Duke Ranked in Top 5 Nationally for Healthcare Supply Chain

Innovations help improve patient care, as well as procurement of supplies

Delivery truck unloading

Duke has been named among the top 25 Healthcare Supply Chain organizations for 2019.

Duke was ranked 5th among 76 organizations selected and ranked by Gartner, a research and advisory company that has published the annual rankings the last 11 years to recognize companies that advance healthcare by improving patient outcomes and controlling costs. This is Duke’s highest ranking to date. It made the rankings the last three years, with a ranking of 10th last year.

The ranking is derived from quantitative measures that indicate financial health, performance and supply chain excellence and a qualitative assessment of supply chain leaders.

Jane Pleasants, vice president for Duke’s Procurement and Supply Chain, said that her team has taken some innovative approaches to improve the quality and cost of patient care. She said they are partners in the care redesign process and provide physician procedure cost information by linking data in the electronic medical record with purchasing information in SAP.

“We hired two supply chain medical directors who engage with other physicians and nurses  so we have better clinical integration of our supply chain,” she said. “These physicians help us look at potential variations in the use of implants and supplies  and advise on  strategies and approaches to address that variation while factoring in the impact on patient outcomes.

Gartner analyst Stephen Meyer said that leaders in the Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 are making changes in three areas: agility, strategy and digital.

“Duke differentiates itself in how to weave a clinically integrative supply chain into the fabric of patient care,” said a Gartner analyst in a webinar announcing the rankings. “Duke employs a supply chain chief medical officer responsible for helping guide that true north for the organization.”

Duke is also one of the few health systems that does not participate in a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO), which organizes contracts for multiple organizations to leverage better pricing, among other benefits. Pleasants said operating under the self-contracting model has given Duke greater flexibility for vendor choice while managing better pricing through individual agreements.  

For its annual rankings, Gartner considers hospitals and health system, as well as manufacturers and distributors, Pleasants said. For example, Johnson & Johnson and CVS Health were among two of the other top five organizations.  

“Being ranked fifth among this broader group is really special,” she said. “I’m just very proud of our amazing team and what they have accomplished together.”