Vendors & Hospitals: Time for a Fresh Start


Despite the common goal of delivering value for their surgeon and the patient, the relationship between hospitals and vendors can be fragile and sometimes even contemptuous. This happens when their methods for “delivering” are at odds with one another. The results of this divergence can be expensive and can undermine their shared goal.


To mend this relationship, it’s important that both sides objectively consider the other’s challenges. In doing so, we notice that complaints from both sides usually boil down to three common themes:


1. Poor coordination and communication

2. Policy and procedure variance and enforcement

3. Contracting adherence and payment


Many times, solutions imposed by either side aiming to resolve one or more of these can quickly end up causing more challenges. For example, a hospital implementing a policy for trays to be delivered 48 hours before surgery makes sense. But, when vendors try to accommodate a late request from the surgeon, they find themselves in violation and ultimately put SPD in a tricky spot when told the surgeon needs it.


Ultimately, vendors provide some value that cannot be replicated by the hospital. Otherwise, “repless” models would be far more prevalent. With COVID’s impact to the ~$200 billion elective procedure market, it’s critical for hospitals and vendors alike, make up for lost time/money.


This should be a flashpoint in the evolution of how hospitals and device vendors partner. It’s long overdue. Understanding each other’s challenges opens the door to better conversations as to how we can partner to overcome them.


I look forward to presenting these perspectives and discussing solutions. What are some issues you experience from either perspective that you would like discussed?