Stringing it Together

Readers may not know how we put this newsletter together, but it goes like this:

First, Fred Crans writes an entertaining piece on a topic of his choice…and for those of you who know Fred, the breadth of potential topics is endless.

Second, we have a guest author provide a piece on his or her choice of topic. These pieces are from employees, customers, other providers or suppliers. This too opens the door to a very wide array of topics and content.

Then I sit down and attempt to string the content together against some sort of theme by providing Optimé experience or additional third-party content to add value for the reader.

I felt that this month may be a good month to share our process as I attempt to string the following together against a theme for you, our readers:

In Fred’s column, he asks colleagues to name the “(three) One Thing(s)” that is (are) most important for the supply chain.

Paul Helmering, VP Information Systems, ROi, has provided a nice piece on our industry data issues and the approach that they are taking to address.

I celebrate the Unique Device Identifier (UDI) Final Rule and discuss its implementation.

So, here’s that stringing it together thing, using Fred’s theme of One Thing. I’ll share a very simple tenant that has served me very well throughout my career: Whenever I question a decision or direction, I use the patient as my guide. If I cannot associate the decision or direction with clear patient benefit, I don’t go there. Sounds simple enough, but given the complex and often times convoluted schemas in our industry, patient benefit is not always clear.

Take the data issues that Paul writes about and the UDI rule; they are as clear as it gets in terms of patient benefit. Patient safety risk (recall notification) and inexcusable excess cost and waste are the result of bad data. So why then have these issues been so daunting and passage of such common sense legislation so time-consuming? Our political process aside, it is my opinion that providers (who are the buyers and a proxy for the consumer – the patient) are not yet universally calling the shots in our supply chain. Supply chains in other industries are hyper-accountable to consumer demand.

ROi is one organization changing the pattern and adopting a demand-driven supply chain. It is calling the shots and developing means to deal with the data issues as a foundational must-have capability. The solution that Paul references in his article is being made available to other providers to help them take control now.

The next step is for all healthcare providers to begin preparing their supply chains and relationships with suppliers to adopt the UDI as soon as it is finally available. Providers are in the best position to simplify things and direct a more accountable supply chain focused on consumer demand (the patient). However, doing so will come with its share of challenges (e.g., data standards management) and competing priorities. Ultimately, the One Thing we need now are courageous provider-side leaders, for patients’ sake.

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