Data and the healthcare supply chain

It’s very likely that the healthcare trends we’ve seen over the past couple years – provider and supplier consolidation, reduced reimbursement levels, patient care moving outside the hospital walls and the implementation of and integration of electronic health records (EHRs) – will continue.

As Bruce Johnson wrote last month, “at the core of these trends is a need for quality data so that leaders can make informed, quality decisions.” Mr. Johnson makes a point, I’ve written about before: we are not talking about data for the sake of data. Instead, this is about data that is usefully synthesized to improve the healthcare experience.

Mr. Johnson’s post went on to enumerate ways that those working within the supply chain can utilize data for a more effective healthcare supply chain. Below are some of key thoughts worth noting:

  1. Take a look at the data you are responsible for and establish an ongoing process that ensures effective management and maintenance of the data’s accuracy. Unless it’s “good” data, there’s no point.
  2. Many supply chain teams are already capturing data that can be used for a variety of purposes (e.g. inventory management, analytics, etc.).  Acknowledge and look for ways that this data might help your organization meet important objectives.
  3. Use the data that you’ve gathered to prioritize how it can have the biggest impact on process efficiency that can improve cost savings while improving quality of care.

Healthcare’s continued focus on a cost-to-serve strategy means that accurate data is the foundation for understanding improved efficiency and its relationship to desired clinical outcomes.

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