Home' The Source : Third Quarter 2012 Contents standards of patient care. The experience and input we've received
from those member leaders has really strengthened our business
o erings as well as the results we've been able to deliver to our cus-
tomers." (See sidebar on page 32 for a list of board members.)
Advisory Boards Key to Our Foundation
HealthTrust was not alone in the GPO space in 1999; the industry
already existed. However, from the beginning Fitzgerald insisted
that one of HealthTrust's founding principles would be member
participation in Advisory Boards. Not only was that decision
industry-di erentiating, Fitzgerald believes it can be recognized
as one of the most important factors contributing to the organiza-
tion's long-running success.
"Guided by our mission of 'putting patients first,' I didn't know
any other way to accomplish that goal than to involve end-users in
the vendor evaluation and product selection process," Fitzgerald
says. "And, I was very fortunate to have Shelly Workman agree
to accept the role of chief clinical o cer with the responsibility
of building our advisory board process." (Workman is now senior
vice president of Parallon Supply Chain Solutions.)
Strategically Building a Team
Through a lot of hard work and untold hours, Fitzgerald says that
a strong business foundation was established within the first year of
operation. While his team now numbers a little more than 300 col-
leagues, the early days began with just 30 dedicated sta .
"We valued the diversity of experience that was needed to build
a strong and sustainable business," Fitzgerald says. "We pulled in
key leaders with strengths in various disciplines---clinical, finan-
cial, supply chain, contract administration and legal---establishing
clearly defined roles and responsibilities and stressing the need to
work as a team to be successful versus working in silos.
"From day one, we stressed the philosophy that the patient had
to be first, and we were completely dedicated to improving the
financial operations of our customers."
Looking back at hurdles the business has had to overcome,
Fitzgerald first points to the challenge inherent in the healthy
conflict between providers and the supplier community.
"On both sides of the aisle you've got a strong motive to do
what's in the best interest of the organizations in which people
serve, yet those objectives are not compatible," he says. "While it's
a healthy dynamic, we [HealthTrust] are always having to push
for financial value and savings for our provider customers, while
vendors are compelled to do what is expected by their sharehold-
ers. I'm proud that we've done things the right way in that we
respect our supplier partners, and we've created a fair and open
process where any supplier who meets our end-user established
quality criteria can participate in the process."
A second challenge relates to one of the organization's other
founding principles---that of forming a committed model. Fitzgerald
says they've learned---and have demonstrated and measured over
time---that when you go to the vendor marketplace with commit-
ted volume, and because the community knows HealthTrust can
move market share, that it translates to a significant di erence in
"While that philosophy is intuitive and easy to understand, as
we've grown over time, the human dynamic as well as other fac-
tors have often made it di cult to get people to align and follow
through on their compliance and commitment to the contracts,"
he says. "To that end, we've put a lot of time and e ort into com-
munication about the model and sharing its benefits. We've spent
time listening to what the barriers are to using non-contracted
versus contracted suppliers. We've done our best to resolve those
conflicts and continue to achieve the highest delivery of compli-
ance in the industry, protecting health-care providers by delivering
sustainable financial results."
Fitzgerald certainly credits the expertise of the contracting team
under the leadership of Ed Jones (as chief operating o cer) and
David Welch (senior vice president of Strategic Sourcing), but says
the real credit goes to the leadership and supply chain profession-
als in all of the providers that HealthTrust represents---they do the
heavy lifting at their facilities to support a truly committed model.
"These providers have delivered on the promise of compliance---not
100 percent, but as a combined organization over time, HealthTrust
far exceeds what the industry has been able to deliver," he adds.
"I APPRECIATE THE
HELPED US BUILD THIS
BUSINESS AND THE
WITH THE SUPPLIER
ALWAYS TRIED TO
DO THE RIGHT THING
continued on page 36
continued from page 32
34 The Source | Third Quarter 2012
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