During AHRMM18, McKesson hosted the Supply Chain Leadership Forum during which supply chain leaders discussed how they are supporting the non-acute care space today, the challenges they face and how they are addressing them. Attendees represented health systems across the country.
Supply Chain’s Changing Role in the Expanding Care Continuum
Healthcare is changing, and supply chain’s role is changing along with it. The care continuum is increasingly expanding beyond the hospital, with 95 percent of patient visits taking place in non-acute care settings.1 This expansion of patient care means new strategies for a health system’s supply chain.
Supply chain professionals who have not traditionally played an active role in non-acute care settings are increasingly being called upon to take control of products and services in this space. Those who have expanded their responsibilities outside of the hospital report significant challenges: while non-acute may only be 2% of their product spending, it can feel like it causes as least 30% of their headaches due to lack of maturity in processes and technology.
Participants at the Supply Chain Leadership Forum acknowledged how health systems with more mature supply chains are better prepared to take on the demands of the non-acute space, citing the following factors for success throughout the continuum of care:
1 | A Change of Outlook
The Forum participants expressed the need to leverage supply chain expertise in the acute care space to improve the financial, clinical and operational performance of non-acute areas. Many recognized that some supply chain leaders might think that these areas are outside of their scope of work. They agreed that supply chain leaders must change their outlooks around roles and responsibilities if they are to succeed in the future of healthcare delivery.
2 | Value Analysis Team
Healthcare organizations must leverage supply chain’s expertise to help connect quality products to physicians/clinicians in a cost-effective manner. Supply chain can provide the resources to help guide clinicians in their decision-making, including various stakeholders (e.g. finance, infection control, supplier relationships); skills (e.g. contracting, pricing, negotiation); and data (e.g. clinical, financial).
In order for supply chain to provide value in non-acute settings, they must be involved early in the product/service decision-making process. By giving supply chain a seat on value analysis teams (VAT) and quality/outcomes committees, they can help funnel through standardization issues, provide information to guide physicians/clinicians in selecting products with the best outcomes, and be a pivot point to connect various stakeholders in the decision-making process.
3 | Physician/Clinician Preference
Forum participants agreed that a major hurdle they must overcome in the non-acute space is physician/clinician preference. Many had already taken steps to standardize formularies in acute care settings and stressed the need to apply these same best practices outside of the hospital. This requires supply chain to demonstrate to non-acute physicians/clinicians the value they can provide in terms of not just lowering costs, but also improving patient outcomes.
4 | Technology and Data
The participants in the room agreed that supply chain maturity in both the acute and non-acute space requires interoperability between supply chain and clinical technology platforms; one that facilitates access to accurate, timely, and meaningful data and the sharing of this data among stakeholders.
The Forum participants felt there was substantial opportunity for supply chain to maximize the role it plays in patient care outside of the hospital. To do so supply chain leaders must think holistically about the entire care continuum, engage stakeholders in the process, and leverage supply chain process expertise to drive organizational initiatives. Key takeaways included:
- To be truly successful, leaders need to think holistically about the acute and non-acute supply chains
- VAT teams should leverage their supply chain professionals to help connect various stakeholders throughout the decision-making process – standardizing products can increase standards of quality throughout the continuum
- Technology should be interoperable throughout the entire health system – this enables visibility and better decision making
1: The Advisory Board Company Health Care Industry Trends, 2017