There was a time when hospital supply chain leaders were in charge of ordering products and making sure those products were kept in stock. Those days are over. Increasingly, supply chain managers are tasked with a range of responsibilities relating to the cost, quality and outcomes of the healthcare delivered in their hospitals. To meet these demands, they can only succeed by having access to reliable business intelligence (BI). Here are four ways providers can use healthcare BI to bring efficiency and savings to the hospital supply chain.
- Building a Stronger, More Consistent Supply Chain
This is the low-hanging fruit for BI and its potential benefit for supply chain. As this post from American Sentinel University explains, “BI becomes the logical tool to enable real-time analysis so businesses can react to the sudden changes in demand, delivery conditions, and webs of suppliers and customers that all interact.”
- Supporting a Sustainability Initiative
Hospitals are trending toward environmentally friendly products, but how do you know which ones fit the bill and by how much? BI can help supply chain leaders quickly and easily assess the sustainability of any given product.
“Instead of wrestling with raw data, decision makers can ask questions about the performance of particular (product) lines, the potential cost and environmental impact trade-offs of different shipping methods, or the labor law compliance history of different suppliers,” according to that same American Sentinel University post.
- Aiding in Value Analysis
Hospital supply chain leaders could also harness BI to aid in value analysis—helping them determine the true cost of one suture over another, for example.
“Hospitals can use enriched, attributed product data to speed up their value analysis results, this Healthcare IT News article suggests. “Through the use of a formulary, supply chain directors can make it known to their value analysis teams which products are preferred.”
- Managing Physician Preference Items
Physician preference items can eat up to 60 percent of a hospital’s supply chain budget, but there’s nothing easy about driving down those costs. It can be an expensive, complicated and sometimes futile experience discussing these items with the physicians who use them. What can help? Being armed with the BI to support the changes you’d like physicians to make.
There are clinical applications for BI, business ones and now supply chain, but not all users are alike and their needs can be very different. An experienced healthcare IT vendor is key to helping organizations identify BI needs, build an appropriate program with supporting technologies, and seamlessly integrate BI in a way that provides actionable insights for every hospital department that needs them.