Medical e-Marketplace Gets Blood Pumping

Global Healthcare Exchange touts customers on buy, sell sides

Tempe, AZ  December 18, 2001  In what seemed like a flashback to the giddy days of the dot-com bubble of just 18 months ago, medical e-marketplace Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX) this week came out with news touching both the sell side and the buy side of the online exchange equation.

On the sell side, Haemonetics Corp., a manufacturer of automated blood processing systems, has deployed GHX technology to enable its customers to place orders online for its surgical blood recovery ("autotransfusion") products. The Iowa Health System is the first Haemonetics customer to use GHX to place orders for Haemonetics' products.

The online system supplements the tradition phone and fax system that Haemonetics had used exclusively until now. The new system allows Haemonetics to conduct customer transactions through GHX's Electronic Transaction Interface (ETI), via existing electronic data interchange (EDI) channels or through formatted messages directly from Haemonetics' back-end system.

"Iowa Health became one of the first hospital systems to join GHX more than a year ago, because we knew in the long run e-commerce would save us considerable time and money over manual procedures such as phone and fax," says Dan McDow, chief operating officer of Iowa Health's Contracting Service. "As we begin to conduct business with more suppliers, like Haemonetics, the value of GHX and the electronic capabilities it provides will continue to grow."

"Using technology from GHX has allowed us to increase the accuracy and efficiency of our order processing," said Tony Pare, vice president of customer services at Haemonetics. "More importantly, it has helped us to save our customers time and money. On average, our customers are saving five minutes per transaction over traditional, manually processed transactions."

Meanwhile, over on the buy side, the four-hospital Willis-Knighton system in Louisiana became the first company to use technology developed by GHX and e-marketplace infrastructure provider Neoforma to buy goods from a supplier.

Willis-Knighton used the jointly developed Integrated Solution to place its first electronic orders last month with Aircast, a supplier of products used to provide functional pneumatic support for orthopedic injuries. The system allowed Willis-Knighton to receive pricing information and order confirmation from Aircast.

Willis-Knighton has been conducting business since January 2001 through Marketplace@Novation, the e-commerce marketplace offered by Novation, the supply chain management company of VHA Inc. and the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC).

Hospitals that connect to Marketplace@Novation have access to the Integrated Solution, which interfaces with GHX's AllSource electronic catalog. In addition, GHX has licensed portions of Neoforma's NeoConnect solution suite, which supports the integration of trading partners for supply chain collaboration, providing connectivity benefits for GHX suppliers. GHX says the combination of these two technologies takes hospitals and suppliers like Willis-Knighton and Aircast a step beyond communication via phone and fax to the electronic transmission of data, allowing all parties to improve data accuracy, and creating efficiencies in the process.

Greg Weeks, director of materials management at Willis-Knighton, says, "We've seen improvements in the accuracy and efficiency of our transactions." Prior to being connected through the Integrated Solution, Willis-Knighton and Aircast were limited to conducting business with one another through phone and fax.

"e-Commerce through Marketplace@Novation has improved our relationships with connected suppliers and reduced the number of staff hours devoted to the procurement process," Weeks added.

Privately held Global Healthcare Exchange was founded in March 2000. Equity members of GHX include such companies as Johnson & Johnson, GE Medical Systems, Abbott Laboratories and Siemens Medical Solutions.