Country Perspective: Sweden
Position: Procurement Consultant
Organisation: Hensner Consulting AB
Procurement process lead and interim CPO for a large private healthcare provider in Sweden for the past 5 years, previously +10 years as an international project leader in finance for a multinational white goods manufacturer.
When it comes to the public sector it is typically organized regionally and some Swedish counties have joined forces, performing common tenders and use a common distributor serving several counties.
In the private healthcare sector, it is common to either use the same distributor/retailer that is available for the public sector in a specific region (you are entitled to do that as long as you provide healthcare through a public contract) but also to set up own contracts with one or several Swedish retailers that can serve clinics across the country, this goes for general healthcare consumables and when it comes to more specialist products like implants or other MedTech equipment they are typically sourced directly from the multinational Medtec companies with sales reps in Sweden.
The main challenge for procurement in the private healthcare sector, typically supporting a low margin healthcare provider, is to organize the medical requirements (and more importantly the medical professionals) in a brand-independent, function & quality-focused tender, that makes sure that the typically high margin MedTech suppliers are challenged to offer the most cost-efficient product and service, instead of selling products only based on a well-known brand and/or old relationships.
Healthcare procurement will become more cross border, both from a geographical aspect with an increasing number of global healthcare providers sourcing for several markets simultaneously, but also from a more organizational perspective where the different medical professionals will work closer to each other and the Procurement function enabling far better tender result.
I also believe MedTech companies will continue to develop more strategies and services that offer the healthcare community more value-based solutions rather than focusing only on product cost, stronger partnerships will be formed with an increased focus on the total cost per medical procedures/treatments.
Once you get the medical professionals supported and organized to break with old habits and sharing success stories (moving to a more cost-efficient products/services), without any deterioration in quality or patient outcome, you will enjoy great results from your tenders and contribute to the bottom line much quicker. It´s key to establish a culture where “standardization” isn´t ugly, nor taking the creativity out of our fantastic doctors and nurses, but rather seen as something that makes sure we maximize our chance to become stronger in our supplier negotiations which, in the end, enables higher re-investments in staff development, higher efficiency, and patient outcome.