Thursday, October 27, 2016




Refugee Aid Sites, Syria & Turkey

Civil war in Syria has led to one of the greatest refugee crises of our time. Current estimates place the number of Syrian refugees at nearly 5 million and that of internally displaced Syrian residents at another 6.6 million. Fully half of these are children. Most of the 5 million fleeing Syria remain in the Middle East, in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. Of these, Turkey has received the greatest portion of refugees at over 2.6 million.

Refugees are at increased risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused or exploited. Millions of children have been forced to quit school. Millions more have gone to work for pittance wages. And adults and children alike are suffering from injuries and illnesses caused by the crossfire of war or the crossing of borders. The need for medical supplies to treat the sick and wounded remains high in refugee camps and amongst the urban refugees living in surrounding communities. Medical facilities inside Syria also regularly report urgent and ongoing needs for medicines, supplies and equipment.

In 2016, Globus Relief teamed up with partners Islamic Relief USA and ANSAGIAD, a local Turkish NGO based in Ankara, to help address these ongoing medical needs. Coordination began in February, as ANSAGIAD engaged with relevant medical advisors in Syria and with refugee communities and government agencies in Turkey to determine the extent of the need. In April, Globus Relief shipped 12 containers with over $5 million of medical supplies and equipment. Local Islamic Relief and ANSAGIAD workers coordinated with hospitals, community leaders, governments, camp clinics and other local associations and point-of-use locations to ensure timely and organized delivery of the aid to Turkish refugee camps, private and public hospitals, and Syrian medical facilities and refugee camps. These materials have made a difference in the lives of the refugees; a demonstration human civility in the face of civil unrest.

Please keep Globus Relief in mind for any excess medical supplies, instruments or equipment you may have available.

Thank you for your generous donations that make it possible for Globus Relief to supply Eyes4Zimbabwe with equipment and supplies in this manner. To continue supporting healthcare and humanitarian efforts throughout the world, please contact Globus Relief.

Globus Relief is Your Humanitarian Non-Profit Inventory Solution. Please contact us if you have medical or dental equipment, instruments, and supplies or other resources available for donation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Manage up

Fast  Foreward

By the time you read this we likely will have elected the new “leader of the free world” to occupy The White House.

Short of making any kind of political statement, let’s just say the two primary and two secondary candidates for President of the United States all possess and exhibit distinct styles and their own unique brands of leadership.

What defines leadership? What kind of leader are you?

Lee Eisenstaedt, founder and CEO of Chicago-based consulting firm Value Drivers LLC, wrote a book titled, “Being a Leader with Courage.”

One of the things he posits is four words that every CEO must learn to ask or say.

“What do you think?”

For someone with an over-abundant ego or a softly polished sense of self-worth, those four words can seem like a foreign language. For someone with a servant-hearted and servant-minded style of leadership, those four words signify their standard operating procedure.

“Think about that,” wrote Jim Kendall, head of Kendall Communications Inc. that writes a small business column for the Daily Herald, a suburban Chicago newspaper. “Asking the question almost compels you to at least consider the answer, maybe defend the idea that led to the question, possibly improve it, and likely, take an action.”

Eisenstaedt continued … “Keep asking until the person runs out of things to tell you.”

That can get annoying, for sure, but the idea remains sound. It’s how you manage up instead of down.

Managing down is easy enough — and efficient. After all, a dictatorship is considered by many to be the most efficient form of government. The problem? It also can be deadly. In the workplace, it can be a job-killer — namely the recipient of the whipping and not the one wielding the whip.

But you don’t have to be in the C-suite to be a leader.

Yet leaders may be hard to find as we approach the end of the decade.

During Bellwether League’s Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership Forum last month, presentations and conversations centered on two primary topics: The Accountable Care Act’s impact on various markets as well as on access, cost and quality since inception, and the need to identify and equip the next generation of healthcare supply chain leaders to continue operating in this environment.

Speakers presented results from a nationwide survey of supply chain executives at integrated delivery networks (IDNs) that found that a lot of IDN supply chain leaders are nearing retirement or leaving their positions with mixed results on succession planning.

Further, survey results indicated that leadership skills were the most pressing need for future supply chain executives, due in part to the expanding breadth and depth of responsibility and the criticality of supply chain in a complex healthcare environment. Attendees noted that healthcare can find the necessary talent outside of healthcare because supply chain in other industries seem to have a better handle on the function and its foundational relationship to an organization’s performance and progress. Perhaps that’s why healthcare organizations have seen a growing influx of non-healthcare supply chain executives to its ranks.

It’s unlikely that healthcare-centric and healthcare-specific supply chain experts will see their executive ranks thinned and transfused with non-healthcare industry supply chain experts within the next decade if they start taking action now.

How? They need to encourage their supervisors and managers and directors and vice presidents to ask questions. And then provide answers — or at least suggestions and recommendations. From this leaders and followers will benefit, which will benefit the organizations and the patients they serve.

Management may be a trickle-down concept, but leadership should be a trickle-up enterprise. Just leave gravity — but not gravitas — outside the door.

Rick Dana Barlow

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

EpiPenalty vs. EpiPenance

Fast  Foreward

The brilliant minds at beleaguered Theranos Inc. must have heaved a sigh of relief as Mylan Pharmaceuticals usurped as much negative publicity as word leaked out the company had been price gouging for years its EpiPen product that delivers life-saving epinephrine quickly to those suffering allergic reactions.

Online message boards and social media outlets erupted at the gall, lambasting Mylan’s actions and for the CEO’s reported exorbitant compensation package, she the daughter of a U.S. Senator, which somehow made it even more heinous.

Armchair moralists cried foul, calling for boycotts (unrealistic), government intervention (do we really want federally mandated price controls?) and all sorts of compensatory and punitive punishments for the CEO and her C-suite cronies. One commenter even suggested that the way for the CEO to make amends is to dedicate one full year of her compensation package to a trust fund designed to support those organizations and individuals who cannot or may not afford to pay for access to the desired product. Good luck with that.

But such a magnanimous gesture may not be part and parcel of her personality. Maybe it wouldn’t even be in ours were we faced with such opportunity. After all, we live in a capitalistic, free-market economy. Prices are set based on supply and demand, as well as what the market allows and will bear, but especially what the general public will accept.

To counter the vitriol aimed at its pricing structure, Mylan introduced a generic alternative at half the price. Critics remained unimpressed. Was the product as potent as the brand-named version? Would you need to buy more to achieve the same outcomes as the original? Was this a way for Mylan to retain its profit quotas and expectations?

Mylan may have “cut” the price via generic alternative as a “magnanimous” gesture, but the real issue is that our system enables all of this behavior. This really doesn’t represent a capitalistic free-market economy. After all, if it did, people would protest and stop buying the product once competitors emerged or were forced by government edict/executive order, shifting to lower-priced competitors (if they existed), which would drive Mylan to reduce their prices.

The issue here is that Mylan raised prices to an egregiously obnoxious level over a 10-year period, justifying it partly on the high quantities of free product they have to give to schools. To some, that redefines the concept of “free” markets. To others, it’s merely the Sheriff of Nottingham canceling Christmas while Robin Hood rallies the educational system around unfunded charity mandates.

This doesn’t mean schools and other organizations should not have access to EpiPen inventory. It just means that everyone should realize the fundamentals of economic inertia: For every action/decision, there is an equal but opposite reaction/decision. You poke a balloon on one end and if it doesn’t pop you’ll find a protrusion on the other end.

Gravity, physics and good sense. Sigh. 

Perhaps the better — or at least less sticky and stinky solution — is to allow the feds a little regulatory latitude, albeit heavily checked, for them to require that any product brought to market has a generic alternative readily available to guarantee competition right from the start. The caveat? The generic version would have to be owned by a completely separate company with no shared stockholders or venture capital investment houses. This way, the market can be allowed to dictate pricing. This also means that Mylan would have to divest its generic version either as a spin-off or outright sale to another company. Sound draconian and intrusive? Maybe. Maybe not.

There’s something of a precedent in the telecommunications industry. Back in the go-go 1980s, the perceived hegemonic monopoly AT&T (colloquially known as “Ma Bell”) had to divest a variety of assets (a “voluntary” settlement as a hedge against federal fiat). AT&T spun off its research and development conceits and its local calling operations, but retaining the long-distance calling market. The local calling operations broke into smaller regional corporations to enable competition. Furthermore, as communication technology started migrating to fiber-optic cable from copper wire, these regional companies and their “Baby Bell” subsidiaries (I worked at Illinois Bell Communications, for example) were “encouraged” to lease “available” lines to smaller companies to engender competition.

Can Big Pharma or any other healthcare corporate entity learn from the telecommunications industry? You bet. Whether on Wall Street or via private equity venture capitalists, it’s a “just call,” because “we’re all connected.”

Rick Dana Barlow

Wednesday, September 21, 2016




Salt Lake City, UTAH

Two companies. One war.
Hundreds of victors.

A war was brought to truce through service at the Globus Relief headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah in August. Companies NFP/FirstWest Bene t Solutions, a Utah-based insurance broker and health and retirement bene ts consultancy, and Hospice for Utah, an in-home hospice service company, waged a wellness war over the summer months, each challenging the other to better living through a system of points won for healthy habits and positive life changes made. And the prize to the victor? The losing team had to convert the winning team’s points into donation dollars at a rate of 5 cents per point.

The teams tallied the nal results at the end of summer and NFP/FirstWest was dubbed champion. The resulting donated funds were used to help resupply a local Utah dental o ce that had been devastated by re earlier in the year, su ering a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of damage. Because of Globus Relief’s unique acquisition and distribution methods, the funds produced a humanitarian impact multiple times greater than the original donation.

The companies celebrated the victory on August 15 at Globus Relief’s warehouse in Salt Lake City. Representatives from each company joined Globus Relief sta in re-packaging medication administration packets to be sent to humanitarian e orts worldwide through Globus Relief’s many charity partners. The true victors of this story turned out to actually be the victims of other wars waged – hundreds of poverty-stricken people in need.

Please keep Globus Relief in mind for any excess medical supplies, instruments or equipment you may have available.

Thank you for your generous donations that make it possible for Globus Relief to supply Eyes4Zimbabwe with equipment and supplies in this manner. To continue supporting healthcare and humanitarian efforts throughout the world, please contact Globus Relief.

Globus Relief is Your Humanitarian Non-Profit Inventory Solution. Please contact us if you have medical or dental equipment, instruments, and supplies or other resources available for donation.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tower Power

Fast  Foreward

During the Independence Day holiday this past summer, the Barlow family visited the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC.

One of the exhibits was a replica air traffic control tower. Visitors were able to watch airplanes take off and land as well as read detailed displays and watch videos that explained what air traffic controllers and operators do, how they do it and why they matter.

We all have a general idea of how they operate, of course. A station at the exhibit stated that "the air traffic control systems main purpose is to prevent collisions by separating aircraft from terrain, obstacles, and other aircraft.

"Air traffic controllers organize the flow of traffic; keep the traffic flowing smoothly, safely, and efficiently; and coordinate the movement of aircraft around bad weather… provide information about weather and unexpected events and advise pilots about more efficient routes."

In short, their efforts can make the difference between life and death.

Thoughts of the healthcare supply chain leaders operating in a similar manner came to mind. How so?

"Supply chain leaders organize the flow of products and other resources; keep the products and resources flowing smoothly, safely, and efficiently; and coordinate the movement of products and resources around changes in demand and usage… provide information about consumption and practice patterns and unexpected demand changes and advise clinicians about more efficient product and service options to help them improve business and clinical operations, their individual practices and patient care as a whole."

In a way, their efforts can make the difference between life and death, too.

Supply chain leaders - just like air traffic controllers - function as advisers and facilitators, continually amassing and analyzing data on resource consumption patterns, clinician practice patterns (doctors and nurses) and supplier production patterns so that they can provide useful information to their clinical, financial and operational customers when they ask for it, if not before they ask for it.

Such applications of data science from a supply chain control tower represent the litmus test for the supply chain executive and leader of the future.

Of course, whether you’re ready may hinge on the maturity of your supply chain operation. A few weeks ago, Healthcare Purchasing News hosted a webcast sponsored by Ryder Systems Inc. where Ryder supply chain pros highlighted the importance and magnitude of supply chain operations as the second-largest cost center behind labor with the gap between the two closing as the years advance. (To access the webcast,visit

One key element for success? Effectiveness as a baseline before efficiency for supply chain practices. Basically, perform it right before you decide to improve it to the point of doing it well — or at least better.

The challenge? Ryder execs cited research from the Center for Innovation in Healthcare Logistics at the University of Arkansas that showed more than 50 percent of supply chain execs surveyed classified their operations as "ad hoc" and "defined," which CIHL and Ryder termed as "immature."

The bottom line: You have to walk before you run, and apparently many organizations have miles to traverse.

So the question remains: Do you have what it takes to build and maintain a supply chain control tower operation?

Doctors, nurses, your healthcare organization and the patients you serve — not necessarily in that order — depend on it.

Rick Dana Barlow

Thursday, August 4, 2016





Bondo, Kenya

Daniel had a huge growth over one eye when Ralph and Linda Bartholomew firrst met him in Bondo, Kenya. They also met a young woman who was blind as a result of cataracts. Two di erent people that needed medical intervention and had been in need for a long time, but could not be helped. Daniel because his illness had taken over his entire body, and the young women because the medical personnel did not have the expertise or instruments to remove cataracts. Daniel passed soon after while the young woman continues to struggle with lack of sight.

When Ralph and Linda left for Kenya with the help of their local church, The Way International, they went under the guidance of Foundation Stone Ministries who operate an orphanage in Bondo and support free clinics for the people in and around Bondo. They knew the mission trip may bring di culties their way, but they did not expect to feel so helpless as they worked tirelessly to treat thousands of wounds.

Bondo, and its surrounding communities, is made up of about 30,000, many of whom live in the bush. Medical care is rarely available, and if so, it is beyond the means of most, and often not given the priority it should. During their time in Bondo, Ralph and Linda helped out in a medical clinic generally treating wounds that had been ignored., several a result of complications from diabetes. With the supplies they brought, over 2,500 patients, including a woman with leprosy, were treated.

Another woman with elephantitis had open, festering wounds that had not received treatment to the point that her leg was going to be amputated. With the much needed supplies and time, her leg was saved. She is one of many who benefi tted greatly from treatment. Ralph & Linda know good was accomplished, that their presence and the vital supplies they brought made a di erence in so many lives, yet the fi rst thing Ralph will say is, “There are still so many that we can’t help.”

Please keep Globus Relief in mind for any excess medical supplies, instruments or equipment you may have available.

Thank you for your generous donations that make it possible for Globus Relief to supply Eyes4Zimbabwe with equipment and supplies in this manner. To continue supporting healthcare and humanitarian efforts throughout the world, please contact Globus Relief.

Globus Relief is Your Humanitarian Non-Profit Inventory Solution. Please contact us if you have medical or dental equipment, instruments, and supplies or other resources available for donation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Supply Chain Inc.

Fast  Foreward

CHICAGO - Whenever someone mentions that Supply Chain should be concerned about revenue, eyes tend to roll and lungs heave sighs of resignation. After all, Supply Chain doesn’t generate revenue. That’s a top-line concern. Supply Chain manages expenses. That’s a bottom-line concern, best left to those boys and girls in the basement.

Not so fast, posit a number of speakers at Eye for Transport’s 3PL Summit and CSCO Forum in Chicago. Time to hop into the elevator to control and manage a considerable piece of the organizational pie: Data.

Powerhouse IT companies, such as IBM, Oracle and SAP are spending billions of dollars on data analytics firms, according to Steve Banker, Supply Chain Services Director, ARC Advisory Group. Banker argued that "supply chain people" need to recognize and understand that analytics is being used across departments and processes. Data should be the link that balances supply and demand to help an organization meet its growth objectives. In fact, that’s why companies are spending money on systems to improve revenue and not necessarily to reduce costs, he added.

Even CHRISTUS Health, the 2016 Supply Chain Department of the Year, has invested in data analytics and informatics that is paying dividends for operations and patient-care delivery. And the recent Pensiamo joint venture announced at press time between IBM Watson Health and UPMC (the 2014 Supply Chain Department of the Year) signals this developing trend in healthcare that already has planted roots in industries outside of healthcare.

On the dais with Banker, Competitive Insights CEO Richard Sharpe cited that by 2020, 35 zettabytes of data will be produced annually with data volume doubling every 18 months. That’s not just Big Data; that’s Big Data on PEDs. "Data is growing exponentially so we need to find value in it," Sharpe asserted.

No kidding.

Banker and Sharpe both posited that data analytics fused with data management - fueling the blossoming profession of data science - will prove to be a boom and boon for Supply Chain to wield this asset (data) around the administrative, clinical, financial and operational realms of the C-suite.

"Supply Chain is having a hard time putting their hands around revenue generation," Banker said, but controlling the data card may be the answer to driving changes throughout the organization. It’s one thing to know what happened when and why; it’s another thing to know how to respond with intelligence.

Supply Chain pros should not dismiss this informatics notion as an IT project. IT builds the clock; data science via Supply Chain reads the time and figures out how to manipulate and use it to support business functions throughout the organization - not just the warehouse, stockroom or operating room and nursing floor supply closets.
This extends well beyond the trite "show docs the data" refrain. Through data science, Supply Chain effectively can demonstrate to the C-suite how a service line, care offering or business decision can be profitable for the organization - clinically, financially and operationally.

Fortified with an enterprise-wide view, end-to-end access and a cognitive ability to analyze anything, predict behavior and demand and prescribe workable comprehensive solutions that "make money" along a "net-X" mindset versus a more limited "save money" mentality is just what the Supply Chain profession needs to deliver - and what the C-suite needs Supply Chain to deliver.

Breaking through that artificial barrier should propel Supply Chain from relevance to reverence. It’s about time.

Rick Dana Barlow