I am generally an optimistic person, and given the advent of a new year, I am feeling particularly so, even about the seemingly insurmountable task of transforming healthcare into a system that truly can deliver better care at a more affordable cost. One reason is a PBS interview I watched over the holiday break that illustrated the real problem-solving power of online, connected communities. If we can harness the collective intelligence of those communities, I am beginning to think we can accomplish anything. If we don’t and try to go it alone, especially given the multitude and diversity of the players involved in healthcare, I don’t think we will get where we need to be, at least not to the degree or on the timeline necessary.
When I think about what’s most important in healthcare today, I’d have to say it’s value:
When Hurricane Sandy hit the New York area in late October, hospitals were not spared from the storm’s wrath. Many lost power and some were flooded and damaged. There’s very little that anyone can do in the face of a natural disaster, and it’s difficult to keep hospitals – especially those located extremely close to the coastline – up and running during these events. If we can find a silver lining in the aftermath of the storm, it’s that we were able to do our part to keep New York Presbyterian Hospital stocked with critically needed supplies during this time.
The uncertainty of healthcare reform has forced providers and suppliers to place some bets in an effort to beat the odds for change, while responding to the real financial pressures happening right now. Many are making significant decisions based on what could happen tomorrow but they don’t really know what the future holds. Consolidation is a perfect example – it’s happening among provider organizations at a tremendous rate. But while some healthcare organizations are consolidating to achieve strategic business goals, others are simply reacting to anticipated change within the industry.
As I have written on numerous occasions, we can expect the FDA to issue its final rule on unique device identification later this year. To comply with the rule, manufacturers of medical products will need to assign a unique code provided by one of the authorized issuing agencies that comply with the ISO 15459 series of standards. We have offered each of those agencies an opportunity to discuss how their standards can help manufacturers comply with the pending regulation.
David Brooks published a very interesting op-ed in The New York Times earlier this week. The article, The Philosophy of Data, discusses the current data revolution and the potential for data to help us to not only understand the past, but predict the future. OK, maybe "predict" is an overzealous word, but "anticipate" certainly isn’t.
At the recent National Health Policy Conference in Washington, the theme of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ keynote address was speeding up the rate of change in healthcare.
This week marks one year since the Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) breast implant scandal that rocked the European medical device supply chain. The resulting set of proposals to toughen European regulations on medical devices, published in September 2012, has started a debate around the benefits of differing approaches, which is recently summarized by Ben Hirschler of Reuters.
One of the conversations I’m having more frequently with healthcare leaders is around how business partners can help each other during these tremendous times of change. Provider organizations are expressing a sense of frustration that their suppliers don’t fully understand the impacts of healthcare reform on their operational and financial performance. And it’s a two way street. Supplier organizations too are feeling the pressure and voice the challenges they face from the expectations that they come down on price or make other accommodations but still deliver the same level of product quality and customer service. No matter what group I am speaking with, whether it is hospitals, manufacturers, distributors or GPOs, there is this feeling that the constituents on the other side of the table don’t understand their current challenges and organizational impacts.
When the FDA issues the final Unique Device Identification (UDI) rule later this year, it is also expected to designate a number of standards bodies as issuing agencies for the unique codes. Those agencies must comply with the ISO 15459 series of standards. The agency likely to be named as a standards body for labeling of medical products of human origin is ICCBBA. Below is a guest blog from ICCBBA Technical Director Pat Distler that explains the critical work this standards body will play in successful implementation of UDI.
Back in January, I wrote a blog about the power of community to transform healthcare. In the post, I related the story about some online gamers who were able to solve a protein folding challenge related to RNA, which creates the genetic code for some viruses. Individually, the gamers were not able to solve the problem, but through collaborative chat and sharing of results, they eventually found the answer. Now, you have an opportunity to be a part of an online community working to identify and explore opportunities to address common problems in the healthcare supply chain that can help reduce costs while improving quality.
This is a first in a quarterly series from CEO Bruce Johnson on his vision for the healthcare industry in a time of great change – and great opportunity.
No apologies, the healthcare industry is my passion. I can talk with you about it 365-days a year. And over the course of the first three months of 2013, there is plenty to talk about. So much change is hitting our industry. The mechanics of healthcare are a moving target with two constants: the need to reduce costs and the requirement to increase quality of care. There are many roads that lead to those outcomes, but underlining it all are three principles I am challenging GHX and the industry to consider:
I want to take a little time to toot our own horn here, as GHX customers this week achieved a major milestone in our “5-in-5” goal. As of March 31st, we hit the $3 billion mark in healthcare supply chain savings. This is huge, having surpassed the halfway mark in our goal to take $5 billion out of the cost of healthcare in five years. Just typing “$3 billion” doesn’t convey just how much money has been saved. So I did a bit of research to try and find another way to represent it.
The Health Sector Supply Chain Research Consortium (HSRC-ASU), based at Arizona State University, recently released its healthcare supply chain top trends for 2013. Based on analyzing trends from the past five years, it placed the topics into four categories:
Taking control of the item master is one of the most important initiatives a hospital can undertake because data integrity is the super glue that holds everything together. The item master must be a hospital’s single source of truth because it has so many reaching arms and touches so many business and clinical processes. When data is inaccurate, incomplete or completely missing, healthcare organizations waste countless hours cleaning up errors and creating workarounds. Furthermore, they make decisions based on false data and lose money in a business environment where every penny counts.
We can’t believe that there are only four weeks left until the Healthcare Supply Chain Summit! Registrations are flowing in, and a highlight for attendees is sure to be our lineup of keynote speakers. Along with forward-thinking members of the healthcare community, we will also be joined by two best-selling authors and industry experts and a Medal of Honor recipient, all ready to share their experiences to our audience.
The nature of healthcare is changing and so, too, must the supply chain profession. As a member of the board of the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM), I am very pleased that two of my fellow board members will be discussing the organization’s far reaching Cost-Quality-Outcomes (CQO) Movement at this year’s GHX Healthcare Supply Chain Summit in Las Vegas. As this news release outlines, Chair-elect Christopher O’Connor, executive vice president of Greater New York Hospital Association Ventures, will present a workshop on Monday afternoon, May 20, and our newest board member, John Willi, sr. director, supply chain management, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, will lead a breakout session on Tuesday afternoon, May 21.
Of course, we at GHX look forward to the Healthcare Supply Chain Summit each year, and the opportunity to bring together the various trading partners within the healthcare community to discuss the urgent topics of the day and learn from one another. What makes us feel especially great about the Summit is hearing from attendees about why they make it a “must attend” event each year.
Starting on the journey to supply chain transformation can be daunting. Summit attendees know that they need to reduce costs, and that the supply chain is one area where savings can be achieved. But how can an organization know where or how to start on their journey? One of the Summit tracks today was dedicated to this topic and brought providers together to share their experiences in using the supply chain to reduce costs.
As we all know, the healthcare industry is undergoing massive change as it moves toward a system that pays for value, not volume. The post-reform era requires savvy, informed and decisive leaders who are ready to drive supply chain management from the intersection of cost, quality and outcomes (or, as they are referred to in the industry, CQO).
Leading change within an organization is not a simple task, but elevating supply chain management to a strategic enterprise initiative is critical in the new age of healthcare. And because the theme of Healthcare Supply Chain Summit is “We are Change,” you can bet it’s the topic of quite a few sessions.
Today kicks off the first full day* of the 2013 Healthcare Supply Chain Summit in Las Vegas. This morning saw keynotes from our CEO Bruce Johnson and CCO Derek Smith that addressed the theme of the Summit – “We are Change” – and set the tone for what will be an informative and fruitful few days.
Supply Chain Management recently posted an article about their SM100 survey. Among the findings, 65 percent of buyers said they would be happy to allow the public to view and scrutinize their supply chain.
The article quoted buyers on either side of the issue, including a representative from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust discussing how he believes that allowing the supply chain to be public is "critical to ensure internal and external customer satisfaction."
I used an analogy at our last GHX Global Data Standards Users Group Meeting (held at the GHX Healthcare Supply Chain Summit in May) that caused more than a few of my colleagues to roll their eyes, even smirk a bit. But why limit my humiliation to just those in attendance at the meeting. So here it goes again.
At the 2013 GHX Healthcare Supply Chain Summit, I had the pleasure of co-presenting a workshop on building a master data management strategy with Franco Sagliocca, Director of Procurement Systems and Operations for the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, and my colleague David Farrar, MMIS Analyst for Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center (SFHMC).
U.S. News recently announced their listing of the Best Hospitals for 2013 - 2014, including an Honor Roll of the 18 hospitals that scored at the top in at least six out of 16 specialties. First of all, we are proud to say that all of the hospitals on the Honor Roll are GHX customers. Of course, there are many factors that make a hospital great, including its physicians, nurses, administrative staff and processes. But, we also don't think it's a coincidence that all of these organizations have also paid special attention to the supply chain and the opportunities for automation and cost savings that come along with it.
When I joined the Medical University of South Carolina, we faced a serious reality – combining Medicaid and Medicare cuts, the organization would have to remove $64.4 million from the budget to stay afloat. As the director of supply chain management, I realized that the supply chain function of the organization had become comfortable with just being “OK,” and being just OK is not OK with me. I took it upon myself to change our supply chain culture, from the C-level down.
The AHRMM Annual Conference & Exhibition was buzzing yesterday, as droves of attendees took to the show floor to hear about the Cost, Quality and Outcomes (CQO) movement and to learn about solutions to help advance their own CQO efforts. With more exhibitors at this event than in the past several years, it looks like there are plenty of organizations taking aim on providing new ways to solve some of healthcare’s most important problems.
I just returned from the 2013 AHRMM Annual Conference and Exhibition in San Diego, California, and as a board member, I could not be more pleased with the excitement generated over the recently launched Cost-Quality-Outcomes or CQO Movement. The movement seeks to demonstrate the unique position the supply chain holds at the intersection of cost, quality and outcomes and the role supply chain professionals can play in helping hospitals and healthcare providers provide better quality care at a more affordable price, which will increasingly influence how reimbursement will be determined under healthcare reform.
The UK’s Department of Health published its much-anticipated Procurement Strategy this week and with it a Procurement Development Programme for the NHS. Better Procurement, Better Value, Better Care presents four key initiatives:
By David J. Reed, vice president of Operations and Healthcare Business Solutions, corporate compliance officer, Cook Medical Incorporated
About two years ago I was giving a talk on healthcare supply chain and mentioned that within the past 90 days one healthcare system had ordered from us over 60 times in one day, shipping to the same location. Somebody in the audience responded, “What’s wrong with that?”
Monday marks the start of National Health IT Week in Washington, DC. It’s the 8th time the event has been held to “raise awareness of Health Information Technology’s power to improve the health and health care of patients…at a lower cost.” I attended some of the earlier National Health IT week activities (prior to passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka the stimulus bill), when the primary, and often sole, focus of the discussions on the hill was how to get funding for electronic health records (EHRs). My concern then, and my concern now, is that we often look too narrowly at health IT and what really needs to happen to get value out of our technology investments.
For so many years, “soon” was the best answer the FDA’s point man on UDI – Jay Crowley – could say when asked when the final unique device identification (UDI) rule would be published. Today, on the final day of the UDI conference led by the FDA, Jay announced that advance notice of the final rule was published in the federal register, with the official publication expected next Monday or Tuesday. That’s when the clock starts ticking toward compliance dates for device manufacturers. And now “soon” could be too soon for those device manufacturers that have waited until now to starting thinking about how they will comply with the regulation. Very simply, the UDI rule requires manufacturers to assign and label their products with a unique device identifier and provide additional data on those products to a Global UDI database (GUDID). (By the way, FDA likes to pronounce GUDID as “good ID.”)
By Ryan M. Schaefer, MBA, Manager of MMIS, Supply Chain, Avera Health
The single biggest challenge we’ve faced in Supply Chain at Avera Health is maintaining five separate item masters across our integrated delivery network (IDN). While we have made tremendous progress in consolidating our contracting to the point where we no longer have contracts in five different regions at five different price points, we still must update and maintain product and contract data in five separate databases, which isn’t terribly effective.
I flew back last night from Cisco’s Internet of Things Global Forum, where I had the honor of being invited to present on the healthcare supply chain. The good news is the inaugural forum, which included some of the world’s real tech heavyweights, had healthcare on the agenda; the not so good news is the topics and conversations only scratched the surface of what’s possible. This is the first in a series of blogs that I will write on the potential for the Internet of Things, or more appropriately the Internet of Everything, in the realm of healthcare and the supply chain.
Are you wondering: “What are spaghetti product master data processes, and should I be worried?” Take a look at this check list to help assess if you’re “dining” on a spaghetti product master data process. Are you:
If you checked off one or more of the above, read on.
Since joining GHX (recently moving over from Symmetry Surgical), I feel like I’ve learned a lot that’s worth sharing. I’ve been able to bring my experience from working in manufacturer and distributor organizations into GHX, and in return, start to understand how what GHX is doing can be of even more value to those suppliers. In the meetings I’ve been having with colleagues at suppliers, I’ve realized that not everyone knows about all of the solutions GHX now offers to the industry. Through a series of blogs I will share "a supplier’s perspective" on the tools I believe bring the greatest value. First on the list – the GHX eInvoicing with POD (Proof of Delivery) solution.
Before joining GHX, I was a complete "Debbie Downer" about G-Fax. Yes, it's true! I was a Debbie Downer because I thought my customer service team would still need to touch most of the orders coming in to our ERP system. Turns out I was completely wrong – since joining GHX, I’ve learned that a lot has changed with G-Fax in the 10 years since a "fax-to-EDI" service was introduced to the healthcare industry. So my second blog on sharing what I’ve learned since joining GHX will cover what I was missing about the GHX G-Fax solution.
You know that since I came to GHX, I consider my greatest opportunity to give advice to business leaders working on the supply-side of healthcare. Today, I want to offer some advice to take your medical device company from zero to sixty on the road to UDI compliance.