Reducing operating costs in the healthcare industry is a big challenge. That said, supply chain is an area of opportunity for cost savings. The conventional healthcare supply chain is fragmented, vulnerable owing to the conflicting goals and isn’t operational under anyone. Orders are placed by different parties within a single facility and fulfilled by multiple manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors. This traditional model of hospitals and healthcare supply, loading dock fills up quickly and regularly with bulk delivery and small orders coming continuously which needs to be put away in a warehouse or distributed around a campus.
Although utilization of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) and various other inventory management technologies came from earlier adopters, the implementation of these resources is becoming necessary to manage all healthcare networks that continue to develop. Jean-Claude Saghbini, Chief Technology Officer at Wolters Kluwer Health finds that hospitals investing in neo-technologies have realized in cost savings through inventory reduction. The reduction in inventories can rise between 20-25 percent that gets transferred to millions of dollars. On utilizing the enhanced technologies, Saghbini observes that there is a decrease in expiration rates, increase in patients’ safety, and seamless tracking of healthcare products to hospitals, healthcare units, dispensaries, and medicine shops. These beneficial factors can annually add up to 150-300 percent return on investment (ROI), to not only the hospitals but also the device manufacturers.
The modern and improved supply chain system has given rise to an increasing trend towards centralization and customer-centric thinking. However, the approach varies from one country to another. But the commonness that drives ahead is the need for an efficient hospital and healthcare supply chains. More importantly, it should cost less and facilitate better service.
The aim towards implementing healthcare supply chain is driven by the need to achieve more with fewer resources. It has been widely noticed that internal hospital logistics are more complex as compared to external ones. Medical staffs have been alleged umpteen times for spending unwanted amounts of their pay time in performing logistical activities than devoting time to patients.
Saghbini talks about the benefits of RFID’s abilities in integrating data across the healthcare network like electronic medical records, hospital’s material management systems. He also explores ways to leverage RFID in such a manner that allows communication with near-field communication in patients’ mobiles.