The Healthcare Hub

Supply Chain Transparency & Trust - Why Data Sharing is Critical to Benefit the Patient Population

posted by: Cheryl Flury
Wednesday, June 12, 2013

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." 

This made me think about the state of supply chain transparency in U.S. healthcare today and the possibility of opening up this information to the public. If we don't even trust our supply chain partners enough to open up our information and share data, then what chances do we have to evolving to the point of opening up supply chain information for public review? As the cost of doing healthcare rises, these increases are not only hitting providers and suppliers, but the public as well. As those responsible for the business of healthcare, isn't it the responsibility of providers and suppliers – and their business partners – to work together for the best interest of the patient, including sharing information about the supply chain that will leave to cost savings?

During the recent Healthcare Supply Chain Summit, one of the schedule sessions discussed just this issue. Representatives from Avera Health and Owens & Minor co-presented to discuss techniques to create better trading partner relationships. While it's refreshing to see some forward-thinking suppliers and providers working together to enact change, this is something that we strongly feel needs to be adopted more broadly in healthcare. Only once we begin to trust one another and provide transparency into our own operations can we then optimize supply chain processes to the fullest and pass along these savings to the most important constituent - the patient.