On March 2nd, Advantus Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jimmy Chung spoke at GreenLight Medical’s Hospital Value Analysis Town Hall. Dr. Chung spoke with other panelists Nic Joubert, Brian Holmes, and Seth Johnson.
Dr. Chung discussed the forced evolution of supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic and taking advantage of this new spotlight as we look to the future of clinical integration.
In what ways have the relationships between physicians, value analysis teams, and suppliers changed over the last two years?
The supply chain during COVID obviously was very challenged, due to not just actual shortages, but also irrational purchasing that led to shortages and also logistical challenges because of labor and so forth. Traditionally, physicians were asked or invited to value analysis processes or supply chain initiatives to get their opinion, to get their guidance in terms of what’s clinically valid, and so forth. The major thing that changed over the last few years was that the hospital organizations that were dealing with these significant shortages in particular PPE, but other products as well, couldn’t just simply distribute the short supply of PPE just to whoever they wanted. They needed to have physicians step up, and physicians have never been involved in the supply chain of masks and gowns, at least not in a significant way. So physicians actually had to do a lot of analytics.
So, what are some of the best practices for developing a collaborative and clinically integrated supply chain within the Cost, Quality, Outcomes (CQO) movement?
I think we have to start thinking about supply chain as a whole in terms of what is its purpose and what is it that we’re trying to achieve. Supply chain really turns out to be an extremely important strategic focus for any healthcare organization and within even a community that relies on hospitals and hospital organizations. And so, what we really want to achieve is the best value for a, what we would define as the ultimate customer, and to me, the ultimate customer is the patient. People mostly would agree that the patient is the most important customer. But there are other customers along the way. A lot of us in value analysis also see physicians and clinicians and possibly our hospitals as customers. I would like to see them as collaborative partners towards who we think are the ultimate customers. But patients are, while they are the people that we serve and that we care for, they also are consumers and customers of our service and they deserve excellent customer service. We have to understand what do customers want. They want safety, they want reliability.
When you’re looking at some of your key initiatives for 2022, how does that change how you’re looking at selecting new medical tech in order to help prioritize clinical transformation?
I think 2022 is just like every other year in terms of looking at new technologies. For most hospital organizations, the initiatives are prioritized based on what has the greatest opportunity, because a lot of hospitals these days are struggling financially and they’re trying to budget so they look for the maybe not the lowest hanging fruit but possibly the largest fruit. From a value analysis standpoint, we may consider initiatives that are most likely to have the clinician’s support. We’ve actually held back several initiatives because we knew that a lot of physicians were really fatigued from COVID and having to work overtime and not being able to do surgeries for a while and it’s very frustrating for them. So, you have to take all those things into consideration, especially this year. We’re looking at the same things lots of other organizations are looking at: the high-cost items, implants, but also the ones that we think are going to be the most successful so that we can get the buy-in from the physician.