November 30, 2016
In Nobilant, a new company co-founded by the health system, clinicians help determine best products and services.
A supply chain management organization founded last year by the Johns Hopkins Health System and Allegheny Health Network in Pennsylvania has already saved its members more than $11 million, according to its executive director, Jeffrey Martin.
In October, the new company introduced its name, Nobilant, and a website that targets national and regional audiences. Nobilant’s goal is to help Johns Hopkins and other hospitals and health systems save money on supplies, capital items and services that will ensure the best possible outcomes for their patients. So far, some of its contracts that contribute to member savings include those for hospital beds, elevator maintenance and home medical equipment.
The company operates by leveraging the collective purchasing volume of its member hospitals and health systems, as well as the expertise of its members’ clinicians, to get the best possible price for top-quality supplies.
Perhaps its most distinctive characteristic is that it gives clinicians a key voice in the sourcing process. “Clinicians increasingly care more and more about the decisions being made regarding what supplies they can have. They want to be part of picking out the right product that has the best patient and financial outcomes,” says Kurt Heyssel, the health system’s senior director of supply chain management. “Nobilant will consult with physicians and clinicians first, and then find savings on what they say is best for their patients.”
Physicians from across the health system are already collaborating to determine the best products for Johns Hopkins patients. Their commitment to use certain products gives purchasing department staff members an advantage in negotiating contracts with suppliers.
Nobilant has formed two hubs: the Mid-Atlantic Hub—with Anne Arundel Medical Center, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Trivergent Health Alliance in western Maryland and the Johns Hopkins Health System as members—and the Pittsburgh Hub, with Allegheny Health Network and Highmark Health as members.
Each hub has several committees—including laboratory, pharmacy, value analysis, facilities and supply chain—made up of clinicians and key stakeholders from each of its member hospitals and health care systems. Committees meet on a regular basis to analyze new products on the market and to discuss contracts, best practices and how to use products most effectively.
Member hospitals and health systems agree to purchase 85 percent of supplies through Nobilant contracts. They also pre-commit purchasing volume to new sourcing initiatives for products and services. Such guarantees allow the company’s purchasing staff to negotiate with suppliers for lower pricing on quality supplies, says Martin.
CREATING A BRAND
Nobilant’s logo is a teal twist on the infinity symbol, meant to represent the endless possibilities and tailored contracting solutions it can provide to its members. The overall brand identity emphasizes the collaboration of its members’ clinicians and staff members to secure the lowest prices for the products that ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.
The name Nobilant was inspired by a Baltimore newspaper article published when The Johns Hopkins Hospital opened in 1889. In describing the hospital’s mission to treat any patient, regardless of his or her ability to pay, the article stated: “Its aim is noble.”