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Managing the new realities of non-acute supply chain

General themes included in this webinar:

  • How the pandemic has transformed the non-acute supply chain
  • The changing responsibilities of healthcare supply chain leaders
  • Increased collaboration in the supply chain industry
  • The future of healthcare supply chain

How the pandemic has transformed the non-acute supply chain

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced healthcare supply chain leaders to be more nimble, collaborative and innovative, and the importance of the non-acute supply chain has become more obvious. The role of non-acute supply chain leaders has evolved as a result of the pandemic and is a vital role to supporting patient care outside of the hospital's four walls.

Three health system supply chain leaders recently discussed how the non-acute space has changed due to the pandemic and where the industry is going during a webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by McKesson Medical-Surgical.

The leaders were:

  • Sean Poellnitz, vice president of supply chain at Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph, MO
  • Darrick Adams, director of non-acute supply chain at AdventHealth in Altamonte Springs, FL
  • Tyler Ross, director of supply chain operations at Novant Health in Charlotte, NC

The discussion was moderated by Greg Colizzi, vice president of marketing for health systems and enterprise customers at McKesson Medical-Surgical.

The changing responsibilities of healthcare supply chain leaders

As the pandemic exposed inefficiencies in the healthcare supply chain, the role of non-acute supply chain leaders expanded in response. The global crisis has required leaders to modify how their organizations handle emergencies and placed a renewed importance on developing robust planning and pandemic preparedness plans.

The pandemic also pushed supply leaders into a more central role in their organizations, Mr. Poellnitz noted. Supply leaders have had to become a business partner, and systems have realized that including supply leaders in strategy planning from the beginning helps their overall success.

Supply chain leaders have become key decision-makers and play an integral role in guiding future operations, Mr. Ross said.

Increased collaboration in the supply chain industry

Engagement and collaboration between supply and other teams in the health system has become much stronger due to the pandemic, Mr. Adams noted.

Mr. Poellnitz said the pandemic opened up an opportunity for his team at Mosaic Life Care to work closer with the finance team to make dashboards that leverage real-time business intelligence to make decisions. That helped the supply team become more ingrained in a process to use data to make the right business decisions.

The relationships between healthcare supply chain teams and their suppliers and distributors have also been strengthened due to the pandemic, as all parts of the industry had to come together to figure out how to help their communities.

"I hope that long-term we keep the transparency of the relationships so that we're not just talking about price and product but talking about strategy and how we create programs and processes that help the whole industry win," Mr. Poellnitz said.

The future of healthcare supply chain

The non-acute supply chain space is going to place a renewed emphasis on healthcare equity in the future, Mr. Ross predicted. It's critical for health systems to ensure they're addressing inequities in care, and the non-acute space is the ideal place to do that, because so many patient visits happen there.

"The [health systems] see that non-acute isn't just a small piece of the organization, it has a larger part, and there's going to be a need for additional resources to scale it out," Mr. Adams said.

The non-acute space is also more primed to be a response force, as it has experience with organic growth.

"In a future situation where there may be a health emergency, I think a lot of the onus is going to be put on the non-acute space, since they've proven they can handle it and be quick and effective," Mr. Ross said.

The skillset of supply leaders will also likely change in the future as the supply chain becomes more global, Mr. Poellnitz said. Having a range of experience in many industries will be beneficial for future leaders.

In the future, supply leaders should remember the lessons learned from the pandemic and build methodology into their inventory planning to absorb another disruption, the panelists agreed.