Driving Results Blog

By Jake Crampton

The Driving Results Blog is a space for MedSpeed’s CEO, Jake Crampton, to share insights about a variety of healthcare topics. Occasionally, other members of the MedSpeed leadership team will use this space to discuss matters of particular importance to them.





Winds of change: As health systems expand, so must transportation operations

Here is the first of four installments stemming from the round table discussion with supply chain leaders that MedSpeed recently hosted.

One of the hottest topics the group discussed is how rapidly U.S. health systems are changing. Care is moving beyond the four walls of the hospital and health systems are growing quickly through acquisitions and strategic partnerships.

Hospitals and health systems will look very different tomorrow than they look today. Given that the reach of systems is much further than it was, managing the supply chain amidst constant growth creates a big obstacle.

What our supply chain leaders had to say, in their own words:

“I see a complexity that wasn’t there even a year or two ago. What used to be a very simple courier system

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What Do Healthcare Supply Chain Managers Think? Part II – Introduction to our second roundtable discussion

In the spring, we conducted a roundtable discussion with top healthcare supply chain leaders to discuss their healthcare transportation needs. We had a lively, two hour discussion that left us with a key takeaway: supply chain leaders are looking for ways to transform their healthcare transportation operations from a tactical, commodity-based service to a strategic asset that can help them better navigate the changing healthcare landscape.

With the rapid changes we are experiencing in healthcare, we decided to conduct a follow up to see if the discussion has changed. So, at the 2012 Fall IDN Summit in Phoenix, AZ, we gathered another group of top healthcare supply chain leaders and asked them to talk about their current supply chain and healthcare transportation needs and challenges. 

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Transportation Steps into the National Healthcare Spotlight

Earlier this month in Healthcare Finance News, an article called “8 kinds of waste driving healthcare costs” really caught my attention. I was pleased to see that healthcare transportation has become part of the national healthcare dialogue. Marc Hafer, author of the book Simpler Healthcare, shared his views on eight different areas that could “inhibit patient flow, add cost, increase poor quality and infection and decrease patient and clinician satisfaction.”

First on the list: “transportation.” We know from our discussions with healthcare supply chain managers that transportation is not a core competency of healthcare systems or providers. But, while many organizations outsource many other areas (laundry, food service, EMS), a large number continue to retain their own transportation operations, often with minimal technology for tracking.

But perhaps the tide is turning.

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A Change in the Wind

I suspect many of us in this industry have been having the same types of conversations over the last three weeks.  Now that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is moving forward, we all will continue what will certainly be a long journey towards changing the way healthcare does business.  Value-based purchasing, creation of accountable care organizations and national bundled payment pilots will force healthcare to strike the balance between cost and quality, without sacrificing either.

To me, this change in how we do business means that some of the truths we have always known need to be challenged.  For example, in the purchased services world

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The Supreme Court has spoken: Now what?

Like many of you, I was in a meeting Thursday morning when one of the smart phones pinged with news of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act. And, I would imagine, like many of you, we stopped what we were doing to talk about it. No surprise there since this has been on the minds of all of us in healthcare and of many, if not most, of our fellow Americans. After all, no less perhaps than the future makeup of U.S. healthcare was at stake.

So, now that there is a decision, what does it mean? Well, regardless of political leanings or personal opinions, there are two main points of consensus, in my opinion:

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What Do Healthcare Supply Chain Managers Think? Excerpts from a Focus Group of Supply Chain Leaders

Two weeks ago, members of my senior management team and I traveled to Orlando to attend the 2012 Spring IDN Summit. Before the summit officially kicked off, I sat down with supply chain leaders at some of the top healthcare organizations in the country to get their insight and feedback about their healthcare transportation needs. The conversation was fast and furious and a number of themes emerged. (Italicized comments below were contributed by participants and taken directly from a transcript of our session together.)

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A Common Sense Approach to Business Strategy

I read a blog post recently that I found very insightful.  This blog from the  Harvard Business Review, reflected on the fact that all too often, management’s first instinct is to attack issues by redrawing the organization chart.  Instead, it is suggested, they should look at the inner workings of the company including decision rights, information flow and motivators to understand the “DNA” that makes up their organizations.

As an example, they discuss a company that in the early 1990s had disappointing company performance. Under a restructuring plan, costs fell by 18%, but over the next 8 years, those same layers that had been cut out, crept back in.

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What Does 2012 Hold for Healthcare?

The new year encourages us to make a few predictions and set goals for the coming year. As 2012 gets underway, I think it’s safe to say we all expect it to be another demanding year in healthcare.

HealthLeaders recently posted an article titled “4 Unpleasant Predictions for 2012.” While I’m not sure we want to start off the New Year with unpleasantness, a realistic approach is crucial. Using HealthLeaders’ annual survey, as well as her own conversations with healthcare CFOs, the author, Karen Minich-Pourshadi made her predictions for the top concerns facing healthcare financial leaders in 2012.

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5 Daunting Issues Keeping Healthcare CEOs Up at Night: Executives focus on re-imagining healthcare delivery

Those of us in the industry are well aware of the enormous challenges facing U.S. healthcare, but probably no one feels these impending changes more than healthcare CEOs. Recently, Huron Healthcare conducted interviews with hospital CEOs to determine the top five issues keeping them up at night. As reported in Healthcare Finance News last month, the burning issues are:

1. Change management: With the amount of market-driven and reform-driven change affecting healthcare providers, CEOs are troubled by how they can prioritize

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