Changing patient demographics. Highly publicized drug shortages. Pressure to control rising costs. New market players and business models. These are just a few of the many challenges healthcare organizations have been facing in recent years. As if that weren't enough, these same organizations are now under increasing pressure to optimize and fortify their supply chains—to make their supply chains not just more efficient but also agile and resilient in the face of disruptions like those caused by COVID-19.
Healthcare supply chain analytics are one type of technology that forward-thinking organizations are using to tackle rising supply chain costs and build a smarter, more proactive healthcare ecosystem. They are using powerful analytics tools to improve the performance of supply chain processes and strengthen their supply networks to withstand disruption: to streamline tracking processes, automate time-consuming tasks, optimize inventory management, and enhance demand forecasting accuracy. Hospital systems are using healthcare supply chain analytics to reduce waste in hospital supply chains, improve overall margins, and better ensure the safety of their patients and their staff.
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How healthcare supply chain analytics are used
Sophisticated supply chain data analytics tools are being used in the healthcare sector today to drive down supply costs, which are reportedly the second highest expense for many hospitals, as well as build agility and resilience, both of which are critical in times of increased uncertainty. Hospitals, medical supply manufacturers, and other participants in the healthcare supply chain can use supply chain data and the insights extracted from that data to inform demand and capacity planning and procurement cost and inventory optimization efforts. Healthcare supply chain analytics enable organizations to better detect and predict fluctuations in demand or potential supply disruption, identify and resolve supply chain issues faster, and prevent or mitigate drug and medical supply shortages.
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Using healthcare supply chain analytics for hospital supply chain management
Healthcare supply chain analytics tools are especially useful for health systems. Leading hospitals are leveraging digital supply chain network technology to streamline, automate, and optimize hospital supply chain management. They're also using digital supply chain tools and analytics technology to:
- Track and monitor hospital supply chain metrics and KPIs.
- Improve operational efficiency and inventory management.
- Better understand supply utilization and forecast demand.
- Identify standardization opportunities and drive down procurement costs.
Healthcare supply chain analytics: benefits for healthcare providers and patients
Whether it is through BI dashboards and scorecards or more advanced healthcare supply chain analytics tools, healthcare systems can get real-time or near-real-time access to the accurate metrics and insights they need to continually improve health supply chain management. They can get actionable intelligence that they can use to make evidence-based decisions on procurement and achieve the right balance between cost and quality of care.
They can use healthcare supply chain analytics to uncover optimization opportunities, accelerate strategic sourcing initiatives, and continuously monitor and manage the financial impact of decisions made by their supply chain managers, clinicians, and other stakeholders. And they can work towards achieving a clinically integrated supply chain that is highly efficient, helps improve the quality of patient care, and turns the supply chain into a strategic factor in hospital success.
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The future of the healthcare supply chain: analytics, automation, and digital transformation
Achieving a clinically aligned supply chain isn't easy, however. It requires that organizations break down data and communication silos and coordinate workflows to facilitate the sharing of information and analytics across teams. Digital supply networks and multienterprise work management applications are two powerful technologies that forward-thinking health systems can now use to dismantle the barriers that get in the way of sharing valuable supply chain data and insights across teams and organizations. They enable seamless, end-to-end information flows and foster collaboration between internal and external teams, thereby helping supply chain managers, clinicians, and suppliers to find and fix problems fast and work together to create a more resilient supply network.
The digital supply network is a critical foundation for the digital transformation of supply chains and for the adoption of advanced healthcare supply chain analytics. It offers organizations granular visibility into their supply chains, allowing for proactive detection of potential disruption, and helps promote greater levels of collaboration. Proactive monitoring and deep collaboration throughout the supply network make it easier for supply chains to pivot fast and adapt quickly when conditions change, enabling healthcare providers to stay agile and thrive in whatever new normal the future is sure to bring.
Healthcare Supply Chain Analytics FAQs
What is healthcare supply chain analytics?
Healthcare supply chain analytics software enables health systems, pharma manufacturers, and other participants in the healthcare supply chain to reveal valuable business insights. The technology is used to improve supply chain efficiency and performance through the collection and analysis of various healthcare supply chain metrics and performance data across the end-to-end supply chain.. Healthcare supply chain analytics tools help organizations uncover important patterns, trends, and other insights in healthcare supply chain data—intelligence that they can use to anticipate shifts in demand, proactively manage resource utilization, mitigate risk, and drive continuous improvement processes.
What are the advantages of using healthcare supply chain analytics?
Healthcare supply chain analytics tools help hospitals and other healthcare providers streamline, automate, and optimize their supply chains, thereby reducing supply costs, which make up a significant and growing part of health system expenditures. They also help improve the agility and resilience of healthcare supply chains, thereby contributing to enhanced patient safety and better patient outcomes.
What technologies are being used to optimize healthcare supply chain processes?
Healthcare organizations are deploying a variety of technologies to optimize inventory management, supplier risk management, and other supply chain processes. These include IoT sensors, artificial intelligence, predictive modeling, digital networking technology, and multienterprise work management applications.