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Vendor Performance: More Than How Much You Spent

When asking healthcare leaders if they have a challenge managing their vendors, the best response I have heard is, “We have a few great rep partners, but there’s definitely some bad ones.” When I ask how they know, it’s mostly based on feelings. No measurement or ratings, just their general feeling. Why?

For a good rep, it’s frustrating to know that you’re only going to be measured by your last interaction with that facility and those people. Even more so when we know negative events are more memorable than the positive ones.

Value-based healthcare has had a significant impact in lowering costs, improving patient experience, and even driven innovation patient care. Surgeons and hospitals are continually measured ranked for the public. HCAHPS have ensured everyone in the hospital is aware they can impact patient experience.

The goal of these programs has been to measure healthcare performance on more than just the cost: Value = Outcomes/Cost. Measuring outcomes is challenging and continually debated. But the longer they continue, the more they improve because you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, vendors are still only measured by spend. GPOs, whose job is sourcing products to help their hospital clients gain efficiencies still haven’t tackled this. The only “vendor performance” metric hospitals can utilize is how much has been spent on the product.

For there to be better hospital and vendor partnerships we need to measure more. What tangible actions did they take to help the hospital run more efficiently? The only way to get improvement is to begin measuring something that matters.


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