A new study from the HIMSS Analytics research unit of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society shows many hospitals use electronic commerce in their purchasing process but have a ways to go before getting full value from e-commerce.

The Chicago-based firm surveyed 199 hospital purchasing officers for the study, which Louisville, Colo.-based e-commerce vendor GHX sponsored. Results show that 95 percent of acute care facilities with more than 150 beds electronically order at least some medical-surgical supplies.

About one-third of responding hospitals use an exchange service as their sole method for ordering medical-surgical supplies electronically, with 15 percent using direct electronic data interchange connections. Thirteen percent use both ways.

Sixty two percent of respondents receive updated pricing catalogs for products under contract electronically, but only about half of those receive the catalogs via EDI.

Respondents identify a number of issues related to e-commerce that need improvements. These include processing invoices, real-time discrepancy reporting and exception management. They also report considerable supplier reluctance or incapability to conduct business via EDI.

To access the study, click here.

--Joseph Goedert


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