Materials management makes extraordinary possible
Patients will never see the work Mattie Bork does before their procedures. But without her work and that of the other members of the materials management team at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, those procedures wouldn’t occur.
“If I can make the work of our physicians and nurses easier or more efficient, then that gives them the ability to better interact with patients,” said Bork. “That makes for a less stressful situation for everyone.”
Bork is an operating room materials coordinator, working closely with her team members to ensure the materials for each operating room procedure are available, stocked and ready.
Each surgeon has preference cards that detail out what is needed for each case, as well as that surgeon’s preferred type of material.
“We may stock four of the same type of product, but the ‘pref’ cards tell me exactly which one is needed for this particular surgeon doing this particular case,” said Bork.
Over the last year, Bork has identified cost savings opportunities related to supply duplication, changes in staff, and lack of use.
“Now that YVMC is part of UCHealth, we have stronger buying power and better resources available,” she said. “We have products that are only needed occasionally, or in an emergency situation. If I notice we aren’t using something very frequently, I can look for opportunities to purchase in lower units of measure, but still keep it on hand. When assessing if I can remove a product, I try to think to myself, ‘If my child needed surgery and that random product was what she needed, would I want to that product here? Absolutely.’ In those instances, I need to find the most economical way to make sure we’re stocking what we need to be able to care for our patients.” While she may be able to identify opportunities for cost savings, collaborating with clinical staff and physicians has been crucial to acting on them.
Through increased collaboration and communication with central supply and operating room teams, Bork has helped manage expectations internally to better deliver on patients’ expectations.
“We’re on a bit of an island (in Steamboat) that creates logistical challenges, but with a little bit of notice, we make it happen,” said Bork. “Sometimes a product rep will drive it here from Denver, sometimes we’ll get products from other northern region hospitals.”
Prior to spending the last four years at YVMC, Bork worked as hiking and Nordic skiing guide.
“I’d do that again in a heartbeat, but I really like my job and my coworkers,” she said. “Indirectly, I know I’m making a difference for our patients.”