Supply Chain Automation Saves Money And Time in Health Care Industry

Meagan Douglas
Tue, Sep 2, 2014

Some changes in the health care industry could have large ramifications on supply chain operations everywhere as long-awaited automation comes into play. Many health care providers and hospitals already have automated data collection integrated across some of their supply chain, and the cost savings are sure to lead to more deployment across the sector. Todd Nelson is with the Healthcare Financial Management Association and told the Health Care Finance News that although automation is in operation in many areas of the country, there's not a standard in place that all companies can work toward.

"The sophistication of the software varies widely as dollars are not always allocated to this area ahead of other capital needs," Nelson explained.

Larger Hospitals Have Different Needs Than Smaller Concerns
Because larger health care businesses require more in-depth software to operate their supply chains, smaller enterprises aren't always able to get the software they need to maintain their operations. Nick Fabrizio is with MGMA Health Care and he said automation may not be the way to go for some smaller hospitals.

"A larger hospital or health system could save a significant amount of money however, a small community hospital would not get the same discounts," Fabrizio noted. "Some smaller hospitals find better prices by working with three to four vendors and having them beat each other up on costs." Fabrizio added that because of how much data, product and personnel move through larger organizations, the cost of savings is that much higher than smaller hospitals can receive.

New Health Care Models Are A Cause For Concern
A Search Health IT story recently said the changing of the health care business models have put considerable pressure on hospital executives to cut costs or find new sources of money. Automated supply chains could become a major factor in both areas. Automation improves efficiency and cuts costs, and that is why more executives are opting to deploy the technology.

Making standard orders like gloves and other clinical items automated makes sense fiscally, but turning toward total automation is always a prudent move a smart health care executive can make. A cost-effective automated supply chain strategy can allow providers to be certain of their compliance with item master and contracted rates, said Search Health IT. Doing so will definitely impact the bottom line in a positive way and streamline the supply chain management operation for the company at the same time.

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