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.

Dr. Mallow quotes a recent survey that found clinicians spend nearly 20 percent or more of their time on supply chain tasks. That is not a recipe for great patient outcomes.

So, how can organizations harness supply chain and clinical data to be more impactful? Dr. Mallow recommends that instead of focusing on Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim, supply chain leaders should strive for what he dubs the “Quadruple Aim,”— adding provider satisfaction to the existing triple aim of improved outcomes, cost savings and the patient experience.

“Supply chain leaders need to show how a new technology or improvement system will help patients and improve clinicians’ lives, rather than… cost savings alone,” Mallow says. “The Quadruple Aim approach will achieve much quicker buy-in from clinicians and other stakeholders by showing them that the supply chain leader is on the same page and focused on solutions [that] support patient care.”

In the environment of declining payments and increasing risk, supply chain is an important enabler of improving provider satisfaction in order to improve the patient experience.

After all, isn’t providing healthcare what it’s all about?

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