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To say that healthcare is rapidly and continuously changing feels cliché at times — until, that is, you step foot in a hospital or health system and see firsthand the tectonic shifts that business and clinical leaders, together, are making happen to transform to value-based care and population health models.

This was also evident this past summer at AHRMM19 in San Diego, where healthcare supply chain leaders shared stories of best practices related to cost, quality and outcomes (CQO) that are changing not only hospital operations but also hospital culture. We couldn’t help but reflect on these as we approach the end of the calendar year and think about short- and long-term planning. Here are few key messages that stood out to us — many of which boiled down to the importance of collaboration, communication, transparency and accuracy, and, ultimately, trust in weathering change and being successful.

Accurate supply cost data, plus better communication, are changing physician behaviors.

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Amid the transition to value-based care and population health, hospitals and health systems are focused on driving down the total cost of care across their organizations, and responsibility does not lie solely with supply chain leaders anymore. Multidisciplinary teams involving physicians, nurses and frontline clinical staff are working with supply chain, finance and IT who, together, are owning the process of managing cost and utilization, particularly in the OR and specialty procedural areas. In some health systems, physicians and nurses have even officially taken on the role of supply chain leader.

Engaging physicians and changing their mindset and behaviors requires more than simply bringing them to the table. Those that have been successful, such as Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville and Scripps Health in La Jolla, Calif., emphasized at ARHMM the importance of understanding the physician’s perspective (that is, taking a patient-centered care approach to reducing the total cost of care) and knowing how to communicate with them (that is, gathering and maintaining current and relevant data that’s accurate and believable).

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More than ever, buyers want to hear about quality and outcomes in a conversation about cost.

Value proposition has become ever more important to buyers in making purchasing decisions amid the CQO movement. Products must at once address the new reality of lowering cost, maintaining quality and improving outcomes. What’s more, the relationship between buyers and sellers is changing under CQO. As Dennis Orthman, partner and vice president of Access Strategies Partners Inc., put it: “We’ve moved beyond finance and bean counters and box kickers to the point where we can contribute much better to organizations than we have in the past.”

Fostering a culture of change relies on openness.

Organizations looking to foster a culture of change and, with that, the need to take risks, need to embrace openness to reap the eventual rewards. Andy Hamilton, executive director of Supply Chain at MultiCare Health System in Tacoma, Wash., was one of three U.S. health system supply chain leaders who shared his experiences creating a culture of change. He attributes MultiCare’s successful integration of another health system to communication and, most importantly, collaboration. As he put it, “There are things you can learn from the new group coming in.”

To learn more about what Suture Express may be able to do for you, visit us at or call 877-790-1873.

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