Healthcare Supply Chain Association: What’s in a Name?

By Curtis Rooney

What’s in a name? For over 15 years, the trade association representing the group purchasing industry was known as the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association (HIGPA). At its recent annual International Expo held in Washington, D.C., the group announced that HIGPA is changing its name to the Healthcare Supply Chain Association: Innovators in Evidence-Based Sourcing. The decision to develop a new name – a name that better reflects the expertise, experience and position of both the GPO industry and its trade association within the healthcare supply chain – was made with the future in mind.

The new name, logo and tagline demonstrate the industry’s commitment to innovation and the association’s work as advocates on behalf of the GPO industry, their members and clients, and the patients they serve. It also reflects the many changes that the group purchasing industry has experienced in recent years. It especially includes the expanding role of GPOs in all stages of the supply chain and at each stage of the continuum of care. The organization’s new tagline, “Innovators in Evidence-Based Sourcing,” also reveals the cutting-edge, evidence-based approach GPOs bring to the sourcing of products and services.

The name Healthcare Supply Chain Association (or HSCA, pronounced as the series of letters: H-S-C-A), was chosen as a result of extensive industry research and market testing. The research and development process also included the creation of a “brand essence” and “brand platform.” An extensive list of potential names was then generated; that list was then narrowed down to only those names that fulfilled the unique brand criteria. With the list of potential names reduced to two, the board then made their decision and a new organization was born.

The change from HIGPA to HSCA is designed to better align the organization’s name with its mission to provide advocacy and education to those involved in the healthcare supply chain. This is especially important in connection with policy-makers on Capitol Hill and within the Administration. It is not uncommon for policy-makers to be acutely concerned about the rising costs of healthcare, especially with regards to healthcare providers. What is sometimes missed in policy circles, however, is an awareness regarding the important role that GPOs play and how they touch almost every aspect of the healthcare supply chain. In summary, the old name no longer adequately represented the role of the organization’s membership.

Washington and the nation will continue to focus on healthcare cost savings for the foreseeable future. Because GPOs bend the healthcare cost curve, increase competition by introducing new and innovative products to the marketplace, and save hospitals, Medicare and taxpayers billions of dollars, the industry is likely to be at the center of that debate. It turns out a name – what you are called, what you are known by – is more important than you might think. The Healthcare Supply Chain Association is looking forward to facing the future and bringing value to the nation.

Finally, HSCA has also launched its new organizational website, www.supplychainassociation.org. Please visit and tell us what you think of the new name.

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