That sentiment was front and center at the recent Association for Healthcare Resource and Materials Management conference in San Diego. AHRMM, which is part of the American Hospital Association, represents healthcare supply chain professionals.
"The healthcare landscape is changing even more rapidly than it did in the past," Christopher O'Connor, president of GNYHA Services and AHRMM's chair-elect, said during the opening session.
As hospitals deal with reimbursement cuts and other financial pressures, there has been a greater need to reduce how much healthcare providers spend on medical supplies and other services and equipment that often are handled by supply chain departments.
In addition to efforts that seek to reduce prices, hospital supply chain executives increasingly are addressing product utilization and standardization, as well as whether less expensive supplies are, in fact, clinically better and contribute to a reduction in overall costs.
AHRMM recently launched a new initiative that aims to boost attention to the intersection of cost, quality and outcomes, which was a common thread for many of the conference's speakers.
While some hospital executives say that the relationship between supply chain leaders and physicians has improved, many of those relationships remain tense, especially as more physicians have become employed by hospitals and health systems.
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