For the fourth successive year, the “Who’s Who” of Australian Hospital Procurement gathered at the Menzies Hotel in Sydney for the National Hospital Procurement conference, to exchange updates and opinions over progressions in the practice over the last year.
Sessions focused on a number of key areas including outsourcing, tendering, supplier/purchaser relationship management, data warehousing, waste management and workforce skills. With the current economic environment being one of tightened budgets and increasingly ambitious targets, examples of innovation and strategic development took centre-stage within the conference discussion.
Day One’s speakers facilitated conversation around the theme of ‘Improving Business Models and Practices’. With Tom Truman of Health Purchasing Victoria emphasising the importance of enhancing staff capacity and capabilities (alongside increasing the profile and scalability of procurement), case studies led by Cabrini Health and Alfred Health followed a similar vein, emphasising the importance of clinician buy-in and change management to overcome resistance.
The issue of improving access to data, and specifically accurate data, was raised as a critical requirement for optimising processes, whilst the opportunities and risks associated with outsourcing services were debated in depth, to the conclusion that decisions to outsource need to be based on the specifics of the considered context.
Day Two of the event created discussion more specifically around ‘Implementing Operational and Supply Chain Efficiencies’, and brought together a varied combination of case studies alongside standards updates from nehta and GS1. A presentation from A/Prof Val Usatoff, Deputy Medical Director at Cabrini Health was a particular highlight, focusing on implemented measures that have maximised effective clinician engagement and thought-provoking debate around the meeting point of clinical and corporate governance.
Legal presentations were intertwined across the two-day program, giving attendees the opportunity to hear the latest updates around different contract, procurement and delivery models, procurement process risks and practical applications of probity.
Further highlights of the conference included the Procurement Manager Dinner on Day One, which enabled networking in a relaxed setting and the hands-on exhibition floor, which showcased a range of innovative solutions from a variety of providers.
As the conference came to its conclusion, it was evident that hospital procurement processes need to be highly strategic and involve a number of ongoing challenges, perhaps principally the mismatch between available resource and expectations. Saying this, case studies from across both private and public hospital settings highlighted some of the excellent initiatives that are already being implemented in a number of different areas across Australian hospital procurement practice.
We would like to thank our fantastic 2014 speaker faculty for dedicating a great deal of time and energy into putting together a varied and thought-provoking array of sessions.
Huge thanks also go to our exhibitors whose support of the event was invaluable: Healthcare Procurement Partners, BOC, Pfizer, ESG, Fresenius Kabi, CH2 Hospital, Maxxia, Orthopedic Appliances and Human Care.
Final thanks go to all of the event attendees whose active involvement across the two days heightened the opportunities for insightful debate and shared learnings.
We hope to see you again in 2015!