Supply chain management in healthcare

Supply chain management in healthcare

  • Posted On : 4/24/2019 3:01 PM

The delivery of medical supplies from a distribution center to the hands of a medical professional is one of the most important workflows and systems for a hospital or facility. This is because these medical items could help save patients life or keep the patient safe. This is why the healthcare industry needs to have a streamlined system in place for all healthcare supply chain systems and this is how it can be done.  

The importance of supply chain in healthcare

Supply chain management in the healthcare industry is similar to all other ones. It’s the management of supplies from one place to the next. Whether this place be a pharmacy to a critical care unit, it’s promoting efficiency in the process of resources that need to be delivered from one area to another.

The healthcare supply chain  starts at a medical product manufacturer where items are produced and sent to a distribution center. From the distribution center the product will be scanned, stored or sent out then distributed to the right organization or hospital. From there, the hospital is responsible for their own healthcare supply chain management.

The issues

With the healthcare supply chain, there are a number of issues that can arise from overnight shipping to drug shortages. Some of the main concerns are:

  • Lack of integration: It’s no secret that the healthcare industry has fallen short on the adaptation of technology and other important tech to help better the industry. As the systems continue to phase out rural healthcare and merge smaller hospitals with larger, well known corporations, comes the issues of supply chain still properly being managed on a day-to-day basis.

  • Poor workflows:  The flow of a healthcare professionals from one place to the next in a hospital is critical; in return, the same goes for supply chain management. How medication is received, tracked, distributed and stored all matters in the daily workflow for everyone who inhabits this hospital. A poor workflow can cause for lost medication, a miscount of medication or a lack of streamline systems to help keep track of all items.

  • Shipping: The average Amazon shopper isn’t the only one who wants overnight shipping. The healthcare industry NEEDs an efficient overnight shipping set in place for critical emergencies that can happen in a matter of seconds.

One could say that the proper healthcare supply chain system set in place is important to help provide the best patient care, safety and satisfaction at the end of the day.  

What can hospitals implement?

As Mike Rip, Director of the Master of Science in Healthcare Management from Michigan University states, “Healthcare is not based on supply and demand. It can’t be stocked like it’s a traditional product.” So, how can the healthcare system implement a new tool into their system to help with this issue?

The right medical storage cabinets can help with data collection and overall storage issues. For some hospitals, the influx and amount of items that need to be on hand are stored offsite in a warehouse. On the other hand, not all hospitals are large enough to handle this, so the best cabinets are necessary to track, log, measure and securely hold any needed medical items.  

If the medical storage cabinet is equipped with the right data collection the unit can track and measure all ingoing and outgoing items; in return, will send alerts in real time to the computer system in place. This is one way a supply chain system can be managed and enhanced in the healthcare industry.  

At the end of the day, the healthcare supply chain is very different than the average day-to-day supply chain system for those Amazon Prime shoppers.

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