Enriching Your Vision: Why The Changing Healthcare Landscape Necessitates A Review Of Strategic Intent

By John Bisset Chief Executive Officer SA Biomedical

20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. There is no small measure of irony in the fact that not many people would have had much acuity in predicting the roll-out of the radically impactful event of the year 2020!

On the contrary, having 20/20 vision does not necessarily mean you have perfect vision.

This is a wide enough spectrum to justify enriching your business vision to consciously ensure it evolves to mirror the changing landscape. If vision is considered to be the compass by which you navigate your landscape and thus lead your business into the future, in times of a dramatically shifting landscape there is a strong argument for re-calibrating your compass.

At SA Biomedical we are seeking to enrich our vision from “delivering distinctive devices” to the vision of a group of healthcare businesses that “create sustainable social and organizational profit, endeavour to be a trusted partner and fulfill our promise of enhancing patient’s lives through improved surgical outcomes”.

Why the re-calibration? We aspire to leave little doubt in the minds of all of our customers, and key stakeholders, as to how our collective efforts will be deployed to achieve a common goal. Strategic intent is fundamental to competitiveness as it conveys where we as an organization wish to focus our efforts in delivering value to our markets (customers).

Our value proposition is perhaps better explained by focusing on the key tenets of our vision: sustainability, partnership, and surgical outcomes.

The issue of sustainability

Industry context is crucial. The South African private healthcare industry faces significant challenges. Impending regulatory and legislative changes in the South African medical device industry, somewhat ignited by emerging socio-economic pressures, have fundamentally shifted the needs of our customers. Macroeconomic conditions exert pressure on consumers (patients) as they balance escalating living costs by re-evaluating “grudge” purchases, such as health insurance. Transformative technological advances, surging consumerism, disruptive new entrants into the healthcare market and rising demand due to shifting population demographics are steering a New Health Economy (Health Research Institute, 2014). The emerging value-based, consumer-centric environment places greater emphasis on cost-effective, outcome-based solutions that enable healthcare professionals to treat an increasing number of patients whilst containing the overall costs of surgical procedures. It’s a vastly different contemporary healthcare landscape, elevating the need for sustainability to permeate the healthcare value chain.

Partnering with emphasis on trust

Pursuing joint opportunities between suppliers, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders to realize efficiencies through integrated care and healthcare delivery models have been reported as effective in reducing cost (Ferreira, 2018). Customer value will be enhanced by stakeholders who seek to augment their ability to treat patients efficiently through collaborative efforts to contain costs. Trust is earned, not demanded. By demonstrating our ability to assist our customers in achieving their goals, we hope to build true and lasting partnerships.

Delivering improved surgical outcomes and the quality imperative

Quality in healthcare is defined as “the degree to which health care services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge” (Institute of Medicine, 2001). The contemporary value-based environment places great emphasis on cost-effective, outcome-based solutions that allow for the treatment of an increasing number of patients whilst containing the overall costs of healthcare delivery (Porter & Lee, 2013). Customer needs are optimally attained by exhibiting efficiency and cost-effectiveness attributes, without compromising quality. Businesses that will emerge triumphant in a changing private healthcare landscape will be those who learned to effectively navigate a cost-conscious, price-sensitive market without sacrificing the quality or clinical efficacy of their offerings.

In conclusion, without directly hearing from the “voice of the customer”, making assumptions about customer needs could rapidly descend into a futile exercise. It will be interesting to ascertain how our customers envisage the role which the supply chain can play in meeting their needs. This purposeful engagement could well be the birth of an enriched and mutually beneficial partnership.