Ten in 10 ahead


Last month, we highlighted 10 milestones from the last decade as Healthcare Purchasing News marked 40 years of service. This month we fast forward with 10 predictions about the next decade as HPN races toward its 50th year.

  • The group purchasing industry, which surfed a considerable consolidation wave during the last decade, hits some breakwaters in the coming decade, as the largest GPOs foresee greater valuation — in revenue, efficiencies and cost savings — by splintering into key specialties to foster and foment competition. With the market shifting to clinically motivated provider-driven shared services operations, these smaller specialty service organizations cater to data science, labor/workflow and supply/service demands.
  • Armed with legal protection, manufacturers will sign “immediate-use manufacturing” license agreements with providers that allow healthcare facilities to 3-D print a growing array of products on site. Clinicians will be able to produce a variety of implants on demand as a countermeasure to consignment and loaner programs. Bolstered by this progress, manufacturers cautiously expand the 3-D printscape to a variety of commodity items as a strategic solution to disaster-related shortages, and demand-driven backorders.
  • As reports of improperly reprocessed devices multiply, single-use device manufacturing enjoys growth extensions into higher-tech minimally invasive product categories, including single-use-only rigid and flexible endoscopes. Reprocessing SUDs for limited additional use generates heavy debate and discussion.
  • Because a majority of states will require SPD certification over the next decade, a nationwide accreditation and certification requirement surfaces, which is endorsed by a number of clinical and professional organizations. Further, the federal government will require certification of all reprocessing techniques for reusable products as part of granting marketing clearance for all new products and retroactively will phase in the same for previously cleared products over a five-year period.
  • Frustrated (and rightly so) by the slower pace of adoption and implementation of healthcare supply data standards for medical/surgical products versus pharmaceuticals, standards proponents make one last push. Noteworthy organizations succeeding with the federal Unique Device Identification requirements, along with links to electronic health records, push through the operational resistance just ahead of an anticipated CMS penalty for non-compliance. With universal data standards for healthcare products and services in place by the late 2020s, healthcare organizations undercover rafts of data inaccuracies and operational inefficiencies that will reshape education and training in the 2030s.
  • With automation, digital and electronic capabilities woven like fibrous tapestry throughout a number of the largest healthcare trade shows in the U.S., a horizontal integration movement emerges to create a confederated exhibition of clinical and medical science and technologies. This North American Healthcare OmniExhibition for diagnostic imaging, IT, med/surg, laboratory/pathology and oncology includes marketing and sales incentives to encourage cross-attendance and cross-exhibiting/sponsoring growth with an eye on patterning itself after Europe’s ginormous Medica show.
  • Supply Chain finally will be acknowledged and accepted as the largest expense category in a healthcare organization, encompassing both labor and non-labor costs, products and purchased services. Supply & Service Management enjoys departmental and professional title popularity for a while. Consequently, a data science-driven Supply & Service Management department (encompassing collection, analytics, visualization and virtualization) will propel its key executive leaders to C-suite importance, prominence and relevance.
  • Data science gains momentum in Infection Control and Prevention as clinical experts can become certified in surveillance techniques and clinical data analytics. This will motivate epigenetic modeling to reinforce patient and population health-based behavior modification, a controversial but more proactive and less reactive approach to infectious outbreaks.
  • Look for technology advances in air quality to reach new heights as breakthrough developments for filters, scrubbers and pulsed-light stationary and mobile devices emerge that are safe for human exposure even as they render bacteria, dust particles and other microorganisms inert and easy to remove via vacuum suction or blowers.
  • The plethora of personal and remote healthcare devices, including smart phone apps and wearables, hits a fever pitch as manufacturers take a cue from Hollywood’s sensor-bedecked motion/performance capture suits and release healthcare-specific models that can monitor vital signs, chronic conditions and physical therapy progress that can be uploaded to the EHR.



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