Creating A Healthcare Supply Chain Management Strategy in the Cloud

Healthcare providers are handling millions of dollars of inventory on an annual basis, with hospital supply chain costs one of the largest expenses to manage. In fact, according to Healthcare Finance, by 2020 supply chain costs will eclipse labor as the number one healthcare cost. To keep costs down, hospitals are looking for strategic ways to improve productivity, keep accurate count of materials on-hand, and increase the visibility of those items across departments.

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The good news – a well thought out cloud supply chain strategy can accomplish all this and more, including helping reduce tensions between departments. The more challenging news is that it might take a culture shift to accomplish. Let’s look at the prominent healthcare orgs and why materials management should matter to them:

  • C-Level Executives: Managing millions of dollars’ worth of materials is a big deal, and getting better at it is essential to not only remaining relevant but keeping the lights on. There is also increased pressure to improve efficiency while maintaining the bottom line. During this shift of reducing costs, supply chain must become more of a focus for C-Level executives. Making even a small reduction to inventory levels and costs will have a big impact on the bottom line.
  • IT: Staying on old, outdated systems prevents you from taking advantage of today’s more powerful Cloud applications that cost less to own​. The long-term benefits of moving your inventory management to the Cloud include:
    • Being responsive to change at a time when change occurs at a faster rate than ever​
    • Leveraging modern best practices and new features that reduce costs without compromising patient care ​
    • Being able to decrease the cost of IT​ 
  • Finance: The responsibility of maintaining financial viability even while the cost of patient care continues to rise, reimbursement rates have declined, wages are increasing​ and volume - not margin - has become the norm​. The top priority is getting a handle on revenue and expenses to reduce costs. Investment into supply chain management pays off because you gain real-time access to the data needed to make better decisions quickly​. Having access to this information means you can:
    • More easily and efficiently handling consolidations and acquisitions
    • Containing core operating costs through standardization of systems and processes
  • Supply Chain: The potential to influence costs across every line of the business is very real for the Supply Chain Department. While negotiating rates and limiting the number of suppliers a hospital uses saves money and makes the procurement process more predictable, that is not the only way you can impact the bottom line. Leveraging a modern, powerful, Cloud-based system for SCM Cloud can streamline the materials management processes to maximize visibility into your inventory. This visibility means you can identify waste and duplication. 

  • Clinicians: This is simple: you don’t want doctors and nurses ordering and managing supplies; they should be with their patients. It is also imperative that they have the supplies they need to do their jobs. The Supply Chain team should be making sure PAR locations are stocked with everything your clinicians need to get the job done.

Why Should Mobile Be A Part of your Strategy?

A mobile materials management system, like RF-SMART, allows healthcare providers to take control of their inventory and eliminate outdated, manual, paper and Excel-driven tracking methods. Using a mobile PAR solution, Supply Chain can keep clinicians on the floor updated with what is available in the stockroom, makes sure the ER and Cath lab have everything they need for tomorrow’s cases, update the physician on when to expect a certain PO, recommend a more cost-effective product or replenish the PAR location before they even notice it’s low.

Benefits include:

  • Reduce time required to manage materials​
  • Increase visibility and productivity of materials workers​
  • Improve data accuracy a via Mobile Materials scanning for Storerooms, PAR Locations and Deliveries​
  • Automate data entry of hundreds if not thousands of transactions per day​
  • Minimizing variability (consistency) of items to buy/manage (fewer SKUs) ​and influence contract pricing

No matter your role in the healthcare supply chain industry, moving to a Cloud-based inventory management strategy means you can get back to your main focus - your patients.  

Learn more about creating your cloud-based strategy with an Oracle Healthcare solution from RF-SMART.

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