Spring 2019 Forum Recap

Our Spring Forum has come and gone; we are now in the process of pivoting attention to the Fall.  First, though, I want to thank everyone who attended and who took the time to complete the forum evaluation.  This was one of the highest number of evaluations received, which makes me hopeful that the SMI feedback mechanism is getting more robust. 

Moreover, we received some incredibly constructive feedback on what worked at the Forum and what didn’t, which will be enormously helpful as we think of improvements we can make between now and the fall, and how we can maintain relevance to both long term SMI members as well as newer members to the community.

With that being said, here are a few highlights from the Forum:   

Dr. Bill Satterwhite

This Forum was focused on the many different facets of innovation.  While the problems we have to deal with in healthcare can seem limitless, the resources at our disposal to tackle these problems are far from it.  To survive, the healthcare system must change. Since innovation is a major force for change, the question on the table was how can supply chain enable innovation in all its manifestations and quicken the pace of change in healthcare?

Dr. Bill Satterwhite, Chief Wellness Officer at Wake Forest Baptist Health provided an entertaining and provocative response to this question.  The experience he described creating onsite health services in partnership with local auto dealerships was straight out of the theater of the absurd.  Technological system constraints and inflexible processes determined what was and was not possible with patient care.   When EMR and ERP system requirements have a majority vote in how we deliver services to patients, it’s time to innovate.    

Dr. Satterwhite’s message centered on alignment agility and change.  When health systems take healthcare into the communities where people live and work, supply chain has to integrate with and support the broader organizational strategy around innovation.  Traditional supply chain work processes will not suffice since the onsite care teams supporting the health needs of the auto dealership employees have different requirements.  Supply mobility matters.  Flexible IT infrastructure matters.  Unrestrictive contracts matter.  Payment models matter.   

For Wake Forest Baptist Health, the efforts that went into making the program work, paid off with fantastic results including a 22% decrease in ER visits compared to the previous year.  

Tom Muccio

For those who attended, you’ll remember that Tom is the former President of Proctor and Gamble’s Customer Teams.  Tom was one of the architects of P&G’s relationship with Wal-Mart where over a period of 30 years, P&G went from doing $350M in business with Wal Mart to over $15BN.  While a tremendous amount of effort went into creating this relationship, the genesis for it began when Sam Walton made the following statement to P&G executives: “If you thought of my stores as an extension of your company, we’d do business much more differently than we do today.”  Thus was borne the one company operating model where the walls between trading partners falls and true collaboration begins.

The idea, though, that received the most attention was the link between speed and trust: “Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust.”  This, in many ways, captures the essence of SMI’s purpose.  Lack of trust hinders agility and makes us less innovative than we need to be to address the systemic challenges in healthcare today.  Tom offered a way forward out of this persistent problem.

Executive Exchanges

The Executive Exchange sessions gave SMI members the opportunity to discuss directly with their peers’ questions that they have always wanted to ask of one another.  I’ll use a future blog to discuss some of the highlights from the discussion generated by these questions.  However, my takeaway from the feedback on these sessions is that the discussion in the rooms was rich, but the format and process should be improved upon.

For me, personally, this is one of the most crucial lessons from the Forum.  In the case of topics such as value-based purchasing and risk sharing, not enough examples exist to use as best practice.  Examples/best practice need to be created, and SMI breakout groups provide the venue for this level of problem-solving and collaboration to occur.  By developing and designing a more innovative process for these sessions, then we may drive towards more tangible and concrete outcomes. 

That is the magic of SMI and how it may continue to support innovative change in healthcare.  

As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

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