Publisher’s Letter: Superstars Among Us

John Pritchard

Each summer we interview the Ten People to Watch in Healthcare Contracting. This is my favorite feature of the editorial calendar year. For nearly two decades, this issue has highlighted the superstars in our industry.

This year is no different! In this issue we feature people from world class health systems such as UPMC, Common Spirit Health, Bon Secours, Baptist Health South Florida and Advocate Aurora, just to name a few.

In these past 18 years it has been amazing to watch how Supply Chain Leaders have evolved into strategic executive business leaders. Early on we would ask them what projects were on the horizon, and the answers were usually perfunctory projects such as “clean up the item master” or “reduce costs across the board.” The profession at the time seemed to be an activity-based routine to keep hospitals and facilities efficiently stocked with the products and goods needed to provide great healthcare.

In the ensuing years as we stared down the Affordable Care Act and all the intended and unintended consequences, the purview of this same question widened. In this era when asked what projects were on deck, our respondents answered with bigger ideas and initiatives. Now that their organization is getting reimbursed based on the triple aim of reform, they were focused on adding value to every corner of the organization. Often, they would respond that they were adding a distribution center or working on super aggregation. And usually, their departments were growing.

While the pandemic is not in the rearview mirror, it does feel like we’ve learned to live with it. I’m hesitant to call this a post-pandemic era, but certainly it feels like the worst of this pandemic is behind us (fingers crossed).

Meanwhile, the last few years have elevated the importance of the superstars we feature. They went from figuratively being responsible for the safety and well-being of their clinicians, patients and communities, to literally being responsible.

The stress and stakes on hand accelerated so much of the evolution of their role in health systems. Today when asked what projects they are looking forward to, Supply Chain Leader are attacking big initiatives that are part of the fabric of their systems like “digital transformation,” “cultural alignment,” “career laddering,” “labor shortages,” and many more.

It’s been fascinating to have a front row seat to this evolution. Eighteen years ago, I could never have imagined the change and challenges we would face. I certainly can not imagine what we will see in the next 18!

Please enjoy this issue of The Journal of Healthcare Contracting.