Getting Along: 3 Collaboration Strategies for Supply Chain & Clinical


Tue Mar 29 13:00:29 CDT 2016

It's no secret that supply chain managers and clinicians don't always see eye to eye. Both sides of the aisle feel the other has competing goals and objectives, which can make for tenuous working relationships and unproductive environments.


But improving the relationship between supply chain and clinical isn't as simple as telling stakeholders to play nicely in the sandbox. To make sure these departments truly work well together to produce the best possible decision outcomes – which are more important than ever – hospitals need to address the root of the conflicts.


These 3 strategies can help:


1. Set common goals, and focus on them. While cost has historically been pitted against quality of care, value-based care is combining the two into one goal. That should go a long way toward helping clinicians and supply chain managers find and set common goals, which is extremely important to positive collaboration. While some expectations and responsibilities will still differ for the two groups, focusing on the common goals should improve outcomes. 


2. Use fact-based decision-making. Require all parties that provide input on purchasing decisions to present hard data that supports their recommendations. For example, while a certain product may not save money in the short term, does it drive down total care costs through better performance? Using such data to drive discussions helps remove emotion and internal politics, allowing for more productive conversations. (Read our post on data-driven decision-making.)


3. Involve more departments. Greater supply chain efficiency can be achieved in other ways besides altering physician preference. Invite other departments to the table to find leaks and inefficiencies so that it's a system-wide effort to contain costs and improve care. Committees and incentives work well to gather the right intel. 


What collaboration strategies have worked in your organization? Please share in the comments field below!