A look at the challenges hospitals face due to an insufficient supply chain—and how to address them.
When it comes to supply chain management, the healthcare industry comes in last place; and it’s paying the price. Antiquated processes that create inefficiencies, unnecessary expenses, and staff dissatisfaction are contributing to financial challenges that have only been exacerbated during the pandemic.
There are so many inefficiencies in the hospital supply chain. Just one example: demand forecasting, especially helpful for pick preparations, is nearly impossible at many organizations. In some hospitals and health systems, staff spend 58% of their workday on indirect activity, such as searching for supplies needed for patient care activities. That's a serious problem.
Not to mention the feat of trying to ensure the right supplies are on hand at the right time. Thanks to so many backorder and alternate suppliers entering the market, manufacturers and medical surgical supply distributors are not accountable anymore. That’s dangerous, too, because supplies expire. That impacts not only quality of care but the bottom line.
Financial challenges to hospitals are continually growing due to lost revenue from delayed care and canceled elective procedures during the pandemic. Plus, the skyrocketing rate of overburdened nurses and staff has forced budgets to absorb expensive staffing resources as these employees opt out of healthcare work.
How hospitals can make a comeback
Hospitals can overcome these challenges. It just takes focus—in this case on the supply chain—in four areas.
Improving the supply chain drives gold-medal success
Hospital executives are realizing the strong connection between supply chain and finances. After suffering through a pandemic that’s lasting more than two years, hospitals deserve some record-breaking success.
Betty Jo Rocchio is Mercy’s senior vice president and chief nursing officer. Previously, she was the chief nursing optimization officer at Mercy after serving as vice president of perioperative services. Prior, Betty Jo held several leadership positions in the Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus, Ohio. These included chief nurse anesthetist, system director of surgical services, and vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer.
Lee Smith, DHA, MBA, BSN, is chief nursing officer at Syft where she is responsible for guiding customers through the implementation of the Synergy point-of-use and analytics solutions. Lee has more than 35 years of experience in healthcare, including 21 years in supply chain and information technology. In her career, she has served as director of surgical services and leadership positions at Cardinal Health, CareFusion, and BD.