OC Reilly Blog: Caveat Emptor

By Ray Staudt, Executive Director, Business Development, OC Reilly Inc.


It holds just as true in healthcare as in any other industry.  The allure of the latest technology, the shiny promise of the newest toy, love at first sight.

Such products, introduced and deployed by early adopters, provide powerful marketing messages to physicians and patients.  But caveat emptor, everybody.  Let the buyer beware.  Pitfalls may ensue.

“Providers should adopt higher standards for investing in or paying for cutting-edge technologies,” warned Merrill Goozner, editor of Modern Healthcare magazine in a recent editorial.  “Advertising the availability of robotic surgery at the same time the medical literature is raising questions about its efficacy and safety isn’t just unseemly – it could be injurious to the bottom line. 

“It makes no economic or medical sense for hospitals on opposite sides of town to engage in a medical arms race around technologies of dubious value,” Goozner asserted.

He’s correct.  And here’s something else that makes little sense – wasting a healthcare system’s dollars on medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices by not carefully managing the purchasing and contractual process up front.

Goozner agreed, stating in the same editorial that “companies that develop next-generation pills and implants need to prove those products are better than what they seek to replace…and their prices need to reflect their actual medical value.”

Diligent supply chain management practices can help healthcare administrators make more informed decisions about their spending on new technologies and products that may, at first blush, look enormously attractive – but that may, in effect, morph into shiny, expensive economic millstones because they’re overpriced or unnecessary.

Caveat emptor.  Be smart.  Get an independent third-party perspective from a supply chain management expert before placing that potentially costly bet.

Let the buyer beware?  Sure.  But better yet, let the buyer be wary.

Copyright 2014 OC Reilly Inc.