UChicago Medicine’s Supply Chain team reflects on current events, cultural issues, and clinical strategies

July 24, 2023

The Supply Chain & Support Services team at UChicago Medicine recognizes the key clinical and cultural issues of the day – particularly as they impact healthcare delivery as well as supply chain performance. Team leaders and specialists reflect on how they address current issues resonating in their marketplace.

On defining resiliency and refocusing demand planning against the backdrop of the receding pandemic:

“Resiliency is a continual process of monitoring, assessing, and reacting to risk. In the best cases, we have a plan before a product is at risk. In the worst cases, it’s being able to act quickly to mitigate the impact of the disruption. Throughout the pandemic, this has transformed to using technology more effectively to be able to better prepare and respond. It has also driven us to challenge our supplier partners to provide more proactive information around disruptions, supply availability, and alternative products.”

  • Michelle Kosovec, Senior Manager, Supply Chain Process Transformation 

On blending data, methodologies and technologies in a customer-focused/oriented process to measure and strive for optimal service levels and meaningful outcomes:

“I think the initial framework/foundation is centrally driven. Once in place, you work to get everyone continuously educated and onboard to execute, but also allow people to be creative within the boundaries/standards, so we could provide a consistently high level of service and efficiency, and needed level of innovation that pushes the department forward.”

Atanas Ilchev, System Director, Supply Chain Operations & Logistics 

On defining “clinically integrated supply chain:”

“A clinically integrated supply chain at our organization is one in which all supply chain decisions are incorporating stakeholder (clinicians, administrators, finance, patient experience, safety) data with the goal of delivering the highest quality and best outcome care for our patients across the continuum of care. This ensures that decisions are evidence-based and patient-focused, which will result in the most efficient and equitable care while optimizing value for our organization. Our venue for achieving this is our Value Analysis structure, which encompassed all clinical areas of care.”

  • Ian O’Malley, Director, Strategic Sourcing Clinical 

On supporting and participating in sustainability initiatives?

“The Supply Chain team have been strong champions of the hospital’s green team, Team EAR³TH, since it was reinvigorated in 2019, with [Eric Tritch] our Vice President of Supply Chain and Support Services as the Executive Sponsor, a [Process Transformation] team member as a Co-Chair and Supply Chain employees across multiple teams participating as members. Team EAR³TH is a partner of Practice Greenhealth (PGH), and Supply Chain team members have been key in the data collection for the PGH awards, which are used to measure how the hospital is doing on sustainability. We are starting to incorporate sustainability into Supply Chain further. For example, we have begun to educate our Sourcing team on incorporating sustainability into their total cost of ownership, and the PT team has been working to identify how existing projects impact sustainability, and propose future projects with a sustainability focus.”

  • Denise Hoge, Senior Process Transformation Specialist 

On what Supply Chain doing in the area of DEI – diversity, equity and inclusion:

“DEI is something we pride ourselves in at UCM through all aspects of our work, including how we embed Equity & Diversity into how we hire and build our teams, and for how our suppliers hire and build their teams and investing in the communities that we serve. We have a leading program in the construction space led by Joan Archie, our Executive Director of Business Diversity and Compliance, that has driven significant business and job growth with diverse firms in the communities that we serve. We have been expanding our focus to more purchased services areas, and continue to drive our suppliers around Tier 1 and Tier 2 Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) spend growth and targeted investments.”

  • Osvaldo Torres, Director, Strategic Sourcing Non-Clinical 

On how they would advise other organizations that may want to adopt and implement elements of their model:

“It can be frustrating or challenging as there will always be somebody bigger out there who seems like they have more tools and resources at their disposal. However, there are lot of low-cost tools and great partners to use to develop a strong ROI. When our program started, we really had no supply chain to speak of. We started with a few key hires and got some wins and really communicated those and celebrated them and built off those wins to gain momentum. Building a strong track record of results and good customer service sets you up with leadership to support your next request. I have a quote hanging in my office by Arthur Ashe that says, ‘Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.’”

Eric Tritch, Vice President, Supply Chain & Support Services

Photo 51538846 © Ayse Ezgi Icmeli | Dreamstime.com
213508042 © BiancoBlue | Dreamstime.com
101142831 © Elnur | Dreamstime.com, 188520785 © Ratz Attila | Dreamstime.com, 252813850 © Kiryl Lis | stock.adobe.com