With the ever-evolving and changing healthcare industry, organizations are starting to find new ways to remove waste, cut costs, and improve patient care. Global Healthcare Exchange, a healthcare technology company that provides supply chain solutions for healthcare providers, recently consulted with a selected group of customers in pursuit of exploring the future. These are consumers that range from large and mid-sized hospitals to the biggest suppliers in the world who were tasked with giving their perspectives on how the supply chain will aid in healthcare transformation in the next coming two decades.
CEO and President of GHX, Bruce Johnson, said: “For the past 15 years, the industry has been laser-focused on basic cost-cutting initiatives. Today, healthcare has the opportunity to build off of those foundational changes to not only help solve the cost-quality equation but also to influence the industry’s future effectiveness.
During these interviews, eight trends were predicted and were said to showcase the strategic role the healthcare supply chain will play in ensuring value and insight in the healthcare future. Here are possible trends to expect.
Standardization of care
One of the major ways that will keep healthcare sustainable is placing emphasis on the standardization of care – particularly consistency from a patient perspective. The future supply chain will be responsible for guiding and supporting this change as it’s able to provide valuable data and information that can establish the best price and outcomes – helping improve situations from long-standing, inefficient and wasteful processes.
Speaking of data and its value, a lot of healthcare organizations are yet to discover the full potential of clean accurate data. Data derived from the supply chain in the future will be transaction-focused and leveraged business-wide.
GHX interviewees claimed that the future supply chain will sit on a ‘goldmine’ of outcomes data that will then be captured and used for better patient care decision making. The more data is collected, the more every department across an organization will get an in on where there is real value.
It will expand to wherever the patient goes
Besides residing within the in-patient/out-patient facility, the future healthcare supply chain will also expand to wherever the patient is physically located. This is the result of greater consolidation and collaboration among health systems such as telemedicine networks, homecare/nursing home partnerships, etc. It also helps with reducing patient readmission rates, a factor that has become crucial ever since the introduction of healthcare reform. The healthcare supply chain of the future will concern itself with making sure that patients receive care whenever they need it, wherever they are, without having to return to the hospital.
Healthcare role players predict a “clinically integrated supply chain” where supply chain professionals and clinicians will work closely together. Physicians will use the supply chain as grounds for guidance, support and knowledge on product price point, outcomes and alternatives – in an effort to adjust their process for the best interest of patients.
On the other hand, supply chain professionals will also attain clinician trust by showcasing value the supply chain and its data can provide. Supply chain specialists and clinicians will meet on a regular basis to share ideas and compare products/outcomes with the aim of ensuring continuous improvements and informed decision making.
Personalized medicine and the more informed customer
The future supply chain might have to adapt with new manufacturing and buying processes around “personalized medicine” in response to emerging technologies such as 3D printers and improved imaging & diagnostics. This is also the case with more connected healthcare consumers, who are increasingly researching the best hospitals and products for them. Supply chain in the near future is going to have to prepare and allow for consumers to shop online for products and implants.
Long-term mutually beneficial relationships between trading partners
Over the years, there has been talk of creating better, more transparent and communicative relationships, but very few healthcare trading partners have achieved this. With the future supply chain, such relationships will finally take place. Providers and suppliers will work together with the same vision and goal of improving patient care and will find ways to better align incentives in order to succeed.
C-suite and strategic projects involvement
The future supply chain will be a prominent role player in C-suite and projects across different areas of the business. One provider-side interviewee said “Gone are the days where the supply chain was relegated to the basement; we are becoming a pillar of the organization.”
Predictive and solid
The healthcare supply chain data will be used to make better decisions and will also influence predictive analytics. Supply chain professionals will use data to better anticipate what will be needed and will not tail off if a product is discontinued or backordered. This assists in getting products to clinicians in a smooth and fast way.
One interviewee commented that a nurse within his organization likened the future supply chain to water, saying: “I don’t care how the product gets here, I just want it when I need it. It’s like water from the tap; I don’t care where it comes from, as long as it’s there when I turn it on.”
Johnson at the end of it all remarked that “Our interviewees strongly believe that when we look out 10-to-20 years, the supply chain is the answer for creating long-term industry viability and ensuring quality patient care. GHX is committed to a Future Supply Chain that continues to deliver solutions that help both providers and suppliers successful navigate future technology-driven supply chain opportunities”
While we’re on trends taking over the supply chain, see The 3 Tech Trends Leading The Future Of Global Logistics!