Supply Chain Execs Increase Focus on Health IT and Patient Safety

Hospitals' financial and supply chain executives are placing a greater focus on healthcare IT and patient safety, according to a survey published in the Premier healthcare alliance's March 2011 Economic Outlook analysis.

Seventy-two percent of survey respondents, the majority of which were CFOs, supply chain executives and pharmacy directors, reported 2011 capital budgets remained flat or increased compared to 2010. Overall, 46 percent reported an increase in spending, while 28 percent of respondents suggested a decrease in capital budget expenditures.

A Premier analysis also revealed dramatic upticks in pricing for raw materials found in many healthcare products, including oil and cotton. The issue of globalization can also affect the quality of patient care. For example, China manufactures two-thirds of the world's aspirin and 70 percent of its penicillin and is poised to become the sole supplier within a few years.

"In the case of a global pandemic, we are concerned that the U.S. would not get the amount of supplies needed to support our demand," said Premier Purchasing Partners President Mike Alkire. "But we need to question whether the healthcare industry is actually promoting this type of behavior. We continually see suppliers dictating demand, rather than the other way around, and we have done little to change this dynamic."

Read other coverage about healthcare spending:

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