I look after the procurement process with our contractors and take care of any agreement updates. When our contracts are in place and are followed correctly, our service providers can deliver better care.
When everything runs smoothly, it means that patients get the equipment and medications they need when they need it. When something goes wrong, it can have a huge impact on both patients and service providers. It’s never something we take lightly. For a patient that relies on a wheelchair or a hospital bed you can’t just say, “Oh well, you didn’t get your equipment today. You’ll get it tomorrow.”
Hearing patient stories humanize the situation. These patients depend on us. It’s not like getting a delivery late from Amazon. If something goes wrong, it’s all hands on deck and our team works really well together to fix any issues for the patient as quickly as possible.
Keeping our service providers accountable is how my team puts our patients first. We ensure our service providers and suppliers are meeting the obligations of the contracts. We work collaboratively with them and other internal teams brainstorm ideas to improve service or work through issues. Our goal is for all service providers and suppliers to meet or exceed our performance standards. It’s how we support the patients and help them get the care they need when they need it.
We work to maintain an open dialogue with our service providers and suppliers so we can work through any issues together. We’d rather have regular and open conversations and get ahead of a potential problem than rely on difficult and awkward confrontations when it’s too late.
It’s important that our vendors are comfortable enough to be open with us as they encounter problems. I remember a patient that was being discharged from the hospital. The patient was bed bound and needed a hospital bed delivered before they could be sent home. The vendor had been struggling with staffing issues and was unable to complete the delivery, forcing the patient to wait on a stretcher until the hospital bed arrived at their home. They were afraid that revealing this information would jeopardize their relationship with us. In fact, the opposite was true.
If we know there’s a problem, we can react. Although the patient wanted to be at home, it’s better to be upfront with the patient and delay their discharge by a few hours or a day. It would be frustrating, but less frustrating than having to return to the hospital or wait on a stretcher until the bed arrives. That makes for a terrible patient experience.
With that particular vendor, we created a working group to confront the issues and come up with solutions so that we could avoid any similar situation in the future. Information is vital and communication is everything. If we can’t communicate properly, patients lose their faith in us.
I really appreciate being part of an organization that not only values but also expects continuous improvement in all areas of the organization. I’ve been part of organizations where there is a lot of talk about making improvements but no follow through. I see that the WWLHIN listens to new ideas, and there’s a willingness to take chances and make changes when it makes sense.
I like having the opportunity to work on different projects where we pilot new ideas with our service providers, trying new ways of servicing patients. I believe we’ve improved the lives of our patients and probably the work lives of employees because of improvements that have been made. It’s fantastic if it makes everyone’s life easier.