Technology is highly leveraged in hospitals from HER to patient portals, but hospitals have not fully embraced technology in one area- inventory management or also called supply chain management (SCM).
Fremont, CA: Healthcare SCM refers to the procurement and distribution of products and services as they shift from the receiving dock to the patient. SCM comes with numerous challenges; the major issues include hoarding of supplies, demand for specific kinds of products in inventory, product expirations, out-of-stock issues, which might lead to expensive delivery charges, pilferage, and an unwarranted increase in the inventory dollars based on demand. These and other issues contribute to out-of-budget supply costs.
Healthcare SCM is highly problematic. Inadequate data reporting, poor product standardization, more regulatory requirements, and a lack of automation only add to the complexities.
Automating Healthcare Supply Chain Management
Supply chain software simplifies and automates the repetitive manual tasks carried out within healthcare organizations to achieve a simple goal: achieving an efficient supply chain process. The many benefits of software automation consist of streamlining inventory; minimizing waste; allowing timely, data-based decision-making; and reducing supply, labor, and operational costs.
Some fundamental features to confirm while selecting a supply chain automation system include the following:
• Communication: Integrates systems and manages hospital workflows and processes by sending and receiving files for clinical and financial systems.
• Ease-of-use: Enables managers, operators, and care providers to achieve efficient system operations and maintain the standardization of processes.
• Scalability: Includes consolidated management tools for both single and multiple site locations.
• Open, flexible design: Helps users achieve data integrity for the devices in use.
• Reporting and analytics: Generates accurate, real-time inventory reporting information from receiving to patient care.
• Supply chain methodologies: Includes PAR, Kanban, ROP/ROQ, EOQ/ROP, Min/Max, and Consignment capabilities; utilizes sound processes and practices for specific department requirements related to supply chain demands.
• Superior service: Creates effective clinical and financial workflow design, defines implementation requirements, and provides support before, during, and after implementation.
Automation and data analytics play a vital role in managing an efficient healthcare supply chain. Because close attention to the supply chain is one of the most effective cost-reducing strategies in hospitals, investing in state-of-the-art technology can offer colossal ROI.