Erlanger Health System is a nonprofit, academic teaching center affiliated with the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. It is also a Level I Trauma Center for adults and the only provider of tertiary care services for the citizens of a four-state region, encompassing southeast Tennessee, north Georgia, north Alabama and western North Carolina.
With a history that dates back more than a century, Erlanger is recognized as one of the nation’s finest public hospitals and a leader in healthcare. The system, which today is licensed for 819 acute-care beds and 50 long-term care beds, operates five campuses and serves more than 250,000 patents annually.
To deliver a broad spectrum of health services to such a large community, Erlanger requires a complex supply chain. In 2006, the company realized that strengthening its supply chain performance was an opportunity to reduce supply costs and ensure better healthcare delivery. Previously, the supply chain process was heavily reliant on clinicians, whose time could be better spent with patients. Further, purchasing processes were paper-based and required manual data entry, as information passed from nurse managers on the hospital floors to materials staff. To ensure new efficiency, Erlanger automated its replenishment processes using Oracle’s PeopleSoft Supply Chain Planning. With PeopleSoft, Erlanger’s daily supply replenishment went from several hours to less than one hour per day. Further, materials management staff members, rather than nurses, are responsible for performing inventory counts. They use hand-held devices to transmit the counts directly into the PeopleSoft system, eliminating paper records and manual data entry. The system wastes no time, by simultaneously generating a requisition so that, by the time staff completes the scans, the warehouse staff has picked part or all of the orders, and they are ready for delivery. By taking the responsibility for inventory management off its clinicians’ hands, Erlanger has provided more time for direct patient care.
In 2008, Erlanger upgraded to Version 9.0 of Oracle’s PeopleSoft applications and realized numerous cost savings and efficiencies. Since then, the company has continued to expand functionality and streamline processes to increase operational efficiency. For example, it migrated to electronic receipts for major distributors, which saves 3.5 hours per day. The company also relies on PeopleBooks, My Oracle Support, and Oracle Premier Support for Systems as critical resources to help it optimize the benefits of the system, quickly resolve any issues that arise, and handle vital patches and upgrades smoothly, ensuring no interruption in users’ supply orders.
Already a PeopleSoft Financials user, Erlanger rolled out PeopleSoft Supply Chain Planning in 2006 to reduce the purchasing burden on clinicians. Then, in 2008, Erlanger upgraded its PeopleSoft applications to Version 9.0.
“We’ve gained significant benefits with Oracle’s PeopleSoft 9.0 applications. We’ve improved visibility and operational efficiency, as well as expanded self-service capabilities, all of which resulted in rapid and quantifiable benefits,” said Bernadette Dorris, Financial System Manager, Erlanger Health System.
Since then, the health system has made continuous improvements in its processes and realized additional benefits.
On an ongoing basis, the organization is also benefitting from My Oracle Support and Oracle Premier Support for Systems to quickly resolve any issues and to gain information about necessary patches and upgrades.
“Oracle Premier Support helps maintain our systems by providing us with the technical support expertise we need to focus on our hospital and health services. My Oracle Support gives us access to proactive support and tools, such as critical patches and upgrades,” Dorris said.