certificates be signed by physicians within 48 hours. A technology solution can provide customized workflows and protocols based on city, state, federal, Joint Commission and facility-level policies.

Legal Risk Management

Releasing a deceased patient to the wrong funeral home or accidentally throwing away the remains of a stillborn baby are serious grounds for a lawsuit. But even seemingly less drastic errors like documentation inaccuracies or omissions can cause catastrophic mistakes.

When errors occur, hospitals can be held liable for mishandling a decedent under theories of negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Stories about misplacing a patient’s body and mismatched identification can be disastrous for all stakeholders. According to legal experts, this happens all too frequently.

The risk of demise misplacement, particularly in the labor and delivery and emergency departments, is eminent when there are no standardized processes or RFID tracking in place. For hospitals without an Office of Decedent Affairs, there would likely be no consistent tracking for outliers that occur.

Preempting Negative Publicity

The advent of social media and the 24-hour news cycle have created a cadre of citizen-journalists and reporters who actively seek compelling or controversial stories that will attract attention. In today’s age, when patients trust online ratings and reviews of a provider more than a recommendation from a doctor, patient experience—not to mention the family’s experience—must be a priority for hospitals. Research by NRC Health not only shows a link between patient experience and hospital reputation but that the link is strongest when measured six months after the experience.

How to Mitigate Risk Around Decedent Management

  • Socialize with hospital administration the fact that, while the Office of Decedent Affairs is not a revenue-generating department in a hospital, it should be considered a risk mitigation and prevention service.
  • Understand that proper handling of deceased patients is not only critical for meeting compliance regulations, but it is vital to maintaining a positive community image and offers a rich opportunity to optimize the hospital experience for families and loved ones.
  • Protect the staff’s emotional well-being, improve timeliness and accuracy, and secure the hospital’s reputation by adopting a technology solution to replace the outmoded, manual decedent management process.

The answer to risk management is a digitized decedent management solution. This technology has quickly gained traction among renowned U.S. hospital systems, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a management and tracking platform, staff can set up compliant workflows for each deceased patient, track chain of custody, automatically alert staff to pending or missed deadlines, notify managers when policy has been broken, and hold staff accountable.

Syft’s decedent management and tracking system offers this solution and more. Not only does our platform issue an automatic digital passport for all decedents and assets, but it alerts all stakeholders to communicable diseases (such as COVID-19) and can seamlessly integrate into existing EHR/HL7/ADT systems. Contact us for more information.

Whitney St. Pierre Chief Marketing Officer | LinkedIn

Whitney St. Pierre has more than 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.

Ready to Learn More? Schedule a Demo