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Healthcare Supply Chains: Eliminating Guesswork and Manual Processes

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Healthcare Supply Chains: Eliminating Guesswork and Manual Processes

By: Danny Mareco February 10, 2016   0 Category: Healthcare, Strategy

Nearly 45% of all healthcare operating costs come from supply chain departments. With every hospital under increasing pressure to boost efficiency, raise patient satisfaction ratings and drive down costs, it only makes sense for hospital executives to update their supply chains first.

According to a recent study by Gartner, hospital supply chain departments can reduce costs up to 15% if they improve their planning, analysis and control of the purchase and use of their goods and services.

This reduction in costs can directly translate into an increase in profits by between 2% and 7%.

It’s not a secret, healthcare supply chain departments need to lower their expenditures by eliminating waste like outdated manual processes.

Here’s a quick guide to help you get started.

Automating Processes

Hospitals have always been full of data, what used to be on 1000’s of pieces of paper are now being generated by 1000’s of devices.

First off, you need the ability to accurately and automatically collect all of the data that’s being generated inside the hospital environment.

This is typically done using RTLS, RFID tags or different types of sensors that push this data back to a software product that sits on-top of your network.

Then you need to have the ability to automatically leverage that data, turning it into meaningful information that can be used to make smarter, faster decisions.

By automatically collecting and using real-time data executive decision makers can have a clear, accurate picture of mission critical data points such as current supply levels and equipment utilization levels.

This can eliminate problems like purchasing new equipment you don’t need and having excess product.

Suggested Reading: "What Hospital Executives Can Expect to See in 2016: 3 Healthcare Technology Trends"

Historical Data

While real-time data is usually the star of the show it’s also important to have the ability to track and utilize historical data.

Historical data gives decision makers the ability to find patterns and identify potentially hard to see areas of waste.

For example, using historical data hospital executives can see how and when equipment is being used, which can help drive proactive decisions to be made rather than waiting and reacting to a problem.

Current Value Stream Mapping

This is a tool that’s commonly used with a lean healthcare strategy, where you map out your current processes to identify where waste is occurring and where automation can have a positive impact.

It allows you to own each process and engage with everyone and everything involved in that process. This can be a valuable tool when transitioning from legacy processes.

A lot of times staff members can be hesitant or resistant to change and new technology, but by involving everyone often and early you can ensure you get the best out of your staff and your new processes.

There are different kinds of technology pieces at play here, all working together to produce the positive results you’re trying to achieve.

From your infrastructure, to real-time location services, sensors and finally software applications pulling it all together, technology is what helps you to measure your strategy’s success, enabling you to make better decisions.

If you have any questions about how to use technology to eliminate waste and lower the cost of healthcare, please contact us here, we’d love to see how we can help. 

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