Speaking of Supply Chain

Go speak to a clinician…while they want to talk!
Li Ern Chen
By Li Ern Chen, MD

Everyone is still talking about it. More than half a year has gone by and it still controls our lives – how we buy and sell, work and play, teach and learn. It’s challenged our thinking, our perspective, our assumptions and our priorities. Everything is different now and that makes us uncomfortable. Worse…we don’t know when it will end. Sometimes, we just don’t want to talk about it.

But we do still really love to talk about it!

So, let’s make the most of it! COVID-19 has reinforced the bridge between supply chain and the clinical world. While the relationship between supply chain and clinicians varies widely across our country, I would venture to say that regardless of how clinically integrated your supply chain was before the pandemic, you and your clinicians have a stronger and more relevant relationship today.

Is that good enough? Or should we capitalize on this momentum and solidify our partnership?

We have encountered, and the media has certainly broadcasted, the fear, anxiety and frustration that clinicians have felt, particularly in the early days of the pandemic. In many instances, these feelings were related to a shortage of personal protective equipment, making their reaction to supply chain so negative and so strong. You may not like the negative portrayal of supply chain, but remember that before COVID-19, supply chain wasn’t in the consciousness of many clinicians. Now they know who we are and what we do!

As we recover from a challenging summer and plan for a potentially difficult cold weather season, now is the time to further strengthen the relationship with clinicians. Understanding clinicians’ insights and concerns will help us serve them this winter and on into the future. And with their heightened awareness of the importance of supply chain, we have a unique opportunity to forge new, more productive connections. So, throw caution to the wind and approach your clinicians. Try one of these conversation starters:

  • How have you changed the way you take care of patients?
  • What has been the worst part of the pandemic for you?
  • Have you developed any efficiencies because of the pandemic?
  • What have you learned about healthcare in the last 6 months?
  • How can supply chain support you over these next 6 months?

Clinicians will share valuable insights, improving our understanding of how frontline teams think and feel. The clinician-patient interaction is the unit upon which our industry is built. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the enormous role that supply chain plays in this interaction. There’s no time like the present to make relationships with clinicians stronger and more constructive and discover new ways for supply chain to enhance care delivery. Go speak to a clinician…while they want to talk!

As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

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