Hospitals must build supply chains that can survive in today's economy

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CIOs at hospitals want their supply chains to be assets, not detractions. Streamlining processes, such as healthcare inventory management and equipment purchasing, is especially important in today's business environment where budgets are thin and it's often difficult to get extra funding. Creating opportunities for improved visibility will not only make supply chain management easier for hospital CIOs, but it will also enable them to keep their spending low. Here are some supply chain management tips CIOs should keep in mind to build more profitable healthcare centers that operate at higher levels of efficiency:

  1. Provide suppliers with data to help them meet demands
    Doctors and nurses use many different products on a daily basis when providing care to their patients. In the past, some hospitals wouldn't track what items were being used by their staff, but now with the greater importance of managing supply chain costs, CIOs have to get an understanding for how their inventory is being used each month. Bruce Johnson, CEO of GHX, told HIT Consultant that after learning how products are being used, healthcare facilities can work with suppliers to ensure they are able to fill their orders each month. The more information collected by the hospital, the more accurate orders can be for the materials needed by hospital staff.
  2. Reduce waste while improving the quality of patient care
    Seemingly every day, healthcare device providers are introducing new items that are designed to streamline patient care. While some of these innovations will be worthwhile, it's up to CIOs to figure out which pieces of equipment are worth the investment. A blog post written by David Nash, founding dean at Jefferson School of Population Health, stated supplies and devices drive up the amount of money that hospitals spend to deliver patient care. Figuring out a strategy to cut these costs by using the right materials will ensure that supply chains can run on a leaner budget.
  3. Establish contracts with suppliers to reduce costs
    A streamlined supply chain can work better when CIOs are able to form stronger relationships with their suppliers to drive down the prices of items that are purchased on-contract. Johnson told HIT Consultant that realizing what items are being used on a consistent basis and putting them together into a group purchasing organization can ensure prices stay under control and budgets don't fluctuate when the demand for products grows at healthcare centers.