Healthcare Supply Chain: Benefits of Supply Chain Management in Healthcare
What is a Healthcare Supply Chain?
This is the process of delivering an approved drug or device to a patient. Healthcare Supply Chain Management comprises several processes, involvement of different team members, movement of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other essential items. Suppliers, partners, and HCPs work together in the entire supply chain process to deliver the best service or product to a patient.
The major activities involved in healthcare supply chain management are continuous monitoring of drug availability, medical devices, and medical services from drug maker to patient. To optimize the supply chain process, hospitals can reap the benefits of supply chain management digitally as it enables them to spend more time with patients, especially critical ones.
What is the Role of Supply Chain In Healthcare?
The role of healthcare supply chain management is to identify and remove bottlenecks, and other emerging issues arising in the entire supply chain while simultaneously getting control over pointless spending. Hospitals can respond quickly to any events like natural calamities and pandemics when supply chain activities are managed digitally.
How Can Digital Healthcare Supply Chain Help?
- Mostly in hospitals, there is widespread usage of clinical order systems, inventory systems, and supply chain systems as disjointed systems. Consequently, patients face challenges in getting much-needed services. Many hospitals struggle to manage inventory data and generate POs with no advanced EHR/EMR software. Or if there is automation in hospitals, products are not integrated well, which leads to a mismatch between the demand and supply of drugs and other items.
- Hospitals’ CIOs and CEOs can eliminate pitfalls if there is a set up of EHR/EMR modules that are pre-integrated into a simple SCM platform. Without any problems, companies will see transformation in operational efficiency, a critical focus on the workforce, and the Just in Time (JIT) Inventory. Undoubtedly, without the integration of hospital inventory and supply chain systems in a digital platform, managing a hospital is worrisome.
- Frequently, doctors have very less visibility of inventory. They might prescribe drugs that are not currently available, which results in a delay in the treatment of patients. Together with this, there are scenarios of black marketing of drugs that lead to the unwanted variance in the actual cost of goods sold and the cost of goods purchased.
To overcome these challenges, the digital system can bring its capabilities for proper stock management, indent workflow, item consumption list, and real-time updates. Such infrastructure will surely streamline the whole inventory management process.
Irrespective of persistent efforts to reduce the carrying cost of product supply, which is usually high in critical vaccines and drugs, personnel involved in managing these processes encounter many challenges. Some of them are time-taking manual methods to compare different quotations, lead time to buy any drug, and purchasing any expensive device or drug.
To maintain the momentum of the business, flexible and easy-to-use systems should be in reach with a feature to identify the need for drugs in time and get accurate forecasts.
Benefits Of Digital Supply Chain Management In Healthcare
When healthcare companies implement the digital SCM platform, the benefits of supply chain management are numerous such as proper utilization of resources, on-time delivery of drugs, and improved business processes. Apart from these, some of them are given below:
- Allows clear and transparent communication: This not only provides visibility of the supply chain but also increases effective communication and collaboration among the healthcare supply chain, which can improve the productivity of the staff and supply chain partners.
- Helps realize scalability opportunities: Accurate forecast and optimize inventory planning and management bridge the gap between demand and supply of drugs.
- Offers compatibility with other devices: The SCM platform is easy to use, compatible with other devices and has an interactive user interface (UI).
- Cost-effective solutions for healthcare establishments: With the introduction of automation of business processes there is optimum use of available resources, sound planning of stocks, transparency, and elimination of hoarding practices by staff members.
- Improves patient safety: When Electronic Health (EHRs) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are integrated into a single SCM platform, it enables healthcare professionals (HCPs) to offer the best possible service or product for the welfare of patients.
- Makes short supply products more accessible: Visibility of Stocks helps hospitals plan in advance for the availability of products. This leads to a reduction in the shortage or unnecessary wastage of products in the future.
A few more benefits are listed below:
- GRN is a file that shows the receipts of goods by the customer. It acts as proof that goods are delivered and the customer has received them. Manually managing it is a painstaking effort, which sometimes causes errors. To resolve this, a well-designed software can automate the whole process of returning expired drugs or items and updating the free good inventory.
- With the revolutionary technology, the Integration of Goods and Services Tax invoicing, payments, and availing input tax credit at each Point of Sale (point of sale) can be automated; tax payments and claiming credit become a lot simpler.
- As automated systems can easily track vendors’ rates, it can help in mitigating the risk of hoarding. This will allow you to get rid of traditional processes.
By knowing the benefits of supply chain management in the healthcare industry, healthcare providers can improve patient experience, minimize manual errors in daily business activities, optimize inventory and streamline departmental activities.
Initial discussions can help you if you still have any doubts or queries. You can connect with us anytime. As we believe that when Healthcare professionals (HCPs) have a reliable and cost-effective SCM platform they are empowered to do a lot more than what they are currently doing.
This is just one aspect of what happens when there is a collaboration between hospitals and technology. Together, we can transform the patient journey in a hospital.
If you want to see how we can help your hospital give what is expected from your patients, feel free to reach out to us.