The Top 10 Things I Hope Not to Hear Again in 2015

No. 10 – From vendors: “This [fill in the blank] will reduce your length of stay by…”
If all of the products and services that were supposed to reduce our length of stay actually did, we would have a negative length of stay: Drive-through heart surgery anyone?

No. 9 – From anyone: “We have Six Sigma black belts on staff to help you.”
Bringing a black belt into an organization from the outside is like (to paraphrase Robert Heinlein) “trying to teach a pig to sing: It wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”

No. 8 – From consultants: “Our consulting solutions will only work if we have senior executive support.”
Really? If you can’t persuade the people who actually need the help that your advice is worthwhile, maybe you need a time out to think about what you are doing.

No. 7 – From vendors: “This is the lowest price we can offer you.”
Translation: “In your region … OK, the five blocks your hospital sits on.”

No. 6 – From THAT sales rep: “I was not trying to go around you, the physician asked us to bring the product in.”
Translation: “After I went around you and told him about the product.”

No. 5 – From buyers: “I can’t do business with you unless you are under contract with our GPO.”
Come on now; the truth is that YOU control what you buy, not your GPO. Tell them why you don’t want to see their product. It will build stronger relationships in the future.

No. 4 – From providers: “I just can’t get my doctors to cooperate and help me reduce costs.”
Don’t be afraid to keep trying. … Physicians really are starting to get it. They just need some help in understanding how they can help.

No. 3 – From anyone: “Boy, I really beat the price out of that salesperson…”
What, besides the partnership, did you leave on the table?

No. 2 – From you know who you are: “Our information systems/analytical/ecommerce solutions will save you millions.”
What I would like to hear: “Most of which will be hard to actually prove but may still bring value. So, let’s talk about that value instead of the savings.”

No. 1 – From our Industry: “One day the healthcare supply chain will get the recognition it deserves.”
Why not today?

Joe Colonna is Vice President of Supply Chain at Piedmont Healthcare, Atlanta

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