Challenges: Multiple Workflows and Short Staffing in a Complex Organization

As a leader in healthcare procure-to-pay automation software, Procurement Partners has honed our service by combining granular expertise with responsiveness and an attentive ear to the pain points and needs of our ever-growing client base. Our automated solutions are comprehensive and always evolving, focused on concrete results in supply chain cost savings and the procurement-to-pay process so that healthcare organizations and providers can spend more time on their mission of care and less on manual processes in ordering, managing, and invoicing for inventory. 

Transitions Healthcare is a valued client that trusts Procurement Partners with all elements of its procurement process, from reporting to general ledger spend to cost savings, payment processing, and budgeting. It’s among the healthcare organizations that enjoy up to 40 percent time savings and 95 percent contract compliance through Procurement Partners’ easy-to-use portal and automated solutions that provide relief from time-consuming manual processes. 

Procurement Partners has carved out a strong niche in post-acute and senior living care. The time savings and procure-to-pay workflow streamlining that Procurement Partners makes possible enables the higher mission of healthcare groups such as Transitions Healthcare. With a recently added location, Transitions includes six sites in Pennsylvania and Iowa, with services including: short-term rehab; long-term care; dementia care; physical, occupational, and speech therapy; specialized recovery care; senior living; and continuum of care. 

The three principal partners who established Transitions Healthcare come from health systems backgrounds that lend particular expertise to what they do. Their expertise—in clinical nursing, finance, and nursing home administration—lend a practical footing to an approach to operations that emphasizes knowledgeable continuation of physicians’ treatment plans and close, informed coordination with hospitals. It’s an approach based on cooperation, integration, patient care, and communication. 

Solutions: Integration, Automation, and Staff Support

For multi-site healthcare organizations such as Transitions Healthcare, the complexities of spend management and procurement mean that automation solutions for business processes have to be integrated, and that communication has to be robust and constant. 

Procurement Partners does a great job of communicating with its customers and getting feedback,” said Transitions Healthcare accounts payable coordinator Anna Smetana. “I’ve always felt well heard.” 

Organizations such as Transitions, offering a wide range of services with a commensurate wide range of procurement needs, utilize the Procurement Partners’ easily accessible portal for 100 percent invoice processing automation, general ledger coding, accounts payable integration, budget management, and powerful back-office integration with electronic medical records. 

Transitions Healthcare procurement director Dawn Zeisel points to reporting, controlling costs through general ledger spend functions, AP automation, and budget tools that enables sharing across teams as major pluses of Procurement Partners for companies such as hers. 

“It’s hands-on, it’s personalized,” said Zeisel. “Procurement Partners listens to customers for feedback, and it adapts and grows with the industry.” 

Healthcare leaders and administrators point to Procurement Partners’ industry-leading automation technology, vendor integration, and proven cash flow cost containment as major factors that positively impact their day-to-day operations, ability to plan and implement strategy, and demonstrate measurable results on their bottom line. The ability to have highly efficient and accurate purchasing processes leads to a vote of confidence for procurements and accounts payable departments across the healthcare industry. 

This means reliability and confidence in procurement and spend, reduced inefficiencies, and better administrative support and smoother internal functions as well. As Transitions has grown and added new facilities, for instance, Smetana has trained new employees in the AP department on accounts payable automation with the assistance of Procurement Partners. 

Procurement Partners does a great job with the training,” said Smetana. “It gives you everything you need for training right there on the homepage. I’ve been able to print a lot of that material and make a manual from it. When a new person comes in, we go through the process of how the total invoice manager works, and then explain to them how it flows through the whole approval process. I feel that the system is pretty easy to teach.” 

While easy training adds tremendous value to procurement automation, invoice approval, and accounts payable processes (saying goodbye to paper invoices), Smetana’s experience with Procurement Partners has also led to advantages in areas such as invoice processing and AP automation in a period of being short staffed—a common experience impacting workflows today as the healthcare employee staffing pool has seen contraction in a number of geographic regions and employment sectors in recent years. 

“Now you’re talking about saving manpower time,” said Smetana. “I have not had an accounts payable person here. My AP person left [more than four months ago], so I’ve kind of been on my own. I have another person who goes in and does my approvals for Procurement Partners, but I’ve really been pretty much on my own. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Procurement Partners, that’s for sure.” 

Results: Process Accountability, Staff Efficiency, and Ongoing Learning

Administrative managers for healthcare companies also have a major need for accountability in operations and processes. This impacts everything from supplier relationships, enterprise resource planning, pricing, and process automation. With so many moving parts, and multiple direct reports, managers need total automated control, liberated from manual tasks and human error, and combined with easy-to-use activity tracking. 

“Another thing that’s great about Procurement Partners is when it gives you the status [of invoices and reports],” added Smetana regarding the advantages of powerful automation platform centralization. “It tells you when it was scanned in, when it was signed off, the whole thing. You can see how long it sat at the department head level. We were having some issues with scanning stuff in in a timely manner. I showed the AP person at the time how to go into the invoice, look at that status, and find when it was scanned. So, the person can’t say, ‘Well, I scanned it in a month ago.” No, you didn’t. Or you might have scanned it in, but you didn’t submit it. (Laughs.) So yes, that has been a great asset. You can really see the process.” 

Procurement Partners is constantly learning from in real time from our customers. Smetana detailed how, while she was overall very happy with how Procurement Partners recently dealt with a temporary service challenge. She gave and received input for how to streamline that communications process, so a multi-site operation such as Transitions Healthcare can best manage its internal processes and communications in areas such as inventory, invoice management, and AP automation. 

“That’s how all of the changes get made,” added Smetana. “It’s customers saying, ‘Hey, we need this.’ Procurement Partners always asked us for our input, ‘What do you want to see better? What do you want from this?’ I feel heard.” 

As the procurement and automation spend management field evolves for healthcare providers, Procurement Partners will grow right alongside its customers and clients. We know that improvements in compliance, automation, and supply chain process mean smarter spending and procurement, which leads to more time spent on the provider’s human dimension: care, coordination, and the missions on which these organizations are founded.