The transition from volume to value in the healthcare industry is driving many changes, including changes in the delivery of care. Moving patient care outside of traditional care sites to outpatient facilities, to communities, and to patient homes means that supply chain will face new challenges managing supplies across different facilities and geographies.
In a recent article for Health Data Management, Chris Luoma explores how supply chain can support this change. In this shift, supply chain will be solving more complex logistics relating to delivery to multiple facilities with variation in storage from location to location and sites will likely specialize in different services requiring different products. Connecting each point of service will be critical with the expectation from this expansion to better serve populations across the continuum of care.
Healthcare supply chain teams have been preparing to take on this challenge for the last decade—incorporating modern technology and driving industry-wide best practices to support daily functions, improve efficiency, and reduce complexity. Contracting and procurement have seen progress with standardization and technology systems that generate data to support strategic sourcing.
Cost and efficiency will remain a priority as supply chain looks to find ways to provide products and services across a distributed environment and data will be essential to managing costs. At issue will be the ability to gather purchasing data from across multiple points of care to understand what products are being purchased and then use the data to take advantage of volume. Clinician engagement will be even more important to help determine which products deliver the best outcomes for the patient, especially taking into account the potential differences in how products perform or are used from location to location (outpatient vs. in-home, etc.).
Moving care beyond the traditional acute care facility presents an opportunity to provide more patient-centric care, to improve outcomes and to also reduce costs. Leveraging success over the last decade, supply chain is positioned to help the healthcare industry succeed in this shift and continue to knock down walls for better patient outcomes.