Focusing on the Healthcare Supply Chain

Focusing on the Healthcare Supply Chain

The days of going to see the doctor when you feel under the weather, getting a check-up, paying your co-pay and picking up your prescription are long gone.  This change in your medical experience is being spurred by an overhaul of our healthcare system.  With everything changing, from the way doctors, hospitals and clinics are being reimbursed to a focus on preventative measures, a change is needed in the way that we manage medical practices.  A key component of this transition will be developing a focus on the supply chain within our healthcare system.

Medical supplies and devices are a substantial cost to health organizations.  Whether it is a doctor’s office, clinic or major hospital, the amount and variety of necessary medical components is staggering.  The way these products are ordered, inventoried and fulfilled needs to align with the goal of improving care across the board, while simultaneously reducing costs.

A study by Aetna shows that “the implementation of new medical technology accounts for between 38% and 65% of health care spending increases.   Non-durable medical supplies make up another considerable expense.  While new technology parallels the endeavors to provide better, preventative care, lowering the total cost of non-durable goods can provide substantial savings.  As medical organizations strive to lower costs, examining their entire supply chain and all of their supply chain partners will undoubtedly yield some savings opportunities.

Capitalizing on an integrated delivery network (IDN) to form an efficient logistics plan is a key step.  IDNs were designed to provide access to a variety of medical services within one region.  They provide economies of scale that allow small providers to contribute alongside larger healthcare providers and hospitals.  However, with large amounts of supplies carried by each member of the IDN, coupled with poor visibility, inventory easily gets misplaced and valuable product must be disposed of after missing expiration dates have passed.  These shortcomings, together with the transition toward accountable care, provide an opportunity for healthcare providers to save money and drive efficiency.    

As medical device and supply manufacturers, offering healthcare organizations a visible, efficient supply chain solution can be a key differentiator.  Barrett Distribution Centers leverages technology, expertise and experience to provide the resources necessary for a customized logistics strategy.