Wireless Technology In The Hospital Supply Chain
Written by Emily Couch
Read This Article In The May Edition Of Healthcare Global's Digital Magazine
The hospital supply chain has been trying to pull alongside its counterparts in the retail and manufacturing industries when it comes to the implementation of wireless technology in their facilities. A hospitals supply chain is one of the most complex operations within the hospital. The adoption of wireless technology as a means to manage and lower the cost of hospital supplies and streamline the management of the supply chain is becoming a hot topic at the forefront of the healthcare industry. The goal of reducing cost while providing high-quality medical care is a top strategic objective.
When trying to lower annual cost and save money, one of the first steps any healthcare facilities should take is to look at all aspects of their supply chain. On average, one-third of their budget is allocated to supplies, which is only second to labor cost. Conventionally hospitals only used logistics software to track and manage high-cost elements; in today's economy it dictates that organizations should use software tools to identify any elements that could be causing them to lose money.
Putting The Emphasis On Software
It is critically important to rely on data collection tools. In the nations unpredictable economy it is imperative for hospitals to examine every part of their supply chain for any possible areas of cost savings. All supply chain categories, including information technology, facilities and purchased services, should be accounted for. Cost savings can come from unlikely places and that’s why relying on supply software to analyze your supply chain is more effective and less subject to human error.
When hospitals widen their search for savings in the supply chain, they need to employ different tools and networks to do so effectively. For most organizations it is not cost efficient to have multiple employees with high levels of expertise on staff. The ideal situation would be having supply chain experts on staff to help their facilities to better manage their supply chain and inventory. Instead, healthcare providers should consider using supply chain software and wireless technology that can aid in discovering any issues or potential cost saving shortcuts.
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The main purpose of introducing wireless technology into a hospitals supply chain if for cost reduction through inventory management. Electronic medication administration and reporting systemsalong with automated drug dispensing systems can help manage the amount of drugs being dispensed and to whom. Having a more precise system of tracking drugs and where they are going leaves less room for human error.
Inventory management systems can adequately track all inventory in the hospital from surgical supplies to high end machinery. In the past hospitals did not pay as much attention to lower end inventory, but it came to light that savings on the lower end inventory can save hundreds of thousands in the annual budget.
Visibility Within The Supply Chain
The savings of time is at the helm of this issue. Generally speaking an individual lacks the visibility of their entire supply chain. With the implantation of mobile devices all aspects of the supply chain are right at their fingertips while they move about the hospital. Up-to-date inventory reporting, ordering and notifications are instantaneously. The user no longer has to go back to their desk to access and update valuable information, improving their work flow.
The value of implementing wireless technology to a hospitals supply chain can cut down on wasted time, money and resources. Ensuring the right people and wireless technology is employed to manage a supply chain is just as vital as the supply chain itself. Establishing a governing supply chain council will provide direction and help align supply chain strategies with the hospitals overall strategy. This governing council should be lead by the leader of the supply chain organization as well as corporate executives, business unit managers, and other influential company leaders.
Overall, a reduction in data inaccuracy, increased cycle times and decreased supply chain cost, can be the direct benefits of employing wireless technology into a hospitals supply chain.