The Art of Saving Dollars and Lives

Brian Rounsavill leverages Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s budget to ensure funds are always available for world-class patient care and research

Walking into any hospital, people expect to find the standard equipment: ultrasound machines, syringes, hospital beds, and more. And at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Brian Rounsavill is the reason it’s all there.

As the senior director of contracting and procurement, Rounsavill helps the organization purchase equipment, materials, and services, whether it’s adhesive bandages, MRI machines, cleaning services, or even buildings. Rounsavill is not just issuing orders on CHOP’s behalf. Rather, he is part of a team that strategically makes purchases so that CHOP can continue to lead the way with positive patient outcomes.

Rounsavill and his supply chain team look outside of the organization to ensure CHOP is a leading hospital, while also looking within the organization to partner with their end users to discover ways to add value to the hospital. These methods include cost savings, process efficiencies, value analysis, and obtaining the desired high-quality products and services.

“In short, my job is simply to get the best things for CHOP at the best possible price so our surgeons and researchers can continue to make breakthroughs every day,” Rounsavill explains.

Brian Rounsavill, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Although he did not start his career in the healthcare sector, Rounsavill’s previous experiences have made him an ideal fit to manage CHOP’s spending. When he worked for a decade at an international engineering association, he traveled the globe to negotiate deals that facilitated Nobel Prize-winning electrochemical research. He also got an understanding of the company’s many different business climates and sourcing strategies. Rounsavill then spent more than twelve years at Princeton University, where he worked as director of purchasing side by side with faculty and students for one of the top educational institutions in the country.

These experiences inspired him to stay in the nonprofit sector, so when he moved over to healthcare, he took the same approach to business at CHOP as he did during his time at Princeton. The fact that his previous work had a major focus on research and teaching—similar to CHOP—made the transition easier for him.

“Everyone learns a little something from each of their past experiences, and it helps shape who they are and how they function in their roles,” Rounsavill says. “These learning experiences, combined with the relationships that I have built, have all been stepping stones for me.”

Those stepping stones helped Rounsavill and his team as they achieve significant cost savings for CHOP. During the past three years, Rounsavill’s department has helped the organization save money by reorganizing the procurement and contracting team, rewriting its operating policies and procedures, redefining its success metrics, and re-engaging with their end users.

“In doing so, we developed strategies across all of the major supplies and services spend categories to identify cost savings and value-added opportunities,” he says.

Additionally, the department studied all of the supplier contracts that were up for renewal and also for opportunities where it could rebid that business or shift the source to another supplier that would save the institution money or provide additional value.

“We looked at it from multiple standpoints—such as standardization and reduction, leveraging spend, GPO optimization, or competitive bidding—to see what was the best approach for us in each area,” Rounsavill says.

Rounsavill’s team needed more than just negotiating and analytical skills to make its strategies work. The team also had to display the ability to work well with others and demonstrate the value that their strategies would bring to the organization. Both of those skill sets were particularly important when dealing with the end users. According to Rounsavill, most of the time the surgeons and researchers know the vendors and products or services they want—and they want them “yesterday.”

“The key is looking at where we can add value from a business perspective,” he says. “We have to gain credibility through a series of small successes, where we can prove that we’re partnering with them for the right reasons.”

One of the reasons Rounsavill is so passionate about seeing his department’s money-saving measures come to fruition is because they aren’t just about improving CHOP’s bottom line. Every dollar his team saves the organization can go toward improved research, novel technologies, or creating new medicines. “It’s fun when you are able to save the organization time or money and see the direct result that comes from that,” Rounsavill says. “We are actually returning it back in the form of better care and improved outcomes for our patients.”

Although CHOP’s contracting and procurement team has had an abundance of success under Rounsavill’s watch, he knows he couldn’t have achieved it alone—and he is proud of that fact. As a youth sports coach and athlete himself, one of the most satisfying parts of his role is knowing that all of the good CHOP does for people is achieved through a team-oriented approach.

“Working for a world-class organization that provides top-notch patient care is both an honor and tremendously rewarding,” he says. “Our ability to add value in the form of cost savings or improved quality products has a direct impact on patient care outcomes and the overall patient-family experience.”

Canon Business Process Services (Canon) congratulates Brian Rounsavill and his team for their successful procurement initiatives. Canon has worked with CHOP for more than ten years, improving processes related to materials distribution and inventory management in support of the hospital’s mission of delivering the finest quality healthcare for children.

Green Security would like to congratulate Brian Rounsavill for receiving this well-deserved honor. Brian has been a partner and leading advocate for the safety of the patients, families, and employees that enter Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia facilities every day. Green Security is proud to be included in that initiative.