Healthcare Supply Chain Reaches Master [Level Ranking]

When we move initiatives forward, we do so with the dedication and commitment to improve value.

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Annual Gartner Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 list recognizes Intermountain Healthcare for initiatives to provide highest quality products and services at the lowest possible cost.

Intermountain Healthcare has reached a “Masters” designation in the annual Gartner Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 list. The Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 ranking and designation, recognizes manufacturers, providers, distributors and retailers from across healthcare that demonstrate leadership in improving human life at sustainable costs. After being ranked in the top five over the past seven years, Intermountain is recognized in Gartner’s new Master classification, an additional dimension of achievement. Gartner is a national business consulting company who has issued the ranking the past ten years.

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Intermountain earned the Master level based on sustained supply chain performance over a period of time. Intermountain was ranked #1 on the Gartner list in 2016 and 2017 and #3 the two prior years. Intermountain’s strong bond rating, its supply chain organization’s initiatives to improve value and lower healthcare costs, the health system’s comprehensive approach to serve the patient, and innovative problem solving are among the factors to achieve the newly created title.

“Our supply chain team does an outstanding job to ensure we’re using the highest quality products and services at the lowest possible cost,” said Marc Harrison, MD, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare. “This team continually raises the bar in quality and affordability and demonstrates—year upon year—their commitment to making a difference for those we serve. We are honored to be on this prestigious list as a Master.”

John Wright, vice president of Supply Chain and Support Services for Intermountain, adds, “This is a humbling experience to now be ranked as a Master and a designation which I’m very appreciative. Intermountain Supply Chain leaders before me staged us for this honor long ago and I’m proud to have led us the past year to continue our work forward. Recognition of this type validates our passion and conviction within the supply chain to make a difference for our patients. I know that when we move initiatives forward, we do so with the dedication and commitment to improve value.”

 

If You Haven’t Heard Yet, Quality Management Is [Your Best Bet] to Grow

The business may be a century old or it may have started out recently. Quality is thus inherent into the company’s product lifecycle and has to be ensured throughout the existence of the product and the business.

What are the parameters that set organizations on the growth path? Is it the market size? Is it the people? Is it the system or the technology? While all these are crucial components for an organization, the underlying element in all these is Quality Management. Quality Management is that one core ingredient that steers organization through its business and ensures its growth. If you haven’t heard yet, Quality Management is your best bet to grow.

How? Simple: there is no substitute for quality when it comes to the organization’s ability to deliver. Quality is the soul of a business. Quality is at the root of an organization’s performance. Without quality products or services, the organization loses its reputation in the market. A business that loses its name loses everything.

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Cannot assure quality? Be prepared to lose customers

These consequences of not having quality products or services are understandable because when customers feel that their quality expectations are not being met, they switch over their loyalties at the snap of a finger. This departure of the customer base can happen at any time. The business may be a century old or it may have started out recently. Quality is thus inherent into the company’s product lifecycle and has to be ensured throughout the existence of the product and the business.

This process of building a business into which quality inheres and is present throughout the lifecycle is symbolized by the concept of Total Quality Management or TQM. TQM is an approach whose concepts help organizations reach their quality goals by taking their unique business and product-related aspects into consideration. It is a system in which the concepts can be applied during all phases, as well as all situations of the business: in times of prosperity, in times of stability, in times of flux, as well as in times of adversity.

Overall improvement into the process

TQM suggests an organized and logical manner in which to apply concepts and principles of quality to bring about improvements in the product or service. TQM is about developing a system in which all the processes come into play in an organized and harmonious manner. It is all about making the systems as foolproof as one can. If a fault is present, it has to be so in the system and not in the line employee. In other words, TQM is all about putting in place a process-oriented, rather than a people-oriented Quality System.

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Total Quality Management is comprehensive from another perspective: in involving the employees of the organization. Applying TQM is not limited to the top brass of the organization. This principle requires the involvement and participation down to the last level of employees.

Also, for quality to come about, the active involvement of not only the employees, but also those involved in the organization externally, such as consultants and contractors, is as crucial.

The customer at the core

The concept of Quality Management is built placing the customer at the center of the policy implementation. The concept of TQM is built around the belief and fact that the customer is the heart of a business. This is natural, because if there is no customer, there is no business. A customer can exist without a business, but can a business exist without a customer? No.

By placing the highest and maximum emphasis on the customer, Quality Management works around this core component of the business. Quality is not a standalone parameter. It is always achieved and measured in terms of what the customer thinks about it. Quality is of no consequence unless the customer thinks and feels that her quality requirements and expectations have been met. Quality is something that can only be assessed in relation to this core.

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Benefits of implementing Quality Management

The concept of Total Quality Management is built in a manner that makes it all encompassing in its sweep. From both the perspectives of the what each employee is expected to do, to what areas of quality the organization can bring about by modifying their behaviors and attitudes, TQM is an all-round tool. By instilling these aspects into the product or service, organizations are put on the growth path with utmost certainty. Having a Quality Management plan in place ensures the following:

  • There is drastic, micro level improvement in the overall functions of the organization
  • It ensures that the quality expectations of the customers are not only met, but at times, exceeded as well, since the customer is the focal point of a TQM system
  • Implementation of TQM into the lifecycle of the organization’s product or service brings costs down since it is aimed at reducing the errors
  • This brings about a palpable rise in the organization’s name in the market.

All these point to the clear and unmistakable role of quality to organizations. If you haven’t heard yet, Quality Management is your best bet to grow.

https://psychology.iresearchnet.com/industrial-organizational-psychology/organizational-development/total-quality-management/

http://pubs.sciepub.com/ajie/1/3/2/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267271713_Total_Quality_Management_as_a_Paradigm_of_Business_Success

https://www.strategy-business.com/article/16188?gko=52d0b

The FDA steps up efforts at bringing about medical device cyber security

This FDA guideline seeks to enforce medical device cyber security by ensuring that the manufacturers take steps to secure medical devices by clearly defining medical device cyber security.

It is a disturbing, but true fact that medical devices are hacked. Medical devices have inbuilt software, and hackers try to breach this. Medical device cyber security is thus critical, because lack of it can bring harm to patients who use medical devices that come with software built into them.

An important factor that makes medical devices vulnerable to cyberattacks, thus triggering and hastening the need for medical device cyber security is that many times, medical devices are not standalone devices. They are connected via the Net to a number of important sources such as hospitals, electronic records and healthcare providers.

This fact makes it easier for hackers to carry out cyberattacks on medical devices because it is not necessary for them to actually have access to the device to carry out their breach. All these factors combine to make medical device cyber security a much needed system.

The FDA guideline of June

Keeping in mind the nature of fallibilities in a medical device; the FDA, with the intention of bringing about medical device cyber security passed the draft guideline on this topic in mid-2013. Titled the Content of Premarket Submissions for Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices; this guideline sought to address the issue of medical device cyber security by making an attempt at identifying the issue from its root.

That is, this guideline on medical device cyber security put in place security checks and procedures that manufacturers of medical device have to put in place right from the earliest stages of manufacture, going all the way up to the time it is implanted in or used by the patient.

The main intention of this FDA medical device cyber security guideline is to offer recommendations that medical device manufacturers need to take to reduce the intentional or unintentional risk of an attack on a medical device. This FDA guideline seeks to enforce medical device cyber security by ensuring that the manufacturers take steps to secure medical devices by clearly defining medical device cyber security.

Terms clearly defined

The FDA defines medical device cyber security as steps taken to prevent any of these:

  • Unauthorized modification
  • Misuse of the device
  • Denying the use of the device
  • Unauthorized use of the information that is stored in these devices. This relates to the information stored, accessed and modified when the device is transferred from one source to another

Documentation is at the heart of ensuring medical device cyber security

Towards ensuring medical device cyber security as defined by it; this FDA guideline requires manufacturers to monitor and document all the aspects of medical device cyber security at all stages. Medical device manufacturers should bring about medical device cyber security by developing a set of controls in three vital areas:

  • Firstly, medical device manufacturers should take steps to permit only authorized personnel into the software of the medical device
  • Medical device manufacturers should also ensure medical device cyber security by filling only relevant and accurate data into the device
  • They should also ensure that data is available when asked for

For more interesting https://goo.gl/ZrJ6sv

Cold chain challenge is key to making vaccines ubiquitous

A power outage can break this cold chain and result in the vaccine losing its effectiveness.

Over the years vaccines have prevented countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives. Infectious diseases like polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), smallpox, mumps, tetanus and rotavirus used to be common around the world. Today vaccines can prevent them.

Despite this, one in five children in the world aren’t fully protected by even the most basic vaccines. In addition, almost 20 million are at risk of contracting preventable diseases because they are under-vaccinated. As a result about 1.5 million children die every year from diseases that can be prevented by vaccination coverage.

One of the main reasons is that there are many rural areas in the world that don’t have reliable power supplies. Vaccines need to be kept at particular temperatures, usually refrigerated, to remain effective. Cold chain conditions aren’t possible without power. A cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain that runs from the time the vaccine is produced until it’s administered. It holds the vaccines in a temperature of between 2°C and 8°C. A power outage can break this cold chain and result in the vaccine losing its effectiveness.

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The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization estimates that only 10% of health care facilities in the world’s poorest countries have a reliable electricity supply. In Uganda, for example, over 70% of health care facilities have inadequate access to mains power.

The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 50% of vaccines may be wasted globally every year because of temperature control, logistics and shipment-related issues.

Most government guidelines recommend that vaccines that have potentially been compromised should be discarded. This can be costly. In 2011, according to UNICEF, an estimated USD$ 1.5 million worth of vaccines were lost in five months, often due to difficulties maintaining cold chain vaccine supply to their remote location.

The WHO has developed a set of guidelines for governments in a bid to minimise exposure to high temperatures if a power outage happens. But our research shows that these guidelines don’t have any specific instructions on how health care facilities and pharmacies should implement backup systems. They also don’t provide a list of standardised equipment to prevent and deal with power outages. This would be helpful in both developed and developing country scenarios. Our research attempts to plug this gap.

Read more at http://bit.ly/2NR2C0q

Facts About Compliance Courses

What is compliance? We all know the commonly used meaning of the term. One of the meanings The Oxford Online Dictionary has for compliance is its being “(t) he state or fact of according with or meeting rules or standards”. So, in the context of the regulated industries, compliance is being in a state of acquiescence or agreement with the regulatory requirements. The rules or requirements are set out by the regulatory authorities such as the US FDA or the European Union’s European Medicines Agency (EMA), or The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of the UK, or The Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) of Japan, or any other around the world.

The regulations these regulatory agencies set are aimed at ensuring compliance with standards. Of course, it goes without saying that these standards are aimed at ensuring quality and safety of drugs and other health-related products such as medical devices, food, medicines, life sciences and pharmaceutical products. It is to be in compliance with the regulations set out by these agencies that organizations that come under these regulatory bodies spend a fortune.

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Why? Simple:

– Being in compliance ensures that their products are approved for release into the market, failing which all that they spend on producing the product goes down the drain;

– Lack of compliance results not only in hefty penalties and fines and other punishments which could go all the way to imprisonment; it could also result in earning a bad reputation, the quickest means to get out of business.

Compliance requirements, expectedly, are very stringent. This is very natural, considering the nature of the products that are regulated. No regulatory agency likes to take chances with the health of the people. One spurious drug in a lot of thousands could be enough to cause damage to the consumer. So, regulating these products is as onerous as ensuring the security of every individual in a nation or society.

Compliance requirements are couched in very formal and often incomprehensible language. Since the industries are highly specialized, it is impossible for the regulatory agencies to avoid jargon or legalese. It is to help understand the nuances of these regulations that organizations need the services of compliance professionals. These professionals are specialized in the particular and exact nature of these regulations and do what is required to ensure compliance.

Despite the existence of these compliance officers, many organizations could still need understanding of the regulations. This could sometimes be because of the frequency of the regulatory updates or the urgency in meeting their requirements. Or, these could be beyond the resources the organization can allocate or afford for meeting compliance requirements. Further, the nature of some regulations could be such that even experienced compliance officers may need clarity. On such occasions, organizations need the services of compliance trainings.

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How can a Culture of Quality and Compliance Impact your Company’s Success?

At this very important learning session on Quality, Suzanne will cover all the perspectives of Quality.

If there is one attribute that sits at the very core of an organization, it has to be Quality. If Quality is this critical to organizations; then, what is Quality in the context of an organization?  If Philip Crosby defined Quality as conformance to requirements and Sam Walton considered it as being able to give the customers what they want; William A. Foster explained Quality in an organization in the following words: “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution. It represents the wise choice of many alternatives”.

Those in charge of Quality in organizations have to consider many questions relating to it. These are some of them: do we consider it an attribute or characteristic in relation to a certain standard or customer requirement? Is it all about achieving a state where our product is free from defects? Is it a system that we create for holding inspection standards or making the Quality System accountable to? Or is there something beyond all these?

Quality should become part of the organization’s culture

If there is one truly critical work that an organization has to carry out to become successful and to stay ahead; it is to imbibe Quality into its very core. Going beyond the semantics; Quality should become a way of life for the organization. it should become a philosophy, an inalienable part of its culture, and a habit. For organizations to meet and exceed customer expectations all the time and every time, Quality has to be implanted into the very essence of an organization.

Compliance4All, a well-known provider of professional trainings for the areas of regulatory compliance, explain all the elements of Quality at a webinar that it is organizing. Susanne Manz, a highly regarded leader in the medical device industry, who emphasizes Quality, compliance, and Six Sigma, and who brings extensive background in Quality and compliance for medical devices from new product development, to operations, to post-market activities, will be the speaker at this webinar.

Please register for this webinar by visiting http://bit.ly/2Hs2QMI

Quality from all perspectives

At this very important learning session on Quality, Suzanne will cover all the perspectives of Quality. Among the important learning objectives of this session is to teach participants to identify the warning signals that indicate that there could be Quality issues within the organization and the risks the organization faces from Quality and compliance issues. Participants will understand the ways of changing their organizations from being reactive to becoming proactive. Participants will understand how a culture of Quality and compliance can impact their organization’s success, and will learn the ways of creating a culture of Quality and compliance at all levels in their organization.

Suzanne will cover the following areas at this webinar:

  • FDA and NB expectations for Quality Systems
  • Lessons Learned from 483s and warning letters
  • How culture can impact Quality and compliance risk
  • Management commitment and responsibility
  • Maturity Modeling
  • Key capabilities
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Quality planning and strategy
  • Tools and techniques
  • Best Practices.

Where does GMP Training end and HR training begin?

HR could be in a predicament about what kind of training to impart to consultants.

That pharmaceutical companies need to hire professionals with the requisite qualifications is beyond question. This is not only required for the smooth conduct of activities in their course of their day-to-day work, but also because the FDA has set out its requirements for the proper educational and skill set qualification of employees in this profession in 21 CFR 211.25(a).

This FDA section underlines the need for educational qualifications, training and experience to carry out their job functions, which cannot be carried out in the absence of these requirements. The consequences of having ill qualified and ill-equipped staff can be of a grave nature. This scenario calls for a thorough look at the way pharmaceutical companies select and train their staff engaged in their work that must incorporate Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), while also maintaining quality, which is of paramount importance in this industry, all within the ambit of the organizational culture.

Challenging questions relating to training requirements

Meeting the educational and training requirements for pharmaceutical professions in a GMP environment, while complying with the provisions of 21 CFR 211.25(a) can be quite a challenge for the pharmaceutical companies’ HR. HR training should align with the requirements set out by Quality Assurance. There must be consistency and alignment of the priorities and need of the stakeholders in these two crucial departments.

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HR could be in a predicament about what kind of training to impart to consultants, a practice that is quite prevalent in this industry. Are they to be trained the way regular staff is, or do they have a different set of training requirements? Another practice that abounds in this industry is transferred employees. What about the training for such employees?

Get to understand the elements of onboarding in a GMP environment

A webinar from MentorHealth, a leading provider of professional trainings for healthcare professionals, will be setting doubts relating to all these core areas at rest at a webinar that it is organizing. The speaker at this webinar is Michael Esposito, who has over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, during which he has world in a variety of areas including packaging, project administration, Quality Assurance, Government Contracts, translations, systems training, and international operations in many reputable companies such as Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division. Michael has more than 17 years’ experience in GMP training and document management.

Please visit http://bit.ly/2HJdw93 to enroll for this very useful session.

Familiarization with the onboarding strategy

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The essence of this webinar is familiarization with the onboarding strategy needed for professionals in the pharma industry. Michael will help participants understand how to put in place an onboarding strategy that combines the inputs of all the major stakeholders and put in place a consistent and comprehensible onboarding and training process that the organization can adapt for its employees.

Participants at this webinar will be able to define the onboarding process in the context of compliance. Michael will help them understand how to interact with HR to create a coordinated onboarding strategy. They will be able to implement a training program that takes into account the differences between the training requirements for full-time employees and contractors, and between new employees and employees transferring internally. They will also be able to prioritize training, so that they not only ensure compliance; they also reduce the learning curve for new or transferred employees.

This session is of value to professionals such as Managers with direct reports, HR professionals, and Quality Assurance and training departments. Michael will cover the following areas at this webinar:

  • FAQs for employee onboarding
  • Management’s expectations for new employees
  • HR onboarding
  • Quality’s role in the onboarding process
  • GMP training requirements
  • Handling full-time employees vs. contractors and other temporary personnel

Benchmarks for training and competency.