Welcome to The Healthcare Hub, a new blog focused on the opportunities that can be created through greater collaboration and visibility in the healthcare supply chain. When I started working at GHX in 2000, the healthcare supply chain, for the most part, was viewed as a highly manual, error-ridden process and credited with doing little more than processing orders and moving boxes. Today, more and more hospital executives appreciate the role the supply chain can play in improving both business and clinical performance. Suppliers, meanwhile, see supply chain optimization as a way to create competitive advantage, improve customer satisfaction, meet regulatory requirements and control costs.
I just finished attending the UDI Conference 2009 in Orlando, Florida. UDI stands for Unique Device Identification, which was mandated by Congress in 2007 as part of the FDA Amendments Act. The purpose of this part of the legislation is to require medical device manufacturers (and medical devices is broadly defined) to include an identifier on their product labels (again a broadly defined term) that enables a product to be uniquely identified through distribution and use. (The proposed rule is coming out “soon” according to Jay Crowley, the individual at the FDA in charge of this initiative.) A primary benefit of the UDI is better recall management, but there are many other areas of value, including taking the first step toward documenting which devices are used in patient care in electronic medical records (but that’s a topic for another day...stay tuned).
As I was flying back from the Medical Device Supply Chain Council (MDSCC) meeting this week, a book excerpt in an airline magazine caught my attention. The lead was: "Information is king, hyperconnectedness puts that information in the hands of the many, and transparency reveals all." That's certainly the reality we are moving toward in healthcare. In the book, "How: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything," author Dov Seidman underscores what hospitals had to say to suppliers this week.