Digitally transforming hospital and healthcare trust supply chain processes brings significant financial and efficiency benefits, but it can also have a profoundly positive effect on patient safety. James Minards discusses how digital transformation of the healthcare supply chain can provide the key to unlocking much higher standards of patient safety.
The digitalisation of the healthcare supply chain can bring a number of efficiency benefits, potentially helping to lower costs and ease procurement operations. However, properly using data and technology doesn’t just help a hospital or healthcare trust’s bottom line, it can also directly benefit patient safety. So, away from efficiencies and an improved bottom line, how can the digitalisation and automation of the healthcare supply chain improve the patient experience and ultimately help keep them safer?
Through data-driven transformation of a hospital or healthcare trust’s inventory management system, doctors will have access to enhanced data capture of materials such as real-time tracking of serial numbers, expiration dates and other critical batch information. Enabling better visibility of product information can give doctors and other clinical staff better insight into what they are using, with this improved data capture also allowing for better tracking of materials already used. Practically, this means that if a patient undergoes surgery for a titanium hip, for example, staff will be able to record which implant was used and enable enhanced welfare checks and proactive measures to be taken in the event that the batch of materials used is recalled. In addition, with the introduction of the Medicines and Medical Devices Act, hospitals are required by law to capture this data. This new legislation is being policed by the MHRA, which further adds to the focus on patient safety.
At GHX, our work with hospitals such as St James’ in Dublin has also enabled better standardisation and regulatory compliance, which allows for enhanced patient welfare to be implemented quickly and effectively. As the largest acute academic teaching hospital in the Republic of Ireland, St James’ provides a comprehensive range of diagnostic and treatment hospital services to a population in excess of 300,000 at local, regional and national levels. By deploying GHX’s digital solution, the hospital was able to quickly adopt new healthcare standards and regulations such as the Unique Device Identifier, and consume the associated data, giving end users valuable information to make informed decisions that ultimately improve the quality of patient care. As well as tracking healthcare materials, digitally upgrading the medical supply chain also improves patient safety by unlocking data-driven decision-making processes and streamlined regulatory compliance.
In addition to improved oversight and data capture for clinical materials, the digital transformation of the healthcare supply chain can also enhance patient safety by enabling more staff to focus on clinical rather than inventory management roles. By automating time-consuming tasks such as stock level checks and procurement, frontline nurses and doctors can spend more time with patients, allowing for an improved patient experience.
Digitally transforming hospital and healthcare trust supply chain processes brings significant financial and efficiency benefits, but it can also have a profoundly positive effect on patient safety. From better visibility and tracking of clinical materials to decreasing the time spent on administrative tasks and giving nurses and doctors more time to focus on patient care, data-enabled digitalisation within healthcare can provide the key to unlocking much higher standards of patient safety.