Pildis leads a team of supply chain professionals who manage the flow of inventory from more than 2,600 supplier partners to McKesson's Medical-Surgical's network of distribution centers.
"Clinicians who have grown up in the non-acute care setting aren't used to being told which gloves and gauze to use," he says. "In the acute care setting, most IDNs have already fought that battle. But having to refight it with people who in some cases were entrepreneurs or practice owners is a big challenge."
Supply chain executives face other dilemmas as they approach their newly acquired physician practices.
For example, there's the difficulty of obtaining spend and performance analytics across the extended supply chain, says Pildis. It may be commonplace for IDNs to implement one information system across all their hospitals. But that's usually not the case with scattered nonacute sites. "Really understanding your spend, your contract compliance, and how the supply chain contributes to patient care and quality, becomes very difficult as the supply chain extends all the way to patients' homes."
The supply chain executive may be surprised - or not - at the frequency with which the non-acute care sites order supplies, or the amount of inventory they stockpile, or their failure to rotate product. "These are the basics that most hospitals have already figured out," says Pildis.
"The other thing to keep in mind is the limited resources you typically find in the traditional physician office," he continues. "Office managers and nurses are involved in supply chain duties, but adhering to inventory best practices is not at the top of their list. They're focused on patient care. They will often do what is the quickest and surest way never to run out of product. And that can lead to some behaviors that are vexing to supply chain executives."
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