The supply chain outlines the flow of goods and products from suppliers and manufacturers to the end consumers. Healthcare SCM comprises receiving resources, managing suppliers, and delivering products to patients. Today, we’ll discuss healthcare supply chain management; its definition, key benefits, and challenges.
In order to deliver information and goods, medical supplies go through a series of independent and autonomous stakeholders and they’re as follows;
- Insurance companies
- Service providers
- Group procuring companies
- Regulatory agencies
- Pharmacists and pharmacies
- Pharmaceutical quality standard developers
- Health system
Managing the SC process is a very fragmented and complex process, and it becomes even more difficult when you require high-quality goods at an affordable and economical price. When it comes to promoting efficiency in the healthcare SC, the methods and strategies of doctors and hospitals would allow you to decrease cost opportunities across the company.
What is Healthcare Supply Chain Management?
Healthcare supply chain management has the obligation of providing and stocking healthcare institutions and companies with medical supplies and managing inventory. Hospitals face the challenge of streamlining their SC process with the delivery model. However, some of the medical and healthcare supplies are as follows;
- Prescription Drugs
Healthcare SCM begins with the product of the manufacturers and producers of medical goods and suppliers and delivering it to the distribution centers. Hospitals and healthcare service providers procure supplies and inventors either directly from the distributors and manufacturers, or by conducting the transaction through group purchasing companies. It develops a purchasing contract with manufacturers on behalf of the hospitals.
Sending medical supplies and goods to the hospitals, where you maintain a stock of goods for the patients and service providers. Companies make sure that the healthcare service providers have got sufficient stock of life-saving medical supplies and equipment.
Regulatory institutions play a key role in the healthcare SCM and they are as follows;
- Private health insurance companies
- Healthcare payers
- Federal drug administration
Benefits of Healthcare SCM
Some of the main benefits of healthcare SCM are as follows;
Efficiency & Transparency
The goal of healthcare SCM is to amplify transparency and efficiency across the SC processes. Getting everything right means that SC partners have the capability to recognize and resolve potential disruptions, bottlenecks, and other issues at the end of the SC channel. It helps you to amplify safety and patient care while decreasing unnecessary spending and wastage.
Supporting & Monitoring
Supporting and monitoring the movement of medical supplies, equipment, and medicines are the key activities of healthcare SCM. It comprises SC quality management, risk management, planning, supplier relationship management, optimization, and SC automation. However, when companies employ digital technology and tools, it means utilizing key insight from various sources to make adjustments in the SC processes and systems.
Resilient & Robust
Digital healthcare SCM tools allow you to quickly respond to changing circumstances and immediate disruptions. Tech and digital transformation in the healthcare SCM help you to optimize and streamline various SC processes. Employing the latest technology would help them in the following ways;
- High SC visibility and transparency from end-to-end
- Recognizing and managing potential issues and bottlenecks
- Getting real-time view
When you integrate clinical data with SC, then healthcare SC analytics would help you in the following ways;
- Effectively responding to the changing market conditions
- Optimizing inventory management and planning
- Accurate demand forecasting
Digital SCM tools and equipment would help you to improve speed and time by amplifying collaboration and communication across the SC channels. When you amplify the transparency and trust across the SC network, then it helps you to quickly respond to market challenges effectively and efficiently.
Challenges to Healthcare SCM
Some of the main challenges to healthcare supply chain management are as follows;
Conflict of Interest
The objective of hospitals is to procure quality materials and supplies at an economical price; pharmaceutical companies want to amplify their profitability by selling their products and supplies. The goals of SC companies and the hospitals can’t go hand in hand, and it results in the form of inefficient SCM processes.
The process of procurement takes time and the procurement managers have to wait for the supplier to arrive and remain in contact with the delivery service providers. Time and resources invested in the process fall under the category of invisible cost, and people usually avoid this invisible cost.
The SC cost would increase due to various economical factors like inflation and interest rates, and it would increase the cost of medical devices and items.
Conclusion: Healthcare Supply Chain Management
After an in-depth study of healthcare supply chain management; we have realized that SCM plays a key role in the development of healthcare companies. If you are learning about the processes of healthcare SCM, then you should keep in mind the abovementioned elements, advantages, and disadvantages.
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