3 Key Challenges in the Medical Supply Chain
For the past couple of decades, the supply chain has been able to secure a strategic place in the healthcare management. The healthcare organizations are now moving on towards taking strategic decisions like outsourcing logistics and other hospital supply chain activities that include purchasing and supply management, stock management, and transport.
The related authorities have implemented tools and methods that enable the management to strive for continuous improvement. As a result, productive outcomes have been achieved through diminished errors and improvised quality.
However, in the contemporary setting where the healthcare domain itself is evolving and moving towards digitalization, the medical services are now more patient-centered, aiming to provide customized care for each individual, the medical supply chain has been subjected to a number of challenges.
Where supply chain and logistics is deemed as an integral component in delivering improved patient-care, there are several trends that have accumulated together to serve as challenges. Three of the key challenges are discussed underneath.
1. The Cost Crisis
Cost crisis is not an alien concept when it comes to healthcare. The health providing organizations are aiming to save as much as they can and from every possible source. The authorities are reevaluating their cost structures to see how much saving can be commenced so that they can survive and prosper in the market.
In such circumstance, it is the medical supply chain that is subjected to substantial cost reduction. According to a report, the medical supply chain team saved up to USD 40 million. The cost crisis has led the healthcare providers to reanalyze their spending on labor, transport, staffing and purchased goods to meet up with the economic challenging situation.
2. Information Security Challenges
One of the building legal concerns in the healthcare industry is the violation of patients’ information and cybercrime. The private and confidential information of patients has been breached by the healthcare systems, resulting in landing the organizations into severe lawsuits.
While the cybercriminals are highly active, the authorities have to take drastic measures and make high-cost capital investments to meet suitable requirements to ensure that the data is secured and the possibility of data violation is least.
When high investments are required to be made in the IT implementation, it ultimately curtails the spending on other areas, and medical supply chain’s budget is reorganized. Purchasing less expensive products with similar outcomes, bearing into according to specific patients when acquiring expensive supplies, and integrating supply information in the patients’ record are executed to highlight the areas in the medical supply chain that are over utilizing.
3. Drug Shortages
Drug shortages have remained a constant issue in the medical supply chain. Shortages can occur without any aforementioned warning, causing a massive challenge for the health systems. Drugs like IV fluids, cardiovascular agents, and surgical agents can constitute a colossal supply chain issue if they get out of stock.
It becomes a necessity for the healthcare systems to maintain a backup inventory of these products or purchase other expensive alternatives. At the time when the healthcare industry is already surrounded by cost crisis, shortage of drugs serves as an immense problem.