"Disruptions, Innovations, Pioneers and Settlers" - Thoughts from the Fall IDN Summit

By Sophie Rutherford

What a pleasure, attending the 2015 Fall IDN Summit in Arizona this week. It was a week of transformative discussions about advancing the supply chain and organizational-wide strategies. There were 80 IDNS in attendance, and it was evident by the level of engagement that fundamental change is coming. The overarching theme of the event seemed to be “Disruptions.” Whether welcome or unwelcome, disruptions are poised to reshape the healthcare industry, resulting in productivity and innovation.

The Monday morning keynote session began with Aneesh Chopra, the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer. He stated “technology is propelling many of the changes in healthcare today and the Affordable Care Act is the most notable disruption affecting healthcare today.”

I attended the “Disruptive Innovation” track on Monday in which Scott Alexander, Vice President of Integrated Sourcing Solutions & Innovation for ROi, stated “Disruptive innovation is doing a set of tasks radically different” and added "In the healthcare supply chain, there are pioneers and settlers of innovation and change - pioneers accept the challenge to build the framework, settlers harness the change and implement into their own organization."

Tuesday afternoon, a panel of GPO executives from MedAssets, Novation, Intermountain/Amerinet and HealthTrust led a discussion around “disruptions from the marketplace.” Several of the executives noted:

  • Outpatient care will increase by 40%
  • By 2020 hospitals will slash operating expenses by 15-20% (mostly labor)
  • Marketplace disruptive events that have changed healthcare include:
    • ACA – affordable care act
    • Employer demands/consumer requirements
    • Price transparency
    • Retail oriented/consumer focus

A disruption is defined as a “disturbance or problem that interrupts an event, activity or process.” Some disruptions discussed were from Washington, while others were market disruptions, disruptive innovation and our own disruptions.

The “disruption” theme got me thinking about Jump Technologies, and what our disruptions are to the healthcare supply chain. Innovating is a key area of focus for supply chain executives today and has to be the priority for every major initiative. JumpTech solutions are disruptive technologies for supply chain that drive:

  • Cost containment and increased customer satisfaction
  • Supply chain executives to disrupt past business processes
  • The next generation supply chain model
  • Paramount dock-to-destination automation that will transform supply chain
  • Strategies to implement, trend, and sustain actualized expense reductions by understanding accurate supply utilization velocity

To further understand the potential to disrupt/affect the healthcare supply chain, I studied the 2015 IDN Summit Market research report. This report included 85 IDNs who responded to the survey. The summation of the survey, as it relates to supply chain technologies, was very perceptive;

  • Asked this year to rank four components from their greatest challenge to their least challenging, “gaining alignment with physician and/or clinical staff” was ranked highest, followed by the “ability to find cost savings to meet current year objectives”
  • A general observation noted “Technology appears to be the infrastructure component in most need of development"
  • One quarter of those responding (24.62 percent) said order demand and fulfillment is conducted at the departmental level with limited to no integration to MMIS or ERP systems. Technology is not in place to monitor transportation of items. 
  • One third of respondents (33.85 percent) reported order demand and fulfillment is centralized with moderate integration to MMIS and ERP systems. Handheld technology is in place to monitor real time transportation.
  • Four out of ten respondents (41.54 percent) report order demand and fulfillment is centralized with full integration to MMIS and ERP systems, with handheld technology used to monitor real time transportation.
  • On a positive note, 93.54 percent of respondents report C-suite buy-in attainment. Slightly more than half (58.06 percent) report support at C-suite is “beginning to recognize and support the strategic direction of the supply chain.”

For provider leaders, innovators and disruptors, expectations are higher than ever to find solutions to navigate a changing healthcare supply chain. Today, we have a duty to analyze and fully consider which disruptions will have the biggest impact on organizations. The supply chain is the engine that drives the healthcare system, constantly managing the ebb and flow of supply and demand and responding to the many disruptions that routinely create new challenges. So now the hard questions…Are you a pioneer or a settler? Are you ready to be an effective leader in the era of disruption? Are you ready to spin challenges into stories of innovation and transformation? I’m ready to help.