Healthcare Matters: Our Latest Site Makes a Smashing Debut

In August, we quietly launched the latest site in the Spend Matters family: Healthcare Matters. Authored by Tom Finn, an expert in the healthcare supply chain (albeit one who does not take himself too seriously), Healthcare Matters is already taking aim at exploring opportunities for cost reduction and other improvements within healthcare. We're having a bit of fun with the topic as well -- after all, given the billions of lost savings opportunities that are squandered in healthcare every year, we sometimes just need to put on a happy face -- exploring such topics as whether the non-profit status of certain hospitals and IDNs is really deserved given that they often put their own revenue and margin ahead the public interest (e.g., closing facilities in lower income neighborhoods). In short, with Healthcare Matters, nothing is sacred. But at the same time, we're not approaching the market with a preconceived notion about what is right -- or wrong.

Among other topics we're keen to delve into -- a few of which, mind you, we've already explored in detail -- some are coming up more than others including:

  • The role of healthcare specific procurement and supply chain technologies when it comes to lower costs and improving patient outcomes (if you're a vendor/solutions provider, please get in touch with us to set up a briefing)
  • The evolution of global sourcing within healthcare – the good, the bad and the ...
  • The past, current and future role of group purchasing organizations (GPOs) in healthcare
  • Strategic sourcing (and supplier rationalization) in the context of both physician preference and non-preference items
  • The impact of physician practices (e.g., use/frequency of certain drugs, items, etc.) on cost and patient outcomes
  • The rise of substitute products and solutions (e.g., gloves)
  • Building transparency at all levels of the healthcare supply chain
  • Contracting and supply chain management best practices

Even though Tom has been the predominate voice on the site so far, we've welcomed contributions from Tim Darling from the McKinsey Hospital Institute, Gregg Brandyberry, Sheena Moore and others. I will be contributing to Healthcare Matters in the future as well. In the meantime, even if you're outside of the healthcare ecosystem, we think you'll find at least some of our content on Healthcare Matters insightful (and maybe even incendiary). As we like to say in the office: Healthcare Matters: for your health, your family, your life.

Here's a sampling of some of our posts to date:

M.D./M.B.A. or M.B.A./M.D. Can I get just get a bandage? -- A few years back there were only half a dozen joint M.D./M.B.A. programs in this country. Now, there are 65 -- with the joint program at Wharton arguing for top spot. A recent NY Times article presented this trend as evidence supporting a new phenomenon. Namely, that an increasing amount of degreed and would-be physicians are seeing the value of adding the M.B.A. or pursuing a joint M.D./M.B.A. degree, because (drum roll here): they have discovered that healthcare is a business.

SciQuest -- Because what you can't see can hurt you... -- SciQuest is an e-procurement software company, positioned as a "provider of comprehensive spend management capability." But its solution orientation and messaging to the healthcare marketplace is refreshingly different. Why? Because SciQuest's roots are not in healthcare. And that's proving to be to its advantage. The company has been a successful, long-term provider of e-procurement solutions to the Life Sciences, Higher Education and Public Sector markets, so its healthcare perspective is relatively uninhibited.

McKinsey Hospital Institute -- Supply Utilization Management -- Healthcare Matters would like to welcome a guest post from Tim Darling of the McKinsey Hospital Institute. The pressure on hospitals to control costs has been unrelenting over the last few years. At the McKinsey Hospital Institute, we help our hospital clients identify the opportunities that best fit their strategic goals and resources. For many hospitals, reducing total non-labor cost can be a very attractive option.

Friday Rant: Not For Prophets -- 501(C)(3) -- Nonprofit hospitals (NPOs) in the US are supposed to be charitable trusts. Their tax exempt status was established back in the 1920's because of all the free care they provided to the uninsured. In that era, uninsured people were referred to as "poor." My, how times have changed!

Global Sourcing – Insist on a Business Class Ticket -- Major hospital systems throughout the world that competitively bid their demand and haven't yet explored factory direct purchasing opportunities from low cost country sources -- like China -- are literally missing the boat. That ship has sailed and the bounty has been landing in the hands of major branded manufacturers and distributors for years. It's your turn. Expanding your supply base -- going global -- can significantly reduce your supply costs without impacting patient care.

Jason Busch

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