Our outlook: Supply chain tools will evolve in 2018 and beyond

The pace of using technology to drive decisions across healthcare organizations continues to increase, particularly in digitization and cloud-based technologies.  Supply Chain leaders are beginning to benefit from having credible, real-time data and analytics to help diagnose and remedy inefficiencies across the enterprise.  It can be difficult to justify developing analytics because few health care systems have baselines metrics from which build a case.  Or, there can be too many supply chain metrics and no consensus around what really matters.  Advanced technologies give innovative SC leaders clarity around which metrics and analytics can be actionable for better strategic impact.

The following predictions come from our view that Supply Chain leaders will increase in stature and impact as a result of having data and using it to align improved supply chain and inventory management improvement with overall enterprise performance:   

  1. Increasing use of cloud-based, scanning enabled technology to track and forecast inventory enterprise-wide.
  2. Integration of supply chain and revenue cycle practices to more closely link improvements in inventory management with patient outcomes and clinical efficiency.
  3. A focus on building base metrics including financial, productivity and patient outcomes.
  4. Using analytics to establish metrics that drive process improvements, improve training and change the culture in supply chain organizations.

Supply Chain leaders will have more tools to impact overall hospital profitability, supplementing data on purchasing discounts and vendor optimization.  Used effectively, inventory management technologies will not only improve productivity, but also provide access to real-time data to increase inventory turns and ensure appropriate resources in critical procedural areas.  Supply Chain leaders will use predictive data to contribute to both value-based pricing and outcomes analytics, giving them a seat at the table regarding technology, service lines, total cost of care, and innovation in care delivery.