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There isn’t a single person who works in the healthcare industry that isn’t aware of just how delicate the supply healthcare supply chain is. This became especially apparent when COVID-19 hit, and providers were in desperate need of PPE and other supplies. As much as we’d like for the COVID-19 impact on the healthcare supply chain to be a one-off event, there are still many challenges to tackle.
What are the biggest healthcare supply chain issues today? How do you tackle them? Read on to find out!
1. Surprise Costs
When you’re purchasing items for your organization, you’re probably calculating your total price as a combination of the cost of the product and shipping. The only problem with that is that there are other costs associated with your order. There are also fees like inventory holding fees that are calculated into your overall cost, which can blow out your budget.
You could purchase fewer supplies or supplies that are less expensive, but that’s not an ideal solution. One of the best ways to bring down costs is to use group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to save on supplies. This helps mitigate things like shipping costs, and it allows you to take advantage of deep discounts offered to purchasers who buy in bulk.
2. Medication Shortages
Having medication on hand is a critical component of any healthcare business. One thing that providers continually bump up against is shortages of the medication and drugs that they need to run their business.
When this occurs, providers either have to purchase expensive alternatives, or they need to have a large backup supply so they can lessen the impact of supply shortages. That’s a problem, however, because it reduces the budget you have for other products that you need. It also puts you at risk of having expired products on hand if you don’t use them quickly enough.
Thankfully, there is technology on the market today that allows you to keep a close eye on medications and drugs, as well as any potential shortages in the supply chain. This helps you make more informed purchasing decisions.
3. Provider Preferences
Does your organization work with multiple physicians? You can bet that each of those physicians has big opinions on everything from PPE to drugs. While it’s important to keep those preferences in mind when ordering, those preferences can also wreak havoc on your budget and your ability to manage inventory.
In general, medical supplies do not have a strong correlation with patient outcomes, and physicians do not necessarily understand the costs involved. As a result, it is important to meet with the physicians in your organization to arrive at a consensus about which products to purchase in order to streamline your ordering process.
Are You Struggling with the Healthcare Supply Chain?
The healthcare supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That’s why it’s so important to make strategic decisions in order to manage your supplies and save on expenses. With a few tweaks here and there, you’ll find healthcare supply chain management much easier to tackle.