My Notes from the 2021 Fall IDN Summit Senior Executive Forum 


We have had the privilege of moderating the Senior Executive Forum (SEF), held during the IDN Summit, for many years. During this invitation-only forum, the most senior executives from IDNs across the country gather together to learn and share thoughts, ideas, challenges, and successes. We’d like to share with you our notes and takeaways from this Fall’s forum.


Power of Collaboration Discussion 

During the Power of Collaboration discussion, we asked each of the executives in attendance to share successes (and failures) in collaborating with suppliers, GPOs, distributors, peers, and even government agencies over the past two to three years. 

  • The most prevalent success stories were collaborating with their peers. 
  • During the pandemic, sharing ideas, products, strategies, and even co-negotiations with peers became incredibly valuable. These exchanges led to more effective operations, access to otherwise unattainable products, and, by leveraging larger volumes of spend, limited the cost impact. 
  • Some senior executives also noted collaboration between the competing systems at the highest levels of their organization. However, there was much uncertainty as to how long this collaboration would last post-pandemic. 
  • Before the pandemic, many of the senior executives indicated they had limited connection with their Chief Medical Officer but became very close partners during the pandemic. They are now hoping to leverage that improved relationship to involve the CMO in the development and execution of the supply chain strategies. 


Supply Chain Strategic Plans Discussion 

We then transitioned into a discussion on Supply Chain Strategic Plans. We discussed a range of strategies, but some of the more prominent and/or interesting strategies included: 

  • Developing more Regional Networks versus the utilization of National GPOs 
  • Exploring setting up or expanding a Consolidated Services Center for their IDN 
  • Prioritizing talent recruitment and retention, especially given the low supply of available resources and the competition with other higher-paying industries 
  • Managing the implementation of a new ERP, EMR, and Supply Chain Systems, which all executives agreed was an all-time consuming effort 
  • Navigating ongoing merger and acquisition (M&A) efforts, including performing due diligence on a potential M&A, which can put all strategic plans on hold, as well as participating in the reorganization after the deals are complete 
  • Finalizing and updating emergency preparedness plans, in advance of the next pandemic or disaster. 


We concluded the Senior Executive Forum by asking each of the attendees to share topics that they would be interested in discussing at the 2022 Spring IDN Summit. Some of their suggestions included: 

  • Supplier Transparency 
  • Staff Recruitment and Retention Ideas 
  • Contracting Strategies, including Supplier Diversification, Self-Contracting, etc. 
  • Healthcare Collaboration with Peers, Local Governments, and Suppliers 
  • Self-Distribution 
  • Downstream Supplier Management 
  • Regional Purchasing Networks 


Now, it’s your turn. Click here to email the IDN Summit team and share the topics you’re interested in hearing about at the 2022 Spring IDN Summit. 

We are truly grateful for all the executives in this Fall’s Senior Executives Forum and we look forward to hosting you again in 2022.