The use of technology in hospitals has been growing over the last decade, and it has now reached record levels. However, it may be surprising to realize that healthcare supply chain management (SCM) in hospitals has not fully embraced technology. According to a recent survey of 100 hospitals, almost half of these hospitals use less sophisticated/outdated tools or manual processes, such as Excel spreadsheets, to manage supply costs, inventories, and other supply chain activities.
According to the Health Resources and Materials Management Association (AHRMM), the cost of managing health care supply chains will soon exceed the cost of wages in the first place. But there is good news; such surveys show the potential for significant cost savings in healthcare supply chain management. For example, an analysis by consulting firm Navigant estimated that by standardizing and streamlining healthcare supply chain management processes, hospitals could save an average of $ 11 million per hospital, or 17.7% annually.
What is Healthcare Supply Chain Management
The purchase, distribution, and movement of products and services from the receiving deck to the patient cover the process of managing the supply chains of medical services.
There are many problems in the process of managing the supply chain of medical services. The main problems are the demand for specific types of goods in inventory, the accumulation of stocks, problems that are not in stock, which can lead to expensive delivery costs, expiration of goods, unjustified increase in stocks based on demand, and theft, among others. These problems can contribute to extrabudgetary supply costs.
Managing health care supply chains is an extremely complex process. Poor product standardization, inadequate data reporting, lack of automation throughout the process, and increasing regulatory requirements only add to the difficulties. Thus, the easiest way to get rid of all these difficulties is to incorporate advanced technologies into the process of managing health care supply chains.
Healthcare Supply Chain Management Technology
Advanced healthcare supply chain management technologies are developed to transform the supply chain process into a more efficient one by automating repetitive manual tasks in hospitals and other healthcare organizations. Minimizing waste, enabling timely data-driven decision making, streamlining inventory, and reducing labor, supply, and operating costs are the top benefits of healthcare supply chain management software.
There are mainly two types of healthcare supply chain management technology solutions, enterprise resource planning systems and niche healthcare inventory and supply chain management solutions.
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems — Furthermore, interested providers often do not have the necessary healthcare expertise. As this is primarily implemented by larger, non-healthcare companies, it may take longer to implement. Plus, it requires dedicated customization resources. This makes it inflexible for healthcare industry supply chain management.
- Niche healthcare inventory and supply chain solutions — This type is known as the best healthcare supply chain management solution. They provide flexible, healthcare-oriented solutions as they are affordable and incorporate deeper industry knowledge. These systems can also target specific areas such as interventional medicine, surgery, and other health departments.
Why Should Hospitals Invest in Healthcare SCM Technology
Although hospitals and other healthcare organizations have shown excellent performance in the fight against COVID-19, the pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in the current healthcare supply chain management process. Supply shortages, especially the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), highlighted how mismanagement of the healthcare supply chain affected healthcare providers. The underlying concern behind supply shortages is that hospital supply chains are ill-prepared for the future of healthcare. Organizations depend on old models, which are not innovative, agile or advanced enough to meet the requirements of the modern world driven by technology and data.
Automating healthcare supply chain management will be an important differentiator for hospitals today and in the future, impacting all aspects, including brand reputation, consumer trust, and quality of attention. Healthcare leaders, such as heads of organizations and hospital administrators, need a new healthcare supply chain management system to deliver care at a lower cost. To meet this requirement, they must make bold decisions and accelerate their healthcare supply chain transformation.
Accelerating the transformation of healthcare supply chain management will be based on many imperatives, which are related to process, people and technology. Digital transformation focused on these areas will accelerate the growth and long-term sustainability of healthcare supply chain management.
Digital transformation to elevate the healthcare supply chain to new levels
The healthcare industry has placed importance, in addition to information systems and key business technologies, to electronic medical record platforms over the past decade. Today, the healthcare industry is on the brink of a digital revolution. Various technologies, such as robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), are opening new doors for healthcare organizations to evolve to a level beyond anything previously imagined. It will surely affect the management of the healthcare supply chain.
However, the healthcare supply chain has yet to keep pace with changing technologies. To create a fully developed supply chain, hospitals must find innovative ways to integrate their physical process with digital data. Hospitals must start using tools like predictive analytics alongside digital statistics and information to drive decisions.
Investing in this technology, the integrated management of the healthcare supply chain, hospitals and other healthcare organizations will help achieve optimal benefits. However, you need an efficient deployment of new technologies, such as the integration of ML and AI, and to keep a health system running.
Collaboration between people and technology for better results
Years of operation in traditional systems have slowed the progress of healthcare supply chain management. Since the consequences of running out of stock can be devastating in the healthcare system, leaders and clinicians must look at the supply chain differently. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened and reinforced the need for better collaboration. Now leaders must act in time to solidify these changes, brought on by the pandemic, to prevent people from reverting to behaviors that were problematic in the past.
Automation will make the future of the workforce and supply chain workflows more efficient. The greatness of the impact on the future performance of healthcare supply chain management depends on the greatness of the automation of work. Hospitals need to focus heavily on technology to perform various repetitive tasks, including delivering food trays to patients, collecting supplies and taking them to caregivers, picking up box trolleys, and transporting supply trolleys to hospitals. storage rooms. Staff efficiency increases when repetitive tasks and predictable work are automated and performed by robots. This helps staff focus on more complex tasks that drive innovation and value…Read More