Emphasizing quality over cost savings

October 4, 2018

A focus on partnership, collaboration, and putting the needs of patients first is what makes the shared service approach to provincial contracting unique. 3sHealth is committed to leading provincial procurement efforts aimed at sourcing high-quality products at the best possible prices. 3sHealth works hard to ensure the rules and laws of competitive bidding are maintained throughout the procurement process. In 2017-18, 3sHealth managed more than 1,900 contracts for goods and services worth more than $167 million for the health system.

In 2017-18, the health system continued to procure many goods and services on a provincial basis. The approach to provincial contracting emphasizes quality improvements over cost savings. Clinical engagement throughout the product testing and selection phases is vital to ensuring products meet clinical needs first and foremost. While quality is the overriding concern, significant cost savings often result when the collective buying power of the provincial health system is leveraged to the fullest extent.

Estimated savings from new and renewed provincial contracts and contract rebates totalled more than $6.3 million during the year. The majority of the contract savings came from medical/surgical supplies contracts.

The following are examples of savings from provincial contracts in 2017-18:

  • Cylinders and containers for gases/liquids – $580,000
  • Orthopedic hips and knees – $350,000
  • Gastrointestinal supplies – $280,000
  • Cardiac arrhythmia test supplies – $267,000
  • Endoscopic supplies – $110,000

3sHealth, on behalf of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, continues to be a member of HealthPRO, a national health-care group purchasing organization that supports contracting for medical surgical supplies and services. 3sHealth also has represented Saskatchewan at the Pan-Canadian Collaborative for Healthcare Equipment Procurement (PCCHEP). Five working groups were established to make recommendations for collaboration on national procurement policy and process, as well a for potential national contracts on joint implants, home hemodialysis, intravenous pumps, and multimodality diagnostic imaging equipment.

In 2016-17, the organization clearly defined how physicians and other clinicians should be engaged in any product trials, where appropriate. In 2017-18, 3sHealth continued to use that clinical engagement process in the procurement of two new supplies in particular: pressure offloading devices and medical/surgical tape.


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