Global healthcare opportunity #2: Encourage collaboration

In the current healthcare system, there is not enough opportunity for healthcare providers (hospitals, group purchasing organizations, shared service organizations, etc.) to collaborate with their suppliers to make better decisions. There are four reasons for this:

  1. Public scrutiny of healthcare dollars spent has forced many providers to be become more risk averse
  2. Government purchasing legislation has forced purchasing departments to have much more influence in the buying process
  3. Providers are short on knowledgable resources
  4. Providers don't know all of the options available to them.

We need to encourage providers to make smart business decisions and leverage the expertise of their suppliers. Provide for a purchasing process that allows for a discussion between the provider and supplier in order to come up with the best possible solution and outcome. When this doesn't happen, I call it the Collaboration Gap, which is depicted in the visual below.

Global healthcare opportunity #1: Create an effective feedback loop

In our healthcare systems, we need to do a better job of creating processes that are proactive and engage patients and front line caregivers better to anticipate need. This doesn't mean patient and employee satisfaction surveys, although this is a good start. This means creating a process by which employee feedback can be gathered, analyzed and implemented. Create an employee feedback program and encourage staff to put forth ideas on how to improve the performance of the organization. Those ideas must be captured and reviewed, with the best ideas implemented. Success for a program like this will only happen if employees feel that their ideas will get a fair shake and that they see other ideas coming from employees being implemented. As for patients, employees need to be more aware of the ideas patients and their families may have. Talk to patients about their experience…what they liked, what they didn't like, whether or not they felt comfortable, if they had a positive experience that they would tell people about. All of these things can help gain a better understanding of what patients really need and some simple ideas to improve the performance and speed of the organization. If you treat patients like customers and recognize that they are a wealth of valuable information, then you are one step closer to improving your organizational effectiveness.

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew Miller

Miller's Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on strategy, operations, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – March 19, 2012

My family and I were in Florida for our March break vacation and were scheduled to fly home Sunday afternoon. When I checked our flight status Sunday morning, I was shocked to discover our flight had been cancelled. That's right, a flight from West Palm Beach to Toronto on the Sunday of March break cancelled with no notice. I had checked the status the previous day and everything was fine. Apparently, this was a result of an ongoing feud between Air Canada and its' pilots union, and pilots decided to take sick days (at the encouragement of the union president) on the two busiest days of March break, so many flights were cancelled. This has been handled poorly by all involved.

We were forced to not only re-schedule our flight, but we also missed a full day of work, had to drive to a different city to fly home and paid for an extra night hotel, all with a young family in tow. And what did Air Canada offer me for this inconvenience? Nothing. No travel voucher, no offer to pay for my hotel room, no compensation. I was supposed to be satisfied that they didn't charge me a change fee and the fare differential for the new flight tickets.

Inevitably, Air Canada will cry foul and say the pilots performed an illegal strike action and the pilots will say they were stressed about contract negotiations and needed time off. As a customer, I don't care. Both sides are handling this terribly. Air Canada should have recognized this might happen and not relied on the Federal government's back-to-work legislation as a solution to the problem, and the pilots should have realized the backlash that would occur if they suddenly didn't show up for work on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

Customers don't have sympathy for either side because they are the ones stuck at airports and hotels across North America trying to find their ways home. I hope Air Canada and their pilots are satisfied because they are no closer to making a deal and have managed to upset many of their customers. I hope customers make both sides pay for these poor decisions.

Contingency planning is a critical part of running any business and a lack of it can lead to major problems. Let's see if Air Canada and its' pilots learn their lesson the hard way.

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Andrew Miller


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© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2012.

Five Ways to Leverage Your Sales Division for Greater Success

I'm often asked what are some things sales organizations can do to help increase the success of the organization. Here are five thing you can do:

  1. Build relationships with the right people
  2. Sell solutions, not features and benefits
  3. Understand what is valuable to your customers
  4. Understand what selling options you have
  5. Develop an effective way to assess opportunities

Look for some additional blog posts in the next few days where I will talk about each of these in more detail.

You need to change the mindset of your sales organization. You are selling ways to significantly improve your customer’s condition not features and benefits of your product. As Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

What are the Key Attributes of a Successful Company?

I'm often asked about some of the key attributes of a successful company. I have developed this nice visual to explain it better. The most successful companies I've worked with, have these four key attributes:

  • They implement strategies effectively
  • They empower employees to make decisions in the best interests of the customer
  • They balance the need for speed and strong performance
  • They take the lead in industry initiatives


Is your company doing all it can to be successful?