Clinical Integration of Healthcare Supply Chain


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Pull VS Push

Consider being pulled into committees led by others vs pushing others through supply chain led meetings.

Let’s face it, if supply chain is leading a committee everyone knows that it is about contracting and cost savings. When supply chain becomes a trusted seat at the table the input we can provide is data points upon which to make an informed decision that is not only right for the patient but also the organization. We need to utilize science, quality reporting, physician fact and independent evidence-based studies to drive sourcing strategies that can lead to improved patient outcomes, reduced readmissions and lower costs for medical devices.

Historically supply chain has worked to push cost savings opportunities throughout our organizations. We have tried numerous approaches to engage clinician, physicians, and executives. We have wisely cloaked the cost savings efforts beneath objectives including quality improvement, evidence-based and clinical outcomes. However, the bottom line is frankly, the bottom line – meaning cost-saving goals.

Supply Chain has been moderately effective in driving contract compliance and standardization but has had minimal sustainable improvements or effect in utilization management. Over time I have seen diminishing attendance or involvement when a cost savings initiative is being driven or pushed by supply chain. Even through a successful value analysis process, the focus is often the addition or evaluation of new products or how much technology will “cost” the organization.

Today we are seeing Physician-led clinical and quality review councils evaluate existing science and other clinical information on medical device performance and make clinical recommendations based on the results. These teams are comprised of key physician leaders as well as administrators and other relevant members of the hospital team. Supply Chain needs to be a relevant member of these initiatives.

Look around your organization and explore physician-led initiatives. These may be under the CMO or quality department. They might be lean or six-sigma driven initiatives. The goal of the teams may be varied and many of them may not initially understand the value of including supply chain. We need to work to create a synergy with these clinical councils and be pulled in to these groups.

Start by finding a physician or clinical sponsor. Sell him or her on the value you can bring. Usually, there are a few physicians that totally “get” the value of supply chain, start with someone you have already established a relationship. Or simply get an appointment on your CMO’s calendar and come prepared to sell them on your value and why you would like to be invited to attend council meetings. Slowly you will understand their agendas and then pick up momentum by coming with valuable information that you can share as appropriate.

We often hear that the existing council’s agendas are too full to include supply chain. Remember we are not asking for a spot on the agenda. This is not about supply chain. It a new way to become engaged. It is a new approach to garner trust and relationships that will eventually open new avenues and opportunities for supply chain to drive value. And yes, ultimately it is to help our organizations realize that supply chain is about more than contracting and the price we pay for goods and services.

Please contact me for help on creating the perfect team for your organization by pulling the right people together.

Joey Donatelli