GHX Unveils Predictions for Healthcare Supply Chain in 2021

Forecast includes automation within the Supply Chain, adoption of cloud-based technologies, non-acute care delivery and renewed focus on data standards
Cambridge, UNITED KINGDOM — 01 December 2020

Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX) unveiled its top five predictions for the healthcare supply chain during 2021. While COVID-19 highlighted fissures in the global healthcare supply chain, it also underscored the importance of the supply chain in driving healthcare’s digital transformation. As healthcare forges a path to financial recovery and improved patient care delivered at lower cost, expect to see a focus on building more resilient supply chains through greater levels of collaboration among stakeholders and the adoption of cloud-based technologies and data automation.


GHX 2021 Predictions:

  1. Automation and ‘Private Sector Approach’ will create a more resilient healthcare supply chain

There will be an increasing number of medical facilities, clinics and hospitals that turn to automation to streamline processes across the healthcare sector. The key to greater supply chain resilience and efficiency will be the availability of actionable data, and 2021 will be the year that organisations deploy solutions like Inventory Management software or scanning technology to helps achieve this aim. Organisations will also start to adopt a ‘private sector approach’ to supplier relationships with movement away from an ‘us and them’ mentality to develop more synergies with suppliers.


  1. The era of post-modern ERP will dawn in healthcare, marked by widespread adoption of cloud solutions and enterprise modernisation.

In 2021, the big winners will be the organisations that move to a cloud-based ERP and invest in enterprise modernisation to ensure the integrity of their data. Health networks need the ability to adapt to trends, including telehealth, managing remote clinicians and extending the supply chain to the patient’s home. Organisations that make the move to cloud ERP and modernisation will improve processes and make better-informed decisions based on accurate and current data-driven insights.


  1. The industry’s focus on supply chain resiliency will transform healthcare into a “team sport.”

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the power of collaboration in solving complex problems. During the year ahead, expect to see more collaboration, including further progress at the regional level, greater investment in data management and forecasting initiatives by suppliers and providers, reliance on more clinical evidence to drive purchasing decisions, heightened transparency between providers and suppliers (even contractually obligated transparency) and exploration of stockpile strategies that share cost, rotate to avoid expirations and create supply buffers to avoid future shortages.


  1. Data standards will be more broadly adopted to support immediate pandemic and future emergency response needs.

COVID-19 raised awareness of the importance of standardisation, whether identifying products and locations or reporting potential and actual supply continuity risks. In 2021, expect a greater drive in adoption of data standards, which will help the healthcare ecosystem increase efficiency, lower costs and improve patient safety.


  1. Non-acute settings will receive a digital upgrade to improve their resiliency as demands on primary care increase

The NHS Long Term Plan highlighted the transition of care from an acute tertiary level to community and primary as a prime target area over the next 10 years. Additionally, the ongoing prevalence of COVID-19 will result in care delivery increasing in non-acute settings. This will present challenges within the supply chain for things like stockholdings and requisitions for replenishment, which will become more disparate and consequentially more difficult to manage efficiently. The development of drop-in, top-up points for community staff and robust technological solutions for the management of inventory are going to be crucial in delivering efficiencies and appropriate governance in non-acute settings.


About GHX

Building on decades of collaboration between providers, manufacturers, distributors and other industry stakeholders, Global Healthcare Exchange, LLC (GHX) is leading the charge in helping organisations run the new business of healthcare. By automating key business processes and translating evidence-based analytics and data into meaningful action, GHX is helping the healthcare ecosystem to move faster, operate more intelligently and achieve greater outcomes. With the support of GHX, healthcare organisations have removed billions of dollars of wasteful healthcare spend.