National Hospital Week 2022: Four reasons supply professionals are crucial for your hospital or health system success

Every year in May, we celebrate National Hospital Week. This allows an opportunity to highlight our hospitals, health systems, and healthcare workers and the innovative ways they are supporting the needs of their community members, especially through this pandemic. 

As part of National Hospital Week, it is also important to recognize supply chain professionals as part of that group of dedicated healthcare workers and the role they play in successful hospital operations. “It’s clear that now, more than ever, supply chain professionals play a critical role in supporting patient care,” said Robert Rajalingam, president of U.S. Medical Products and Distribution at Cardinal Health. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain professionals demonstrated resilience and determination to help ensure patients received the medical products they needed.” 

These professionals touch nearly every department of the hospital and act as the backbone of a well-functioning health system. With that in mind, here are four reasons that supply chain professionals play a crucial role in hospital success: 

  1. They wear more hats than their titles may suggest.

    The expression “Renaissance man” may bring Leonardo da Vinci to mind, but the men and women behind your supply chain operations must also demonstrate deep knowledge across a wide range of functions. In addition to their daily efforts to ensure that hospital staff has the products necessary for high-quality patient care, these leaders may also take on the characteristics of a “team anchor,” “resiliency rock,” “trailblazer,” “datamaster maestro” or “integration influencer.” Whether they’re leveraging state-of-the-art analytics technology to transform data points into actionable improvements or coordinating with other leaders to generate momentum for positive change, their multi-faceted work experience allows them to see potential problems in the supply chain from a variety of viewpoints.

  2. They are the connective tissue of your entire health system.

    Supply chain leaders have the unique opportunity to support every area of your hospital and must therefore have a deep understanding of each departments’ needs. Though their work spans an ever-widening continuum of care, they unite manufacturers, suppliers, and clinicians through the common goal of improved patient outcomes at the lowest possible cost. In a time when hospitals and health systems are driven to do more with less, they collaborate with a variety of stakeholders including nurses, physicians, and hospital executives to bring sound reasoning and diversity of perspective into every decision they make.

  3. In a high-pressure environment, they adapt quickly and professionally.

    In the complex and ever-changing world of healthcare, supply chain leaders must navigate a high-stakes atmosphere that impacts patient care. This includes helping shift the delivery of care to other settings within an expanding health system ecosystem. According to a 2021 Cardinal Health survey,1  more than 90 percent of health system c-suite leaders hold supply chain leaders at least "somewhat" accountable for being able to increase the delivery of care in non-hospital settings. Whether it’s tracking down critical supplies or helping with the shift to evolving care settings, supply chain leaders are facing increased pressure and taking on additional responsibilities.
  4. The hard work that goes into an effective supply chain often takes place behind the scenes.

    Despite the fact that supply chain leaders play an integral role in optimizing patient care, their efforts may not be immediately visible. In fact, a supply chain at peak performance should appear to function effortlessly, automatically, and seamlessly. Because these leaders rarely seek the spotlight for their crucial contributions, it’s up to their colleagues to demonstrate that their actions have not gone unnoticed. 

In the spirit of National Hospital week, we invite you to take a moment to celebrate your supply chain colleagues for their often-unrecognized efforts. They support patient safety and make more efficient, seamless care a reality. 

For supply chain insights, visit our supply chain center.



1 About the Cardinal Health “Evolving delivery of patient care and implications for health system supply chains” survey

The survey was conducted in the first quarter of 2021 — 100 healthcare organization executives participated, including both c-suite and supply chain leaders. Among respondents, 50 percent were from health systems, with 29 percent from nonacademic health systems and 21 percent from academic health systems. The other 50 percent of respondents were mainly executives at hospitals, with 16 percent from critical access hospitals, 12 percent from short-term acute care hospitals, and 7 percent from children's hospitals. The remaining respondents came from a variety of other organizations, including Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs).

All survey data on file at Cardinal Health.

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