The supply chain is growing larger than ever for manufacturers, as only labor costs more for most organizations, according to Bruce Johnson, CEO of GHX, on HIT Consultant Media. The hospital supply chain is one area where leaders are specifically looking for ways money can be saved and efficiency can be gained. One way to do this is driving price visibility and accuracy, which could be helped by adopting inventory control software.
"Healthcare providers need improved ways to manage prices for items being purchased both on- and off-contract," he wrote. "Best practices include identifying: products that a provider is frequently purchasing and at what prices; products that are being purchased off-contract; identifying like-products and determining whether or not they can be grouped into contracts for future purchases; and then assimilating those items into group purchasing organization [GPO] or supplier contracts."
Preparing for the new Unique Device Identifiers regulations is another issue for hospital supply chains and manufacturers. While this may not go into effect until next year, preparations should begin now. New levels of collaboration should be created, data sharing must be improved and processes must be made repeatable among trusted business partners.
Organizations must also find visibility into the demand for their products, something that could be done via enterprise resource planning, and ensure product data and inventory repositories are accurate, Johnson wrote. Saving money will be critical for better patient engagement and an improved healthcare system.
Jonathan Ketcham, assistant professor at the School of Health Management and Policy at Arizona State University, told the school's website that he found in his research that the runaway costs in supply chain operations are due to hospitals and doctors not being in a position to collaborate, thereby creating misalignment of incentives between the physicians and hospitals. Supply chain and warehouse management systems will likely be key to helping bridge this gap within the healthcare industry.
Health Sector Supply Chain Research Consortium Co-director Natalia Wilson said management in the healthcare industry is finally coming out of the basement and officials are starting to see the benefits across the board, according to the news source. The efficiency and effectiveness calling cards of supply chain management are starting to shine through across the industry.
"This is a critically important area because it highly impacts patient care," Wilson told the ASU website. "High quality care is the number one goal for everyone."
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