Healthcare CEO Expects IT to Keep Firm Ahead of the Curve

For Craig Smith, of Owens and Minor, IT is essential to employee collaboration, innovation and maintaining a competitive edge in a fast-changing industry. 

Craig Smith, CEO at Owens and Minor, answers six questions about why  IT is essential to employee collaboration, innovation and maintaining a competitive edge in the healthcare industry.

How is technology a competitive differentiator for Owens and Minor?

Our technology allows us to help hospitals improve their processes, which can save them millions of dollars a year. This is going to become even more important as our customers start seeing Medicare reimbursement changes. We also provide software packages that allow operating rooms to improve billing and reduce their inventory.

When we go head-to-head on a competitive bid, we differentiate ourselves by saying we are a process supplier versus a price supplier. Without a strong technology foundation, some of our smaller competitors have no choice but to sell on price.

In the United States, we're seeing a massive consolidation of hospital systems. As hospitals come together, they may be on two or three different ERP platforms. Our competitors have difficulty knowing what the hospitals are buying or their pricing levels. We have great business intelligence tools that give us information our competitors often do not have.

How do you develop a corporate culture that is focused on innovation?

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