Healthcare Matters Afternoon Coffee

Haven't been keeping up over on our new site, Healthcare Matters? You'd be surprised at how much thought process and knowledge is transferable to the general procurement and supply chain reader. Plus Tom Finn is on his game with every post -- and sometimes wickedly funny. Have at it:

IBM's Undisputed Jeopardy Champ "Dr. Watson" Headed for Healthcare -- Watson, the namesake of IBM founder Thomas Watson, is a highly sophisticated natural language processor. It's a computing system that is designed to analyze the meaning and context of human language. The good doctor can take your question, instantly identify and digest the equivalent of about 200 million pages of relevant data, analyze all of it appropriately and give you a precise answer in less than three seconds.

Disruptive hand in glove market -- Twenty-five years ago, almost all exam gloves for the worldwide market were made in America –mostly in Ohio. Although the global market continues to grow and is expected to reach $3.4 billion annually by 2015, guess how many latex exam gloves are still being manufactured in the US? That's right: Zero. They're all manufactured in Southeast Asia. But the times they are a changing...

MedAssets -- Comfortable in Their Own Skin -- As promised, a little primer on the MedAssets Procurement Solutions Suite: There is no disguising the need for a central product information repository, structured as a database, to fuel spend analysis, competitive bidding, marketplace applications and all the related sub processes. "Item Master" is the term used to describe this repository and most all GPOs provide services to assist or turnkey its development.

Friday Rant: Three Reasons the Healthcare Supply Chain is So Backwards -- Earlier today, we formally announced Spend Matters' latest venture exploring the healthcare supply chain: Healthcare Matters. Collectively, the Spend Matters and Healthcare Matters team is stoked to tackle an industry and set of business issues that has long deserved a voice in the market. Here at Azul Partners (Spend Matters' parent company), healthcare is by far and away our largest employee (and non-employee) cost outside of regular compensation. I could buy a mint condition, low mileage, air-cooled Porsche 911 (maybe two) for what we spend each year on the line item. It's a huge portion of our revenue that seemingly goes into a black hole every year. And even when we "take advantage" of our insurance by seeing a doctor, going to the ER or having a procedure done, it seems we're paying far more than our insurance.

Attention Wal-Mart Patients! -- The New York Times recently reported: "Wal-Mart is striding into the market for electronic health records [EHRs], seeking to bring the technology into the mainstream for physicians in small offices, where most of America's doctors practice medicine." Through a partnership between its Sam's Club division, Dell and eClinicalWorks, Wal-Mart will become a turnkey solution provider, "making the technology more accessible and affordable, undercutting rival health information technology suppliers by as much as half."

Sheena Moore

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