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Sneha Patel is the director of perioperative product development for triValence. In this Q&A, she discusses her role at triValence, why she wanted to join the company, why ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) sometimes overlook procurement and purchasing, and how the triValence platform is empowering ASCs to improve in these critical areas.
Sneha Patel: As the director of perioperative product development, there’s a lot this role encompasses. At triValence, I’m currently focusing largely on the purchase order-based setup of the platform. What we’re doing is making sure users get a seamless electronic process where all their supply chain needs feel like an Amazon.com experience. We are making sure users are getting a simple-to-use, intuitive experience to tackle complex processes in a highly automated fashion so they can ultimately approach their work more efficiently and with consistent, clean, accurate data.
In my role, I’m currently part of that entire scope of supply chain and making sure users experience an automated three-way match between their purchase orders, receipts, and invoices. Eventually, I will be moving into the perioperative space, which will be highly focused on preference cards and the supplies used during cases. We are designing the platform to allow users to pull in information required to see case cost, waste, and other related factors so ASCs can manage these metrics to achieve goals and continue to improve.
SP: I have worked in the medical supply chain for more than a dozen years. I started when I was in college but planned to eventually get into pharmacy. To my surprise, I ended up loving supply chain. I love seeing the nuances of supply chain and how I can make slight changes to it and have a big, positive impact — which is why I decided to stay in supply chain. I started off as a supply technician and worked my way up into an analyst position and then management in Louisiana and Texas. Eventually, I became a director at major medical centers in Boston and New York.
SP: Brian (Giessler, senior vice president of operations) messaged me on LinkedIn. He told me about triValence and what he envisioned for the company. At first, I was unsure of joining a startup. As I spoke with members of the leadership team and learned more about what they envisioned and their mission, it made me want to be part of the process that would positively disrupt the industry.
In my previous roles, I always lacked a robust supply chain tool. A lot of the current procurement systems and payments systems are very old school and often overengineered. They’re clunky. You can’t get the data you need. Being a supply chain person and having worked in many facilities, I knew this was a nationwide situation. Supply chain personnel lack the information they need to do their job properly and effectively. I wanted to be one of those people that helps solve this problem. At triValence, I can help build one system for more clean data, complete visibility and automation for procurement and accounts payable (A/P).
SP: I think it’s mainly because surgery centers are so vested in their current processes. They’ve only seen how these processes can be completed one way. ASCs are also understaffed. Therefore, there are individuals who are already wearing many hats also performing multiple parts of procurement and purchasing. There isn’t anything out there like what we’re developing at triValence where procurement and payments systems are in one solution; where we’re automating all the paper processes; where we’re connecting users digitally to all their suppliers; where we’re helping users avoid needing to go from website to website to order supplies. With triValence, you’re doing everything in one platform. It’s the healthcare B2B version of Amazon.com meets Mint meets PayPal.
Many ambulatory surgery centers currently use multiple websites to order their supplies, and the information about these orders is manually captured. This approach is time consuming and costly. It also increases the opportunity for errors, which can ultimately have adverse effects on patient care. There is a huge need for technology to assist ASCs with procurement and payments.
More specifically, surgery centers need one source to procure all their inventory and have details on all their inventory. That visibility is simply not available when using other systems. When you use two different systems for procurement and A/P, you must import procurement data into your A/P system. When that happens, you lose a lot of the key data needed for visibility. While triValence has the capability for users to export their data, the platform eliminates the need for exporting and the subsequent loss of visibility.
SP: Knowing what your goals are as an organization and pulling clean data out of your procurement system is the best way to track your success. Unfortunately, building your item master with appropriate item categorization hasn’t really been an option in the ASC industry. That’s why we’re also building this feature into our platform. Users will be able to drill down on item categorization and then drill down further on specific supplies or groups of supplies where most of their spend is.
SP: Our team is comprised of the best leaders in healthcare, information technology, fintech, and other key areas. We know what users are missing because we’ve been those users. The triValence platform brings efficiency through AP automation, single-click payments, and providing actionable data insights. It’s a one-stop, lightweight platform that solves complex problems in a simple, user-friendly design.
I personally focus a lot on supply chain in general and perioperative supply chain to help ensure our clients have the best tools available and can easily extract information from a high-level view. I think back to my previous positions where I didn’t have the clean data and largely lacked visibility into my spend. We’re filling this need with reporting capabilities in our system and features like three-way match, which a lot of procurement systems lack. By integrating procurement and A/P systems together along with many smart automations, we are allowing users to quickly make decisions based on complete visibility and take the complexity of supply chain and turn it into something more meaningful.
For example, if the three-way match doesn’t occur, then the end-user is notified about the discrepancy, such as too few items weren’t delivered or a cost difference between the purchase order and the invoice has been encountered. triValence brings that information to light while other procurement systems do not and cannot do that because they are not all integrated.
I’ve spent so much of my time as a supply chain director going through many invoices and trying to sort through millions of dollars in discrepancies. The fact that triValence is going to automate this review process and tell users exactly what is discrepant is a huge deal.
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