Supply Chain: Essential to Improve Patient Outcomes

Clinical improvements—the key to making patient interactions widely successful—“requires getting the right products, services and capabilities into the hands of clinicians and the supply chain is essential in driving scalable, sustainable improvements in the health care system,” said a recent article in H&HN.

Recognizing the supply chain’s importance in overall success as an organization can lead to widespread benefits within healthcare. When organizations are looking for ways to make clinical improvements, it makes sense to involve supply chain early in the process because it “can expedite the adoption of meaningful medical advancements for better patient care.”

Ted Stank, a professor in the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business, and the Bruce Chair of Excellence at Global Supply Chain Institute at the university, recently noted in Forbes that because those in the C-suite are looking at the top and bottom line of financials, which is ushering in a new era where healthcare organizations are proactively challenging the status quo in their supply chains. He notes, however, that their interest in supply chain goes beyond financial pressure, and is more specifically driven by a desire for innovation.

By forging a strong partnership between organizational, clinical and supply chain leaders, health systems can better source and distribute supplies and drugs, mitigating shortages and managing costs. Back-end analytics can uncover undesirable use or misuse, leading to reductions in clinical variation. And utilizing an iterative process with attention to the ways that supply chain can further drive clinical improvements will lead to better patient outcomes.

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