Ryan Davis, Buyer, Emergency Department, Sutter Medical Center Sacramento
[Holds up a pen] You see a pen, but I see an opportunity to save money. I’m responsible for ordering all of the routine supplies in the ER department, including the simplest tool—a pen. One day I was thinking, “Where do all these pens go? These people can’t possibly be using these pens until the inks runs out.” So I said, “We have to have some sort of bring-your-pens-back-to- work day,” and whoever brings in the most pens would win an ice cream social. On the flier, we printed what Sutter Medical Center (Sacramento) spends annually on pens. It’s about 29 thousand dollars. That was a huge wake-up call. When employees walk through the department, the first thing they see is this empty water jug, and I give them a goal and see if they can fill up the jug! People were bringing by Sharpies, highlighters, red pens, black pens. We collected more than 700 pens! People recognize me now and say, “Hey—you’re the Pen Guy!” I used to order $40 worth of pens a week. Now I’m ordering half that.

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Ryan’s message to colleagues…
There’s always a way that we can save money. We proved that. Even with something as simple as a pen, you can save money. That’s just one office supply. Let’s start with the rest of the office supplies and see what more we can do!
I’m Ryan Davis—the “Pen Guy”—and that’s how I’m making care more affordable for our patients.

Diane Brown, Creative Design Lead, Sutter Health
Part of my job is to make sure that the look and feel of our whole organization is cohesive— everything from the sign on a building to a business card. They call me the “logo police.” We’ve been a little inconsistent with our look on Sutter Health business cards because employees went out to their own vendors to get the cards printed. The idea was to have one vendor come and print our cards for us. That way the colors would be consistent, we could monitor the quality, and who knows...there could be some sort of cost savings there. So we went through a process with our Strategic Sourcing Department. Then a vendor developed a site for us to order our business cards online, and the result is this [holds up a business card]—a high-quality, consistent business card used systemwide. We calculated that the savings would be $160,000 per year. It just makes me so happy because this is really giving back to our patients.

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Diane’s message to colleagues…
No idea is a bad idea. And no idea is a small idea. There’s some kind of “gold nugget” in there that will save the company money. And for me, that was just redesigning a business card.
I’m Diane Brown, and that’s how I’m making care more affordable for our patients.

Louis Luis, Regional Director, Supply Chain, Sutter Health Central Valley Region
Working as a system, we are saving millions of dollars on the way we buy these [holds up pacemaker and artificial knee]. We established access pricing. Access pricing is a fair market value price—a price that we’d be willing to pay for a product. We put enormous focus on high-dollar physician preference items. With our new strategy and the buy-in of physicians, we are able to save on items like artificial hips and knees, and pacemakers. We are absolutely not compromising quality. We’re buying the exact same quality product. We’re just getting our vendors to sell it to us for less. In 2009, our goal in the Central Valley was to save $4.8 million on supplies, equipment and services. We actually ended up saving $6 million.

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Louis’ message to colleagues…
There’s savings everywhere. You just have to look around. You need to look at everything you buy—everything that you use— and see if there’s an opportunity to obtain it for less. That’s important because our patients need their health care to be more affordable.
I’m Louis Luis, and that’s how I’m making care more affordable for our patients.