Health

As hospitals and other health care providers strive to cut costs while still giving good patient care, they are hiring an increasing number of MBAs. "There is a whole new set of roles in health care for MBAs, especially those with some clinical understanding," says Eugene Schneller, a professor in the W. P. Carey's School of Health Management and Policy. The morphing MBA job market was examined at a recent conference sponsored by the Health Sector Supply Chain Research Consortium at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Anyone who watches television in the United States might logically conclude that this is a nation plagued by allergies, depression and arthritis. Ads for medicines to address such conditions make it seem as though ailment sufferers outnumber the healthy. Can advertising increase patient demands, physician prescribing and overall costs? Professor Eugene Schneller and Research Analyst Natalia Wilson of the School of Health Management and Policy at W. P. Carey weigh in.

A controversial regulation creates a "safe harbor" from antitrust laws for certain aspects of the relationship between suppliers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) in the healthcare industry. The scenario: Hospitals join the GPOs, which negotiate group contracts with manufacturers for supplies ranging from syringes to operating tables. The manufacturers pay "administrative fees" to the GPOs — the very organizations responsible for evaluating and selecting products from competing manufacturers. Is it a kickback, or a discount rewarding the efficiency of group contracting?

A groundbreaking study has finally put a dollar figure on a previously unanswered question: how much do physicians' practices, due to government regulation, pay to ensure their poorest patients get the right prescription drugs? Turns out the answer is $8.02 per prescription, on average, or $1,110 annually for high blood pressure and high cholesterol medications alone, according to research from Jonathan D. Ketcham, an assistant professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business, and Andrew J. Epstein, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine.

Supply expense is the second highest operational cost in hospitals, but traditional healthcare benchmarking doesn't pinpoint factors that contribute to supply-expense performance, nor does it enable hospital supply chain professionals to see how they stack up against similar organizations. To address these problems, the Association for Healthcare Resources & Materials Management (AHRMM) and the W. P. Carey School of Business recently launched SCMetrixTM, an online benchmarking tool. It aims to give hospital professionals a holistic view of supply chain performance and the factors contributing to it.