Speaking of Supply Chain

Reflections on my first ForumNancy Anderson
By Nancy Anderson, SMI

Wow!  It was my first Forum, and it really got me energized for the work we are doing together.  The speakers were inspiring, the content was fascinating, and the attendees were so engaged and committed to continuing our work to transform the healthcare supply chain.  Thanks to everyone who came and contributed – our wonderful speakers, the excellent planning team (with a special shout-out to Christine Dean of SMI who quarterbacked an outstanding conference), and all of our committed members. If you haven’t had a chance to share your feedback on the forum with us, please click here and complete the survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SMI2019FallForum. Your feedback is what makes our forum’s successful.

Our focus this fall was the Clinically Integrated Supply Chain, and our discussion revealed that while many of us see the migration toward a Clinically Integrated Supply Chain coming, we are, for the most part, still learning about it and figuring out how it might play out for our organizations.  We recognized that the rising “consumerization” of healthcare combined with the many technological changes we are facing are creating a rapidly changing landscape for all of us along the healthcare supply chain.

What did we learn? So much, including:

  • Platforms are the new way that business is done, and there are lots of new technologies ready to disrupt healthcare in a positive way moving healthcare out of traditional venues and into the hands of patients.  We all need to be ready to adopt these new tools and support new patient care models. It really puts a new spin on clinical integration when the patients are driving the care.SMI Fall Forum Panel
  • Our outstanding Physician panel told us that physicians want to be part of the supply chain conversation – how can we bring them information that helps them help us all improve the supply chain?  Discussion among Forum participants included the idea that Supply Chain IS a clinical function, and we need to change the conversation to drive this integration.
  • We had terrific discussion about Clinical Integration in action including:
    • Working with Surgeons and other staff in the OR to streamline surgical assets thereby reducing waste and cost
    • Pharmacy and supply chain partnerships using the talents and skills of both to “raise all boats”
    • Closer partnerships between suppliers and providers – including both clinical and supply chain staff - that allow supplier data to drive results for providers
  • We talked about new and innovative ways to improve patient outcomes while managing cost including:
    • Risk/Reward sharing agreements and how they can work to foster improved performance for suppliers and providers along with improved patient outcomes
    • How to address concerns about business continuity from the perspective of both improved product availability and minimal supply disruption due to external crises so we can assure our patients that their care delivery will not be interrupted for any reason
    • Current and emerging trends and concerns in Patient Safety that we all need to continue to address to ensure quality patient care

The importance of change management and effective communication were also strong themes throughout the Forum.  There was consensus that these two factors are critical to implementation of any innovative, transformational idea.  And as we lead change, there are many audiences we need to consider:

  • Supplier key stakeholders and experts
  • Provider supply chain up and down the organization
  • Clinical teams at all levels
  • Payors

SMI Working TogetherChange management and effective communication will be key factors in all SMI initiatives so we can achieve the kind of transformation we are aiming for.


Working together, we are a powerful team equipped with resources and talent to drive transformation across the whole healthcare supply chain.  You will be hearing from us over the coming weeks and months as we turn all of this wonderful discussion into action with support from initiative teams, the board, and all of our members and collaborators.  Thanks for your continued commitment to this important work.

As always, we welcome your thoughts, ideas, and comments. My new email address at SMI is [email protected]. Feel free to connect with me any time.

PLEASE mark your calendar for the next SMI Spring Forum:  May 18-20, 2020 in Orlando!  See you there!

As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

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