How Technology Can Enhance Supply Chain Management in Healthcare
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How Technology Can Enhance Supply Chain Management in Healthcare

Healthcare Tech Outlook | Monday, September 06, 2021

Healthcare organizations must take risks and partner with the right third-party logistics provider and leverage the power of advanced technology to create a better supply chain.

FREMONT, CA : Technology usage in healthcare is at an all-time high, from patient portals to EHR (electronic health record) systems. In supply chain management (SCM), hospitals and other health institutions have not fully adopted technology. Cutting costs has become a primary focus for several physician practices and hospitals while increasing supply chain management saves hospitals money and improves patient care efficiency.

Most hospitals' supply chain leaders still rely on manual methods and conventional systems to manage supply expenses, inventory, and other supply chain activities. As a result, supply chain expenses are near the top of the priority list for healthcare organizations and other physician practices. Many healthcare facilities focus on the billing and service part of their revenue cycle while looking for ways to cut expenses, not realizing that improving supply chain efficiency can result in significant cost savings across the company.

What is Supply Chain Management in Healthcare?

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The supply chain refers to the resources required for a business to deliver goods or services to customers. Managing the healthcare supply chain, on the other hand, is often a fragmented and complex process that includes managing supplies, collecting resources, and providing services and goods to the healthcare practitioner and patient.

Information and physical items frequently pass through many stakeholders during the process. It's essentially a network of interconnected stakeholders involved in the delivery of a product or service. Developing new ways and methods to facilitate the movement of information and products from suppliers to consumers is at the heart of any successful supply chain management strategy.

Overcoming Challenges in Healthcare SCM

Increased transparency

Some healthcare companies were able to improve their cost transparency by leveraging usage and price data. They can better manage and monitor inventory, as well as negotiate better contracts with medical manufacturers. Businesses can record consumption and demand activity when product movement (from finished products to their use on patients) is visible. They can eliminate variation and waste in their supply chain as a result of this.

Automation

By standardizing and streamlining provider orders, companies can promote price transparency by utilizing various automated methods (like computerized provider order entry systems). Additionally, RFID technology can aid in the gathering of large amounts of data from an item's barcode.

Communication

Healthcare providers must collaborate and communicate efficiently to improve performance and generate considerable cost savings, while healthcare organizations are focused on minimizing waste and redundancies. The popularity of value-based care is also increasing, a type of reimbursement for providers dependent on patient outcomes and service quality. 

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