Healthcare's Cottage Supply Chain Needs a Makeover

Mike Alkire, for HealthLeaders Media , August 19, 2011

This is the healthcare industry's deodorant box moment. But we can't afford to stop with a preemie positioner. We need to engage more physicians in this process and spread this innovation so that many more products designed and produced in this new, collaborative manner, using clinical evidence to create products that deliver better outcomes.

Some may say this puts a damper on the manufacturers' ability to innovate, but nothing could be further from the truth. In marrying clinical information that once was walled off in the hospital with best-in-class manufacturing techniques, it's possible to create more innovative products that are meeting real demands.

This is the future for our supply chain. It is not based on protecting each individual actor's piece of the pie or on building walls to keep us separate, but on breaking down those walls and sharing to achieve mutually beneficial success. Like Cincinnati Children's, we have to move farther up our supply chain, find the best ideas, learn how to make them reality and then scale them to reach providers across the nation.

These ideas aren't revolutionary. In fact, they're incredibly simple. But what they achieve is revolutionary.

Mike Alkire is the Chief Operating Officer of the Premier Healthcare Alliance. He may be reached at

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