An essential component of a hospital’s structure is its supply chain management system. This system is responsible for ensuring that any materials needed by an individual working at that facility (doctors, nurses, administrative staff, etc.) are available. Without an effective system, a hospital could be faced with several issues that could affect their costs, workflow, and even their patients.

Problems could include missing inventory, incorrect orders, and supply shortages, all of which directly affect the hospital. Doctors and nurses need specific instruments and devices to treat patients. If they don’t have these materials, the hospital isn’t only losing valuable time and money, but also putting their patients at a high risk.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2010 surveys showed that hospitals had 35.1 million inpatient discharges, 100.7 million outpatient visits, and 129.8 million emergency room visits. These numbers also represent how many patients could be affected by supply chain complications.

In order to avoid greater problems, certain steps need to be taken to improve hospital supply chain systems and promote automation:

  • Accountability: Someone needs to be responsible for the system – generally those in executive positions. They should be familiar with how the system works and be able to resolve issues.
  • Communication: They need to establish a system that’s able to successfully and efficiently communicate as this is something that hospital staff is particularly reliant on.
  • Data Access: The system should also enable staff to access relevant information regarding supply chain so that any problems can be immediately identified and addressed with minimal interruptions. 

By implementing a strong supply chain system, hospitals can guarantee a stable and reliable workplace for their staff and a safe environment for their patients.

Author: Apoorva Anupindi

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