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For Hospitals Only: Prodigo’s Dedication to its Core Market Continues to Pay Off

Often referred to as “Amazon-like” or the “storefront” application in a P2P suite, Prodigo Solutions’ centerpiece solution is a client-branded, internal marketplace developed exclusively for hospital use. Known as ProdigoMarketplace and complemented by other specialized applications also purpose-built just for hospitals, everything about Prodigo reveals its unmistakable healthcare pedigree. Prodigo’s sole dedication to the needs of hospitals is distinguished and has helped establish the company’s dominance, now boasting half of the nation’s largest and most recognizable health system brands as customers. Prodigo also is one of healthcare’s largest Marketplaces by spend under management — having transformative financial impact on its customers’ supply chain practices and operations.

Some background:

  • The Prodigo suite is built on an “engine” that is optimized to produce complementary outputs. Although we don’t typically associate a software engine with user experiences in an aesthetic sense, in Prodigo’s case, it orchestrates all the right data flows, manages application performance and enables rapid, continued functional improvements. Prodigo has consistently satisfied highly custom implementation requirements. It listens to customer requests and is known for quick turnarounds on heavily nuanced hospital-specific functionality. Because system utilization is the ultimate leverage for procurement leaders, getting its solution designs “just right” is a well-developed skill of the company. In interviews with Prodigo clients, this was a big part of why they regarded the company as a “trusted partner.”
  • Be it a grocery store, restaurant or a hospital, a proper transaction can only happen with an integrated sales system at the checkout counter. Ironically, when dealing with patients, hospitals quickly understood this. However, when dealing with their internal customers, hospitals have been slow on the uptake. When executed properly, a hospital marketplace does far more than provide a shopping convenience. In fact, it can provide supply chain leaders a way to shape the behavior of thousands of requisitioners and drive clinical standards/integration, as these systems are used by the largest cross section of hospital staff on a daily basis. ProdigoMarketplace can be configured to ensure a default state of compliance. On this count alone, it can transform most every facet of provider-supplier relationships.

Although hospital investments in the tools of the procurement trade are currently exploding, it wasn’t that way even a few short years ago. But times have changed.

Briefly, hospitals that relied on their group purchasing prganizations (GPOs) are now taking back control of their supply chains. As a result, they are discovering that their lack of contract compliance is a foundational problem. They are acknowledging that compliance is a multi-faceted prerequisite to the success of their other procurement initiatives — and that efforts associated with driving clinical standards are not even worth pursuing until the foundation problem is fixed.

While Prodigo has enjoyed relative freedom from direct competitors over the last several years, that’s changed too. The usual suspects, including several of the more recognizable suite-based P2P players are back. They’re taking another shot at cracking what has proved to be an elusive code.

Several otherwise successful software companies have suffered false starts in acute care, including Amazon, all discovering the hard way that hospitals are very different animals with complex, multi-dimensional sourcing, supply and distribution channels.

And now, apparently, it’s the ERP vendors’ turn. Lawson/Infor and Oracle/Peoplesoft have recently released their first generation SCM products. Not surprisingly, their storefront solutions employ familiar designs and promote common functionality. Based on what we know about ERP-bred point solutions, hospital leaders would be wise to keep the following thoughts top of mind in their evaluations:

  • ERP point solutions are intentionally built to satisfy a minimum set of requirements for a broader cross section of users;
  • Just as traditional ERP has been sold, the promotions behind these latest apps are centered on a long list of features and a defensive positioning that says “we’re basically the same,” some even citing Prodigo specifically;
  • It’s been repeatedly proven by early to even mid-majority technology adopters that solutions should not be evaluated on the basis of how they’re the same, but how they’re different. In other words, common storefront features and functions are not a proxy for value, especially in a hospital setting;
  • Finally, concepts of total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) are not the same thing, so evaluators should be cautious of any vendor that uses the terms interchangeably.

Hospitals require highly tailored solutions that cater to the needs of increasingly variable staff roles, responsibilities and privileges. Go ahead and add in highly negotiated supplier contract terms that map to different locations, departments and even individual physicians. And include the need for point of sale systems that can propagate their data capture to up/downstream systems and processes in real time. To say the least, the devil is revealed in these myriad details. Simply put, there are no generic design approaches that work in hospitals. Value creation is largely a function of facilitating preferences while also directing buyers to approved sources, so intelligent utilization is perhaps these systems’ greatest lever.

By connecting relevant data across multiple platforms, eliminating process bottlenecks and meeting health system-specific implementation objectives, Prodigo has established itself as an industry fixture. And by working closely for years with many of the most advanced healthcare procurement organizations in the nation, the guidance it can provide clients is unmatched. There’s simply no substitute for Prodigo’s real world experience satisfying the varied and nuanced requirements of the nation’s largest health systems.

Ironically, it’s Prodigo’s focus on the fundamentals — the manner by which it “finishes” matters of compliance and helps hospitals eliminate variance — that has established it in acute care. In Parts II and III of this series, I will detail additional characteristics of the company’s solutions that continue to distinguish its business case. For those who argue that the hospital procurement solution market may be commoditizing, we’ll address that too, as the market is far too dynamic, with procurement practices rapidly evolving, to support any such characterizations.

This article was written on behalf of Prodigo as a Spend Matters Brand Studio piece and not by the Spend Matters editorial or analyst teams.

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