SKU’d Personal CSCOs?
Back in the mid-summer a Bloomberg article postulated in a headline “Best Buy should be dead, but it’s thriving in the age of Amazon.”
Just how has Best Buy outlasted all of its long-departed competitors of yore? Bloomberg points to the retailer’s “Geek Squad” as the roots of something interesting and quite extraordinary. Many know that the Geek Squad is akin to the big-box retailer’s Justice League for device and
equipment repairs and installation.
But Best Buy is training a new group of retailing heroes that aren’t supposed to act like or serve as salespersons, but more like consultants. They’re being referred to as “in-home advisors” functioning as “personal chief technology offi cers” to make sure your home is equipped with the right appliance, security, sound and visual tech – even promoting Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod and Google Home. These in-home advisors would profi le their customers, taking cues from how they talk, what they do and what interests them based on their décor and surroundings. In a way, they’re more like a retail valet, crossed with a mentor, minder and maybe an old friend who has all of your Best (Buy) interests in mind. I’m reminded of the Rocket Mortgage commercial where earnest customers are befuddled by all the fi nancial, legal and real estate mumbo jumbo until the Rocket Mortgage guy conveniently appears to translate abstruse dialogue into plain English. Imagine if this concept could be adapted for/adopted by healthcare as the industry embraces continuum-of-care and population health concepts and pushes for patient engagement and satisfaction under a “consumer-directed” remodeling. To date in healthcare, perhaps the “hospitalist” comes closest to serving as a pa- tient’s personal concierge in a way. But that role is limited to the hospital and not to the entire care continuum that theoretically starts prior to pre-admission planning and extends through the post-discharge evaluation period during the wee ends of home-based recovery. At the annual AHRMM conference in Chicago in mid-August, Jimmy Chung, M.D., Associate Vice President, Perioperative Services, Providence St. Joseph Health, (and 2016 P.U.R.E. award winner and new Healthcare Purchasing News editorial advisory board member!) advocated for the “Medical Home” concept that sidles fairly close to this retail consulting model.
Of course, a retailer like Best Buy can provide “personal CTOs” because product and service sales, as well as investors and stock market gains can offset the labor costs, which include training and benefi ts. Hospitals, specifi cally, not-for-profi t facilities, likely would face insurmountable challenges offering patients access to “personal Chief Medical Offi cers” or “personal Chief Nursing Offi cers” who can navigate them through the continuum of care and negotiate for anything on their behalf. But what if Supply Chain could offer “personal Chief Supply Chain Offi cers” not only to their clinical customers within healthcare organizations, but also to patients prior to entering the hospital as well as post-discharge? Essentially, the patient’s personal CSCO would help them plan and negotiate for non-acute care and home health products and services on the back-end as well as prepare them pre-admission on what to expect to be consumed or used on them throughout the clinical and surgical processes.
Instead of a “smart shopper” the patient could rely on a “smart sourcer” that can wade through much of the obfuscation in the billing process. Some might argue that in a consumer-directed healthcare model, the patient can do that on his or her own via access to the internet. Yet what’s missing in that internet access is the one ingredient likely to aid in the overall healing process — human connections and physical contact. And this “personal CSCO” concept may be just the opportunity for those supply chain professionals looking for new, fulfi lling or even any work.
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4 October 2018 • HEALTHCARE PURCHASING NEWS • hpnonline.com
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