Publisher’s Letter June 2012

The Future Is Now

Every issue we run a feature article called Model of the Future. This segment is my favorite part of each issue – it’s the article I always go to first when I get the pre-press issue. This segment gives us the unparallel opportunity to profile the best and brightest Supply Chain leaders in the nation and hear directly from them on what they are working on, how they are measuring value and what the future holds for their IDNs.

In the past we profiled world class organizations like Cleveland Clinic, Malcolm Baldrige award winner Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. It never ceases to amaze the variability there is in work direction and priorities these leaders have.

In this issue (on page 14) we profile Nancy LeMaster at BJC HealthCare in St. Louis, Mo. BJC has 27,000 employees, 13 hospitals and over $800 million in supply chain spend. Coordinating this seems daunting. Improving it to the tune of over $200 million in savings by 2015 is awe inspiring. But frankly, the vast majority of our nation’s IDNs have similar or proportionate goals in place.

But where Nancy transcends traditional cost savings is in her priorities and imperatives … and suppliers would be wise to take heed as I think more IDNs will be speaking this language soon.

She touches on a recent software implementation and says “it was an opportunity to redefine our business.” It wasn’t long ago that IT projects were pushed on materials departments from IT and it was about adoption and survival.

“Bending the cost curve is a journey – not a project,” she says. I couldn’t agree more. Chasing savings annually is not a fad, it is absolutely crucial to our nation’s supply chain leaders’ cause. “We can’t make this type of dramatic change without behavior changes,” she says. Behavior changes on utilization will certainly help her attain her goal. And to think the coordination of these system-changing initiatives are led by Supply Chain.

Five years ago I would have thought this type of collaboration was something we could expect in decades, not 2012.

Thank you for reading this issue of the Journal of Healthcare Contracting.

About the Author

John Pritchard
John Pritchard is the publisher of The Journal of Healthcare Contracting.
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