The Importance of the Supply Chain and Healthcare’s Quadruple Aim

As healthcare continues to march towards value-based care the importance of an efficient healthcare supply chain grows. Not too long ago, the supply chain was all too-often viewed as a transactional process. We at MedSpeed know that the transactional view of the supply was shortsighted. A recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review confirms that the supply chain “is [now] considered a core competency for hospitals to reduce waste and lower costs, while supporting patient care initiatives.”

Supply chain and supply chain leaders are now included in C-suite discussions, and for good reason: Reducing inefficiencies in the supply chain helps organizations focus more on patient care.

According to Peter Mallow, PhD, program director of health economics, market access and reimbursement for Cardinal Health, supply chain leaders have evolved into enablers with a greater focus on patient experience because instead of simply moving things from A to B, supply chain is looking to ensure that they’re improving—not adding complexity to—the job of clinicians.

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New Survey Links Supply Chain Management to Better Quality and Patient Care

Historically, supply chain management has struggled to get the attention it merits. Over the years, it has been increasing in importance and a recent industry survey supports this increased focus.

The survey highlights opportunities for improvement and modernization in supply chain management. Most importantly, in my opinion, it found that outdated and manual healthcare supply chain management processes detract from care delivery. Frontline clinicians said that they spend a full two hours per 12 hour shift managing inventory issues. Nearly two-thirds of those frontline clinicians said they wish they could trade the time they spend managing supply chain for more patient care time.

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There Is No “I” in Team: The Value of We

As they say, “There is no ‘I’ in team.”

A recent post in H&HN entitled “Creating a Culture of ‘We’ Leads to Health Care Value,” addressed this very point. The author, Jack McNamara, points out that in healthcare today, there is an overarching strategic imperative to develop and embed a culture of value throughout the enterprise. And who does that include?

It should include everyone. The concept of the “mutuality of interests,” developed nearly 100 years ago by sociologist and theorist Mary Parker Follett, states that this mutuality is built not on the Golden Rule, but on the principal that when those working together share the same interests, the quality of work improves, and there is less waste.

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Supply Chain: Essential to Improve Patient Outcomes

Clinical improvements—the key to making patient interactions widely successful—“requires getting the right products, services and capabilities into the hands of clinicians and the supply chain is essential in driving scalable, sustainable improvements in the health care system,” said a recent article in H&HN.

Recognizing the supply chain’s importance in overall success as an organization can lead to widespread benefits within healthcare. When organizations are looking for ways to make clinical improvements, it makes sense to involve supply chain early in the process because it “can expedite the adoption of meaningful medical advancements for better patient care.”

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Why Questioning the Status Quo Builds Better Leaders to “Think Different”

There’s a post that I read a while back on Inc. that keeps coming back to me. “Why Great Leaders Question the Status Quo: Being a thoughtful, creative leader means moving beyond the confines of tradition,” was written by Micah Solomon.

We all know of great thinkers and business leaders who question the status quo, and Solomon cites the late Steve Jobs of Apple as a prime example. The indelibly memorable “Think Different” advertising campaign that helped bring Apple back from the brink in 1997 completely highlighted the fact that Apple products and its leader were different from the rest of the world.

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Thoughts from the recent IDN Summit in Phoenix

I just returned from the Fall 2011 IDN Summit in Phoenix and I came away feeling pleasantly (hopefully not delusionally!) optimistic about where healthcare is headed.  Why?  I think that the industry is showing one of the most positive signs of human nature, that at a certain point people simply reject negativism.  In fact, studies have shown that one of the causes of the business cycle – in this case the upswing portion – comes from people’s collective unwillingness to indefinitely dwell in the doldrums.  The result — a challenge, once feared, becomes something to overcome. It sure felt that way in Phoenix!

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