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Why Hospitals and Healthcare Systems Should Buy Local

Leanne Strickler
Published August 31, 2023

You know that feeling you get when you support local businesses in your community? There’s something gratifying about keeping money circulating close to home. Now imagine if that good feeling could spread throughout your entire healthcare system. Buying local and supporting small suppliers is not just some feel-good initiative – it makes practical business sense for healthcare organizations of any size. Here are four compelling reasons your healthcare system should make it a priority to buy locally and do business with small suppliers whenever possible. Doing so strengthens your local economy, reduces environmental impact, improves quality and service, and fosters innovation. While global supply chains have dominated for decades, a local-first approach offers significant benefits for both the healthcare system and the community it serves. The case for healthcare systems to buy local and support small suppliers is clear.

Supporting Local Economies With Local Purchasing

When your healthcare system buys from local small businesses, you’re directly supporting your community’s economy.

Healthcare systems have significant purchasing power. By choosing to spend some of that power locally, you can positively impact people’s lives in meaningful ways. Patients, staff, and communities all benefit when you go local. It’s a win-win for everyone involved and the right choice for community well-being. So next time you need to buy supplies or services, think local first.

Accessing Unique and Innovative Solutions From Small Businesses

When it comes to innovation, small businesses have a leg up on big corporations. Their streamlined structure means they can go from concept to execution in a flash. By engaging with local small businesses, healthcare systems can tap into this agility and access unique solutions tailored to their needs.

Smaller companies are often more nimble simply due to less bureaucracy and red tape. They can pivot quickly based on customer feedback and make rapid prototyping and iterative changes to products and services. This fosters a ‘fail fast’ mentality where ideas are tested, tweaked, and improved at a fast pace. Healthcare systems that work with small businesses benefit directly from this ability to swiftly develop and refine new solutions.

Local small businesses also have an inherent advantage when it comes to understanding regional challenges and needs. They have a pulse on the local community and can develop solutions that directly address problems faced by both healthcare providers and patients in that area. This hyper-local knowledge and focus translates to solutions that have an immediate and meaningful impact.

By collaborating with small businesses, healthcare systems open themselves up to new ways of thinking that challenge the status quo. Entrepreneurial ventures approaching problems with a design thinking mindset can uncover innovative solutions hiding in plain sight. Tapping into these diverse perspectives exposes healthcare systems to ideas they may never have discovered on their own.

Partnering with small local companies is a win-win. Healthcare systems gain access to innovation, agility, and hyper-local knowledge while small businesses secure a key client and the opportunity to positively impact health outcomes in their community. It pays for healthcare organizations to buy locally. The rewards for both parties—and the people they serve—can be huge.

Building Strong Community Ties Through Local Engagement

Building strong ties with your local community has so many benefits for a healthcare system. Here are a few of the major reasons to make local engagement a priority:

Enhanced Civic Engagement

When you buy from and support other local businesses, you’re investing in the economic and social well-being of your community. Local business owners and their employees are also more likely to be socially and civically engaged in the community. They join local organizations, volunteer their time for good causes, and are more politically active in local government. Your healthcare system benefits from an engaged, invested local community.

Improved Community Health

Sourcing locally means providing better access to fresh, nutritious food for patients, staff, and community members. It also allows you to support local farmers and encourage more sustainable agricultural practices. Buying locally is better for the environment since it reduces the carbon footprint from transporting goods and food. When people feel invested in their community, they tend to make healthier lifestyle choices and be more active and engaged citizens. All of this contributes to a healthier community overall.

Enhanced Public Safety

Local businesses and their employees have a strong incentive to keep the community safe since they live and work there. They are more likely to notice and report any suspicious activity or safety issues to the relevant local organizations and authorities. Your healthcare system benefits from an engaged community looking out for public safety.

Information Gathering

Local governments and organizations have a much better sense of the critical needs in their community. Engaging with them helps your healthcare system gain valuable insights into challenges, priorities, and opportunities for collaboration. Building strong relationships based on mutual understanding and trust leads to better information sharing and more effective partnerships.

Focusing on local engagement helps build a healthcare system that is truly integrated into the fabric of the community. By supporting small and local businesses, you gain civic participation, health, safety, and information sharing—all of which positively impact your ability to serve. Local relationships are the foundation for developing sustainable and impactful decisions.

Increasing Supplier Diversity by Contracting Small and Local Vendors

Increasing supplier diversity by contracting small and local vendors is a win-win. As a healthcare system, putting effort into finding and supporting minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses in your area just makes sense.

Job creation and economic growth

Sourcing from small, local companies keeps money circulating in your community. These businesses are more likely to hire locally, increasing employment opportunities for your neighbors and patients. They also pay local taxes that fund important services.

Culturally competent care

Engaging vendors that represent the diversity of your patient population helps ensure their needs are met. Racial disparity in healthcare access and quality are very real issues in American healthcare. Minority-owned companies may have valuable insights into reducing healthcare disparities and providing culturally sensitive care to your patients.


Smaller companies are often more agile and willing to take risks. They may come up with creative solutions larger corporations overlook. Tapping into this entrepreneurial spirit can lead to new ideas that improve patient experiences.

Community goodwill

Supporting disadvantaged groups through supplier diversity initiatives demonstrates your organization’s social responsibility. It fosters goodwill and a positive brand image, which leads to greater community trust and loyalty. Patients want to receive care from institutions that share their values.

While change can be difficult, the benefits of increasing supplier diversity far outweigh any challenges. With a commitment to equity and inclusion, your healthcare system can build a procurement program that uplifts your local community. Minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses have so much to offer. Why not start new partnerships today?

Four Benefits of Healthcare Systems Buying Local and Engaging Small Suppliers

Healthcare systems have a responsibility to support economic growth in the communities they serve. Buying supplies and services from local small businesses is one of the most impactful ways to fulfill this responsibility. Here are four major benefits your healthcare system can gain by purchasing locally:

Cost Savings

Local suppliers often provide lower costs since they have lower overhead and transportation fees. They can also provide faster delivery times, reducing inventory costs. Buying directly from local businesses may also cut out the middleman, so you pay less.

Economic Growth

Healthcare organizations are major drivers of local economies. Spending your budget locally boosts small businesses and creates more jobs. It also increases the tax base, allowing your community to fund important services. Strong, diverse local economies lead to healthier, more prosperous communities.

Environmental Sustainability

Local purchasing reduces the environmental impact of transporting goods over long distances. It also supports more sustainable agricultural and manufacturing practices in your area. Buying locally sourced produce and products is better for the health of your patients, staff, and community.

Community Goodwill

Engaging with neighborhood businesses builds goodwill and fosters mutually beneficial relationships. Your healthcare system benefits from local partnerships and word-of-mouth marketing. In turn, you can promote community health initiatives together. Staff also appreciate when their workplace supports local farmers, craftspeople, and merchants.

Buying from small, locally-owned companies has significant benefits for healthcare systems and the communities they serve. While big multinationals also have a place, local suppliers should not be overlooked as valuable business partners. A healthy community ecosystem depends on the support of anchor institutions like hospitals and healthcare networks. Make an effort to source locally whenever feasible—your community will thank you!


Buying local keeps money in your community and boosts your local economy. Small suppliers often provide superior customer service since they rely on your continued business to survive. Local sourcing also reduces the environmental impact of transportation and boosts sustainability. Engaging small businesses enhances innovation as they work to meet your specific needs. While big vendors will still have a role, making room at the table for small, local suppliers creates an immediate impact on economies your healthcare system already supports and serves. Your community and patients will thank you for it.