HIDA Thought Leaders Examine Distribution’s Value

February 2017

Prime Vendor: Getting the Most from Your Most Important Supplier

By Jeff Girardi
HIDA Director of Industry Affairs

I had the opportunity to participate in a recent event where a group of HIDA Thought Leaders met to evaluate the function of medical products distribution and determine its role in healthcare today. These manufacturer and distributor executives examined three core value propositions to see what’s changed and how distribution’s value is evolving:

  • Patient care – Distribution frees healthcare providers from procurement tasks so they can focus on patient care.
  • Cost management – Distributors improve procurement planning and help providers realize cost savings.
  • Efficient access – Distributors increase efficiency by assisting medical facilities with time-consuming steps in the procurement process.

In many ways, these fundamentals remain the same. Regardless of how medical products get purchased, someone has to transport them from point A to the patient. Since healthcare providers and clinicians need to spend more time than ever focusing on patient care, distributors are highly capable to serve a valuable role by managing everyday procurement tasks and logistics.

Managing costs continues to be a top priority for nearly every business, regardless of industry. What’s changed for health systems, however, is that these organizations must now be looking for broader ways to manage their overall patient population costs rather than simply scrutinizing medical product costs. Providers can still enhance their bottom lines by leveraging distributor resources to assist in creating environments that improve overall patient experience, most recently outlined in HIDA’s patient satisfaction research.

Distributors are already starting to see their customer relationships evolve rapidly into more consultative interactions beyond order management. By using vital product outcomes data, for example, distributors can help providers make better-informed PPI decisions and get the most return for every dollar spent on supplies. And distributors continue to deliver new technologies that accelerate the adoption of innovative business solutions, leading to better patient outcomes and increased efficiency gains throughout the healthcare products supply chain.

Noteworthy Results

Another noteworthy result from the meeting was the group’s recognition that these distribution value propositions don’t simply apply downstream to healthcare providers, but also upstream to medical product manufacturers, putting distributors squarely in the center of healthcare supply chain solutions. It takes a lot of effort and expertise to ensure consistent product availability and smooth delivery throughout the continuum of care, and distributors are well positioned to continue serving this need for their customers and trading partners.

Overall, the meeting reaffirmed that distribution is more valuable than ever as providers and manufacturers seek to optimize healthcare delivery. Its core functions of maximizing patient outcomes, reducing the total cost of care, and improving patient experience cannot be ignored or understated.

From: http://www.jhconline.com/hida-thought-leaders-examine-distributions-value.html