At the start of the pandemic, health systems in the U.S. and other parts of the world were forced to find new ways of procuring and allocating critical medical supplies and equipment. Leaders at forward-thinking healthcare organizations now view the crisis as a wake-up call that led them to reevaluate hospital supply chain management and invest in technology that can help build supply chain agility and resiliency.
When a crisis disrupts hospital supply chains, health systems that achieve high levels of supply network visibility, collaboration, and data-sharing have an advantage over those that do not. Hospitals using healthcare supply chain technology to obtain greater transparency and facilitate collaboration between supply chain managers and clinicians and between hospitals and suppliers can transform the strength, efficiency, and flexibility of their supply chain into a competitive differentiator. New technologies like digital supply network platforms and multienterprise work management software can help health systems improve the efficiency of day-to-day hospital supply chain management processes. These technologies also bolster pandemic preparedness—giving them capabilities they can use to not improve supply chain efficiency and effectiveness and be ready for unexpected change.
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The imperative to improve hospital supply chain management
Effective hospital supply chain management has a direct effect on costs and the quality of care that health systems provide to patients. It has been estimated that healthcare systems can save an average of $12 million per hospital each year by streamlining and standardizing supply chain processes.
By improving hospital supply chain management with digital supply networks, multienterprise work management applications, and BI dashboards and healthcare supply chain analytics tools, organizations can dramatically cut supply costs and improve patient outcomes. They can also leverage these technologies to track and monitor critical hospital supply chain metrics, identify and eliminate inefficiencies, and optimize inventory management and resource utilization.
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Leveraging technology to improve hospital supply chain management
There are a number of ways health systems can use technology to upgrade their existing hospital supply chain management practices—to increase efficiency while also improving patient care. They include:
- Using BI dashboards and analytics tools to collect and analyze usage data, track and monitor trends in supply chain spending, and predict demand patterns.
- Using AI, predictive modeling, and supply chain digital twins to improve demand forecasting accuracy and analyze potential supply scenarios.
- Using a digital supply network and multienterprise work management applications to promote collaboration, improve inventory management, and create more tightly-aligned, patient-centric supply chains.
Improving hospital supply chain management through the digital supply network
A digital supply network platform connects supply chain partners through a scalable cloud-based platform. A digital supply network can facilitate real-time information flows, seamless multimodal communication, and collaboration across stakeholders. It can be used to integrate data from across a vast network of organizations, systems, machines, products, and people, promoting holistic thinking and data-driven decision making.
In the healthcare sector, digital supply networks can be used to improve the efficiency and resilience of hospital and retail pharmacy supply chains. Digital supply networks can be leveraged to improve hospital supply chain management by providing supply chain managers with the information they need to optimize inventory management, uncover and eliminate inefficiencies, and proactively detect and resolve potential supply issues. Organizations that leverage digital supply networks and multienterprise work management applications can achieve significant benefits like more accurate demand forecasts, better collaboration with supply partners. They're also less vulnerable to demand surges and less likely to confront supply shortages. By enhancing hospital supply chain management through the digital supply network, they manage business processes more effectively and improve patient outcomes.
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Benefits of digitizing hospital supply chain management
By facilitating transparency and regular communication, digital supply networks help improve health supply chain management, enabling healthcare providers to minimize potential supply chain disruption and ensure access to needed supplies during challenging times.
Hospital Supply Chain Management FAQs
What is hospital supply chain management?
"Hospital supply chain management" refers to all the processes involved in making sure that a health system's clinical staff have the medications, medical supplies, and non-medical supplies they need to care for patients. It includes the functions of procurement and contracting, materials management, and other functions involved in obtaining the many products, services, and materials hospitals require to care for patients.
How can you improve hospital supply chain management?
You improve the management of your healthcare supply chain by leveraging digital supply networks to streamline supply chain processes, integrate data across systems, and foster improved supply network collaboration.
Why is hospital supply chain management important?
Effective supply chain management is vital for ensuring that clinicians have the medicines and supplies they need to treat patients and the time and energy to care for their patients. By optimizing hospital supply chain management, health systems can boost supply chain efficiency and resilience while also helping to ensure the safety of their staff and patients and improving quality of care.