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How to Create a Patient Centric Supply Chain

How to Create A Patient Centric Supply Chain: A Simple Guide for Hospitals


Bethpage, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/04/2018 --Six practical steps you can start implementing in your organization.

Expanding patient-centric care in all areas of healthcare is not just an empty slogan. It's a commitment we make as healthcare professionals to better the lives of the people we treat.

Whether patients select a hospital of their choice or are directed to one through their HMO, they rightfully expect "the system" to provide superb treatment. Patients cannot be expected to distinguish between the services provided by the clinical team and the staff supporting them. If an error occurs, such as implanting expired stock, it does not matter to the patient whether the responsibility is with the supplier who did not update the stock on time or the nurse who did not notice this or the surgeon who did not bother to double check. The hospital, as a whole, is guilty and will be held accountable.

According to an article written by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists:

Most patients judge the quality of their healthcare much like they rate an airplane flight. Criteria for judging an airline are personal and include aspects like comfort, efficient service, and on-time schedules. Similarly, patients judge the standard of their healthcare on nontechnical aspects. Most are unable to evaluate the level of technical skill or quality of therapy, so the conditions they can assess — patient satisfaction and preserving health over time — become of the utmost importance.

This article lays out 6 steps that can immediately be adopted in your own organization to create a more patient-centric supply chain.

Step 1: Create full synchronization between clinical and operational data

Delivery of modern healthcare is set up so that patients "travel" through several separate institutions on their "journey" to wellness. At each step, new files will be opened within a multitude of systems: the patient management system, the clinical data system, the queue management system, ERP systems. In best case scenarios, all these diverse systems will be connected through a common interface. More often, the desired level of interconnectivity is just not there.

Although the operational information surrounding the patient is no less important than the clinical data needed for optimal patient treatment, today in most medical institutions there is little or no correlation between these two data systems - it is impossible to know essential details about devices implanted in a patient by looking in the patient's medical record.

Take for example hemodynamics monitoring systems which are very good at data collection and interface effectively with most clinical systems. So why is this not the case on the operational side? Why is there no consolidation of essential data such as serial number, date of expiration and production series? A major roadblock to full integration of diverse data sources is the current standard of inventory management based on manufacturers' barcode identification.

Often the medical team finds it difficult to record device details accurately because of outdated manufacturers' catalogs, multiple methods of cataloging the same products, and the introduction of unmarked items into the treatment room, which is particularly common during high-stress periods. The result is a lack of integrity of the recorded information and a low level of reliability, which according to some reports is below 60%.

A promising solution is to switch from barcode readers to optical character recognition (OCR) technology to capture data from operational inventory. OCR is already widely used in other areas of clinical medicine. For example, a tumor is optically captured (photographed) and the image is processed and analyzed for size, shape, location, and malignancy. OCR is now beginning to find its way into operational inventory management as well. On-site medical staff photographs the product as it is taken from the shelf. It is automatically inputted into the system which recognizes the product and assigns the appropriate SKU. No time-consuming data entry, scanning or searching through manufacturers' catalogs.

Step 2: Instead of putting out fires, prevent them in the first place

Ask any organizational consultant how to streamline your facility and they'll recommend that you switch from passive/reactive mode to an active/preventive approach. It is much easier to avoid mistakes before they happen than to fix them after the fact. In the healthcare industry mistakes can be a matter of life and death.

Take, for example, intraocular lens implants. In most hospitals, such inventory is managed at the item level, when in fact it should be managed at the next level down, which in this case would be the various sizes for each item.

Download the full guide here: Guide Download