In my last post, Integrating Academic and Non-Acute Supply Chain, I drilled down into some of the challenges for this initiative around data, buying behavior and aligning cross-functionally for success. This is an ambitious endeavor, aligning the people, processes and systems, but certainly will deliver significant benefits. When you are ready to take the next steps there are several key considerations for gathering requirements and choosing a technology partner.
Expanding on the thoughts from my earlier post, Healthcare Supply Chain in 2019: A Look Forward, I want to take a deeper dive into the three areas that were top of mind, starting with the integration of non-acute and academic supply chain.
As more and more organizations in both the academic and acute care sectors are realizing the broad value that supply chain can deliver, there is a movement to integrate (consolidate and standardize) the core mechanisms of sourcing, procurement, supplier and contract lifecycle. The procurement of goods and services through an efficient and effective supply chain will become increasingly vital to ensure that higher-education institutions have governance related to the effective appropriation of funds.
Healthcare data breaches reached an all-time high this past July. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights records showed that data from 858,411 individuals were put at risk. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily surprising news, but it does serve as a reminder that a single breach can expose thousands of patient records and put individual personal information at risk for fraudulent activity. It also can be a costly event for healthcare providers from a financial and reputational perspective.
Supply chain remains the second largest expense for healthcare providers. A recent Navigant study showed U.S. hospitals could reduce annual supply expenses by roughly $23B in aggregate through improvements in supply chain operations, processes and product use – effective management of spend, inventory and operational processes are key to optimize spend management for any health system.
Blockchain is an emerging technology that has received quite a bit of attention for the potential to disrupt in a variety of industries. Healthcare stands to benefit from the technology as blockchains are designed for large volumes of data. The industry is characterized by massive amounts of data, much of it siloed and difficult to access through disparate technology.
The value that could be gained from the data for process improvement to increase efficiency and reduce costs has been held back by the lack of interoperability and accessibility. But blockchain may open the gate. The application of blockchain technology for the healthcare industry holds promise for everything from clinical and insurance records to payer files and supply chain.
It’s not unusual for departments in healthcare organizations to work in silos, a metaphor that reminds us of those tall farm structures used to hold and protect grain and feed. While there are many circumstances when healthcare information needs to be guarded, especially when it comes to patients, isolating data in some departments can actually harm an organization.
In certain cases, information sharing and collaboration is essential.
For instance, when people in supply chain and finance departments proactively collaborate, synch up efforts, plus integrate their technology, it can help an organization achieve its overarching mission of delivering quality patient care while reducing costs.