By Justin Sowko, Director, Supply Chain and Special Projects, OC Reilly, Inc.

(Feb. 22, 2020)—Is there anything more frustrating than getting to the end of a complicated jigsaw puzzle, only to realize that there’s one piece missing? Or assembling one of those infernal do-it-yourself bookshelves, and being one bolt short?

For any project to reach its full completion, every part must be present and used in its proper way. The same principle holds true in health care management. If one piece – every bit as essential as any other – gets ignored, overlooked, or taken for granted too often, the organization suffers needlessly.

Of course, we mean the supply chain component.

A recent article appearing in Supply Chain Strategies & Solutions magazine reads, “Transforming our hospital culture to one that supports multidisciplinary, patient-centered collaboration is important and inevitable. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Shifting culture requires a sea change, and people don’t like change…practicing smart change management is the most instrumental step in the successful evolution, not only of hospital supply chain management, but of overall health system transformation.”

This requires multidisciplinary culture change. Clinical perspectives toward supply chain need to shift the same way as the internal supply chain culture, for the system as whole to function in a healthy, productive way. Departments thinking and acting in silos can be one of the toughest challenges.

The article continues, “Supply chain professionals have always made a difference in patient care. The more strategic we become, the more value we bring.”

Because change is risky and scary, it can too often slow making a full commitment to new thinking regarding supply chain operations. Even a minor hiccup gets labeled as an immediate threat to patient care, when in reality, it is a necessary step in building a strong support system to dramatically improve clinical staff’s ability to focus on patient care. A poor system almost always results in clinical taking more responsibility for supply support than they know how to handle. It doesn’t have to – and never should – be this way.

All of which really means: Don’t let supply chain become or remain the missing piece. It represents a core component in the overall efficient and orderly operation of any health care system, and needs to be recognized as such.

© 2021 OC Reilly, Inc.