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Crozer-Keystone Laboratory Making Small Changes that Add Up

by Katrina Stier

In Brief

  • Crozer-Keystone Hospital Laboratories has added up to over $1 million in just two years.
  • As part of the 2010 fiscal year, one of the laboratories’ goals was to reduce blood product costs. In the past two years, blood product costs were reduced by 13 percent.
  • Staff productivity was the second part of the laboratories’ project. Using the metrics developed by an outside company, the laboratories’ productivity was measured against FY09 and a labor savings of $834,770 was documented in FY10.

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” In the case of the Crozer-Keystone Hospital Laboratories, a penny saved has added up to over $1 million in just two years. Through changes within the department and the efforts of the Laboratory team, they have been successful in increasing productivity and reducing blood product costs. 

As part of the 2010 fiscal year, one of the Laboratories’ goals was to reduce blood product costs. Their first step was to shop around for more than one blood supplier. It had been routine in the southeast Pennsylvania region to use only one blood supplier and, as a result, there was no competitive pricing. “We projected our costs for FY10 to be nearing 6 million dollars a year, and we knew it was time to consider other alternatives. It was in the best interest of the hospitals to evaluate other sources for our blood products,” says Nancy Bristol, administrative director of the Crozer-Keystone Hospital Laboratories.

Other key aspects of controlling blood product costs were to look at the utilization of blood products and inventory management as a system-wide initiative. “The entire team from all the hospitals was receptive to figuring out what worked and what did not work,” says Susan McAneny, associate administrative director of the Crozer-Keystone Hospital Laboratories. “We were able to change the physician ordering practices in some cases and convert to less expensive products that are just as effective for our patients. Our final goal was to manage the inventories of the hospitals as a team by working smarter and transporting products between our sites.”

McAneny says that within the past two years, blood product costs were reduced by 13 percent. “We were able to realize such a savings because we obtained a majority of our blood products in FY10 and nearly all our products in FY11 from a blood bank in a more competitive market, the New York Blood Center. That change, in addition to the utilization and inventory management improvements, allowed us to reach our goal,” she says. 

Staff productivity was the second part of the Laboratories’ project. Using metrics developed by an outside company, the laboratories’ productivity was measured against FY09 and a labor savings of $834,770 was documented in FY10. The savings have continued to increase in FY11. In addition, when the laboratory tests per total paid hour for FY10 were compared to a national database of hospital systems with similar volumes and test complexity, CKHS was in the 91.6 percentile for productivity.

“Our goal was to increase productivity and volume and we did both,” says Suzanne Battaglia, director of Crozer-Keystone’s Project Management Office. Productivity isn’t the only avenue that impacted labor utilization. Increasing outpatient testing from the physicians in the healthcare network also contributed greatly to the productivity.  

“Most importantly, success in any department is a team effort. We all work together to help figure out how to be more productive, where there are savings opportunities, and where we need to make improvements,” says Bristol.

Contact Us

Crozer-Keystone Health System

Grant Gegwich, Vice President

Phone: 610-447-6316
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-604-1728

Crozer-Chester Medical Center
Kate Stier, Director

Phone: 610-447-6314
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-541-3130

Community Hospital
Kate Stier,  Director

Phone: 610-447-6314
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-541-3130

Springfield Hospital
Kate Stier,  Director

Phone: 610-447-6314
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-541-3130

Healthplex Sports Club
Kate Stier, Director

Phone: 610-447-6314
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-541-3130

Delaware County Memorial Hospital

Mary Wascavage
Director of Public Relations and Marketing

Phone: 610-284-8619
Fax: 610-284-8606
Pager: 610-318-0861

Taylor Hospital

Mary Wascavage, Director

Phone: 610-284-8619
Fax: 610-284-8606
Pager: 610-318-0861