HIDA Thought Leaders on Building a Better Supply Chain

By the Health Industry Distributors Association

It all comes down to collaboration

JHC-June16_HIDAPowerful forces are driving fundamental change throughout healthcare and providers need their supply chain partners to help them adapt. That’s the message in the Health Industry Distributors Association’s new “Thought Leaders” white paper.

HIDA thought leaders, including the organization’s board members and industry guests, developed the recommendations summarized in the white paper Healthcare Supply Chain 2020: Serving the Patient Across the Care Continuum.

Among the leaders’ top recommendations:

Collaboration: The paper calls for aggressive efforts to build supplier-provider partnership across the value chain to maximize clinical and financial outcomes. That means strengthening relationships, sharing expertise and resources, and increasing data-sharing to link products with outcomes. “We need to use and share the data to identify ways to reduce variation, which drives cost,” said one device manufacturer executive. A distributor leader added: “Your supply chain partner brings blocking and tackling for the logistics, plus data, plus collaboration on value analysis, supplier performance, experience with other healthcare systems, and so on. Use our expertise – we are here to help you run a better business.” By working collaboratively, supply chain partners can identify and achieve savings from utilization management and inventory reductions, the leaders noted.

Processes: Process costs represent the next big frontier in the drive to reduce total cost-to-own, according to the white paper. “We need to think beyond the transaction and do what’s comprehensively better, not just what’s easy,” said one participant. The paper recommends:

  • Attacking wasteful costs in contracting processes
  • Leveraging suppliers’ help with standardization efforts
  • Embracing data standards

Noted one manufacturer leader: “Right now we don’t have a great demand signal going up the chain from the point of use. We need to embrace technology and data standards in order to improve supply chain continuity and efficiency.”

Care continuum: The thought leaders noted that supply chain best practices must be applied across the entire continuum, not just in individual silos. They observed that the shift from inpatient to outpatient care is accelerating, forcing supply chain managers to support many care settings such as inpatient departments, physician practices, nursing facilities, and home care, all with diverse needs. Said one leader: “The market isn’t just consolidating, it’s converging; the lines are blurring – hospitals, payers, non-acute providers. Providers are looking at the continuum as a whole, and we too need to look at the supply chain as a whole.” How to do that? It all comes back to collaboration, the participants noted.

Visit www.HIDA.org/ThoughtLeaders today to download the white paper.