Publisher’s Letter January/February 2005

Words of Wisdom

On the eve of our second year of publishing The Journal of Healthcare Contracting, I was tempted to make some predications for 2005 in the contracting arena. But, instead of looking in my crystal ball to 2005, I want to look back to our inaugural year and re-iterate some quotes and highlights that truly made a difference for our market place. Here are a few:

“We saw tremendous potential for a group purchasing organization that would reflect how the customer wanted to do business.”
– John Bardis, president and CEO, Medassets

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned in 25 years of national contracting, it’s that healthcare is, indeed, a local business.”
– Bill McIllhargey, consultant

“The biggest overarching problem we face is that the nation has never taken a systematic approach to healthcare.”
– George Halvorson, chairman and CEO,
Kaiser Permanente

“Part of what’s wrong with our healthcare system is that knowledge is so fragmented and kept so close by so many players.”
– Newt Gingrich, former speaker of U.S. House of Representatives

“Success in healthcare comes from building and maintenance of strong relationships with primary people who touch your organization.”
– Jim McManus, VP of finance, St. Joseph Health System

“There is an absolute disconnect between the goals of hospitals and the goals of the pharmaceutical or medical suppliers.”
– Christopher O’Connor, executive VP, GNYHA Ventures, New York, N.Y.

It always amazes me how thought leaders can sum up situations so clearly. You could almost take the wisdom from any of these quotes to address the everyday struggles and opportunities in today’s contracting arena. Perhaps a hybrid of the above thoughts would be a great charter for our exciting corner of the world:

The national healthcare-contracting arena strives to be a customer-focused business that is based locally in every community. We will work to ensure a systematic approach to ensure access and transparency of information for all stakeholders to use for the progress of healthcare. Sincere and lasting relationships with professionals in healthcare contracting, including physicians matched with like and known objectives, will be the enduring keys to providing complete, affordable, high-quality patient care.

The merit of each of these thought leaders’ observations seems to stand on its own. Why the compilation seems so daunting is beyond me. Maybe that’s why, when I get overwhelmed, I always revert back to the old adage of eating an elephant one bite at a time. I guess they could both be charters to the same end for our industry.

Best of luck in 2005. I look forward to another interesting year in the healthcare-contracting arena.

John Pritchard About John Pritchard

John Pritchard is the publisher of The Journal of Healthcare Contracting as well as The Major Accounts Exchange (The Max).

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