Author Archives: Tom Finn

About Tom Finn

Tom was the editor of Healthcare Matters and is now a contributing author to Spend Matters. He is a serial entrepreneur and reluctant expert in the myriad applications of optimization to strategic sourcing and supply chain management – especially in healthcare, where the first collaborative sourcing projects ever attempted were successfully executed under his direction. He has been the first business executive hired by technology innovators from MIT, the University of Cambridge and CMU, so getting high-brow intellectuals and early commercial adopters on the same page is a battle-tested communication skill that Tom has had ample opportunity to hone over a 30-year career. Tom earned his undergraduate degree at Allegheny College and went on to the University of Taipei to continue his study of Mandarin. He has a knack for connecting dots that others don’t see and a readily obvious ability to communicate the possibilities.

Vizient: Healthcare GPO Provider Summary — Introduction, Summary Analysis, SWOT and Customer Engagement Tips

Through a combination of organic growth industry consolidation, three group purchasing organization (GPO) providers have come to dominate the healthcare market. These providers — Vizient, Premier and HealthTrust — control nearly 75% of spend in the healthcare GPO market.

Despite this level of consolidation, the three competitors have, in certain cases, targeted different markets and introduced unique offerings. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides a summary overview of Vizient, including a general introduction, key points analysis, SWOT framework and customer tips for getting the most out of engagement.

For background on the GPO market, check out our two earlier briefs, An Introduction to Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) and Group Purchasing Organizations: Supplier Perspectives and the Evolving GPO Landscape. For general context, perspective and analysis of the healthcare GPO market in particular, see our recent three-part series: Part 1 (Background, History and Introduction), Part 2 (GPO criticisms and market consolidation/bifurcation) and Part 3 (Key Takeaways, Emerging Paradigm Shifts and Customer Recommendations).

The Healthcare Group Purchasing Organization Landscape (Part 3): Key Takeaways and Customer Recommendations

This Spend Matters PRO series explores the history and current state of the healthcare group purchasing organization (GPO) market. In this third installment, we provide key takeaways for the industry, analyze emerging trends in the market and offer customer recommendations.

For background on the GPO market, we encourage you to start here with our two earlier briefs on GPOs, An Introduction to Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) and Group Purchasing Organizations: Supplier Perspectives and the Evolving GPO Landscape. Then explore Part 1 (Background, History and Introduction) and Part 2 (GPO criticisms).

The Healthcare Group Purchasing Organization Landscape (Part 2): Market Critiques and Effects of Consolidation

This Spend Matters PRO series provides an introduction to the healthcare GPO market. Today in Part 2, we summarize healthcare GPO criticisms and survey the effects of consolidation in two GPO contexts (member consolidation and GPO M&A). We also discuss how models are bifurcating.

For background on the GPO market, review our two earlier briefs, An Introduction to Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) and Group Purchasing Organizations: Supplier Perspectives and the Evolving GPO Landscape. Then explore the first installment in this series, which provides a background, history and introduction to the healthcare GPO market.

The Healthcare Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) Landscape: Background, History and Introduction (Part 1)

This Spend Matters PRO research series provides both an insider’s take on the healthcare GPO market from an industry perspective and an “outside-in” analysis of the market based on norms in the procurement industry overall. For an introduction to GPO models not specific to healthcare, including how they work and ways in which the GPO landscape is changing, see An Introduction to Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) and Group Purchasing Organizations: Supplier Perspectives and the Evolving GPO Landscape

Part 1 of our coverage provides background, history and definition of the healthcare GPO market. The remaining installments will provide insight into how consolidation (both within healthcare systems and within GPOs) is affecting the market, lessons from other industries and an analysis of the “Big 3” national GPO providers: Vizient, Premier and HealthTrust.

We will also provide a summary of GPO criticisms — including those that are fairly levied and those that are not — and provide a perspective on what changes that we might expect as the GPO landscape evolves. Put on the flak jacket (or should we say take an intravenous sedative) and let’s delve in.

For Small and Midsize Businesses: Time to Talk About SpendBoss

SpendBoss was founded by Scott Schneider. His objective was simple: Develop extraordinarily easy-to-use spend management software that integrates well with the other technologies typical of the small to midsize ecosystems. This required making the software easily accessible as a service and, obviously, choosing a subscription price that would be a no-brainer. And SpendBoss has done just that.

Healthcare Supply Chain Connections: Value-Based Purchasing and Point of Service Compliance

As complex operating structures, healthcare providers have long tended to segregate operations, thinking that by addressing them as disparate tasks they’ll be better able to manage them. One effect, unfortunately, is how this approach often confounds attempts at eliminating variance, regardless of type. To compound the matter, such divisions filter down, even into otherwise functionally integrated operating environments. Procurement and supply chain, despite their convergence, are not exempt. 

Hospitals Can No Longer Afford to Pay the Bill for Increased Manufacturer Profitability

locum tenens

I recently read a Forbes piece penned by my friend Paul Martyn. Essentially, it took hospitals to the woodshed, pointing out how many of them remain victims of Stockholm syndrome. It’s an unfortunate analogy meant to describe the state of mind of far too many acute care supply chain practitioners. The implication here is that hospital purchasing staffers tend to identify with the goals and objectives of their “captors.” In this case, the captors are the major pharmaceutical and device manufacturers (OEMs).

Healthcare’s Purchased Services Management Problems Expose Contract Management Deficits


As a super-category of spend, purchased services continue to pose challenges that are felt across all industry. Although there’s a well-known playbook (i.e. get your data-act together; benchmark; rationalize suppliers and source better arrangements), what is it about purchased services that continues to confound our best efforts? Among healthcare providers — an industry that is just now learning to take control of its supply chains — it has been exposed as a huge problem.

LexisNexis Entity Insight: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

Almost overnight it seems that the supply risk management (SRM) solution area has exploded with new options. Available solutions fall into a range of categories. On one end of the spectrum, technology suite vendors are adding basic supplier risk functionality, providing what amounts to a starter package for procurement organizations to quickly “risk categorize” their suppliers. While solutions like this may lack the feature and monitoring depth that more advanced procurement and supply chain organizations may require, they deliver a combination of integrated ease of access and use that can be difficult to pass up as an add-on to existing capabilities.

At the other end of the spectrum, more advanced supply and supply chain risk management solutions now provide multiple dimensions of insight through integrated software and content packages that can stand on their own as an independent solution area separate from traditional “source-to-pay” suites and modules or integrate with existing systems. These types of solutions, which include LexisNexis Entity Insight (LNEI), the subject of this analysis, are typically best suited for procurement and supply chain management teams where risk management practices and solution requirements are well developed or more strategic.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about LNEI and whether its solution is a fit for their supplier and supply chain risk management needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides company background information and a solution overview, as well as recommended fit suggestions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Walmart is Scaring U.S. Healthcare Providers — For all the Right Reasons

Although he surely wasn’t the first to point it out, Warren Buffett grabbed the market’s attention when he described healthcare as a “tapeworm on the U.S. economy.” In fact, his voice carried enough weight to trigger a stock market selloff. Interestingly, not even Walmart’s actions, along with those of other major retailers, have garnered similar attention. Combined, they have quietly opened thousands of healthcare clinics for the past several years. But unlike CVS, Rite Aid, Kroger and other pharmacy and grocery chains, Walmart has effectively positioned itself as a true primary care provider, capable even of treating patients with chronic diseases.  

How LogisticsExchange is Disrupting the Truckload Contracting Practice

Truckload contracting is a fragmented market in dire need of better management tools. But is that why as much as 25% of all road miles are still being driven empty? A new company called LogisticsExchange (LE) has taken an entirely fresh look at that question. Interestingly, here’s where it has landed: It is attacking the industry’s traditional contracting practices.

Group Purchasing Organizations: Supplier Perspectives and the Evolving GPO Landscape

Joining a GPO is like getting a Costco membership. You know you’re not going to get ripped off, so you probably won’t put much thought into joining. But therein lies the rub for GPO members. Like Costco, a GPO is a one-size-fits-all marketplace where you may overbuy when you get there or underbuy by not getting there at all.

In an increasingly Amazon-dominated world, however, this model is not the only available option.Today, the assortment and pricing of items available to consumers are tuned to the user and monetized most efficiently by intermediaries that can source better and optimize for lowest total landed costs better than individual buyers. Procurement organizations are now looking to bring this experience to the complex world of B2B purchasing. And where GPOs fit into this more sophisticated equation is not a simple answer (many are still trying to figure it out themselves). 

But that doesn’t mean GPOs will go the way of the 1980s big box retailer. Instead, GPOs will have to take on a role beyond the race to the lowest price. This multipart Spend Matters PRO series explains what motivates GPOs and helps procurement organizations best decide when and how to engage them. In this second installment (see our initial GPO introduction), we explore GPOs from a supplier perspective and offer recommendations for vendors working through GPOs to make these relationships more successful. We also explore how GPO options and capabilities are evolving and segment the GPO market by model and type and provide case example looks at different GPO business models. These include vertical/industry independent, member-owned, horizontal, affinity, category-specific and procurement technology led GPO models.