From the July 2022 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
dr. Jimmy Y. Chung, MD, MBA, FACS, FABQAURP, CMRP is the chief medical officer at Bon Secours Mercy Health and currently serves as the chair of the AHRMM Advisory Board 2022. In the following interview, Dr. Chung’s career in healthcare, his experience as a member of AHRMM, and provides insight into the upcoming annual AHRMM Conference & Exhibition.
HCB News: Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare?
dr. Jimmy Y. Chung: In college, I started volunteering at a free clinic in the midst of the AIDS crisis and soon decided I wanted to be a doctor. During my medical training I volunteered at a rural hospital in Kenya, where I gained a lot of experience in treating injuries…then I decided to become a general surgeon.
HCB News: Can you tell us about your history with the AHRMM and why you first joined?
JC: I joined AHRMM during my first supply chain job as director of value analysis because I wanted to learn more about supply chain. As one of the few practicing physicians in the organization, I quickly realized the value of the organization for not only supply chain professionals, but also physicians and other clinicians. I had a strong feeling that supply chain is a subject that doctors should understand and appreciate, but that is sorely lacking in their training.
HCB News: What did that journey look like, from joining AHRMM to chairing the Advisory Board?
JC: AHRMM’s mission and strategic map really aligned with my vision of a patient-centric, value-based healthcare system that manages our precious resources to optimize the value of care and the patient experience. I wanted to contribute a physician’s perspective to the organization and help develop a clinically integrated supply chain program, so I decided to run for the board. After three years on the board and also chairing the Conference Education Committee, I continued to pursue a career focused on supply chain, or as I like to call it, health resource optimization. Supply chain is no longer just about maximizing product value, but also about improving patient outcomes and experience by optimizing resource utilization and clinical service activities. When I was invited to run as Chairman of the Advisory Board of AHRMM, I felt absolutely honored to be entrusted with leading such an esteemed and important professional organization.
HCB News: How would you describe the impact COVID-19 has had on the hospital supply chain?
JC: COVID-19 has clearly put significant pressure on hospitals by creating an unprecedented and unpredictable demand for PPE, but I think it’s the effects that are less visible to clinicians and that have had more long-term effects. Virtually every hospital I know that spent years perfecting their Just in Time (JIT) practice has now recaptured that strategy. Two years after the pandemic, the key word now is resilience. The trust and cooperation between all stakeholders was tested to the limit, with not always good results. Automated systems that worked on demand were thrown into a loop and some hospitals were penalized by assignment protocols. Outside the hospital walls, consumer demand vying for healthcare products or raw materials also wreaked havoc, such as plastics and resins used for IV bags and syringes and heavy metals used for computer chips. Most recently, COVID isolation protocols in China have halted all contrast media production, creating a global shortage that has not really been an issue with the supply chain, but rather with public health policy. All of these issues exposed the vulnerabilities and blind spots that most of us may have never experienced in our careers.