Healthcare Supply Chain Management: How It Impacts The Patient Experience

by Innovit Corporate Affairs | October 31, 2018 | Blog

According to a recent survey, over 69% of Healthcare leaders in IT emphasized on healthcare supply chain management as they believe it is an important factor for actionable data mining.

In addition to that, with over $672.1 billion spent on Medicare in just one year, it’s evident that there needs to be actionable systems in place to deal with such a huge demand of care. That’s where healthcare supply chain management comes in. Since everything revolves around patient care, instead of cutting healthcare costs, more hospitals need to do their part in making it a smooth process for everyone. But how exactly does healthcare chain management impact a patient’s healthcare experience? Why do we need to care more about it? Keep reading to learn how supply chain management really is the new frontier of healthcare services.


What is Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management is a multiplex system in reference to the resources and services that are related to patient care. In order for them to receive their treatments and the equipment needed for treatment in mass quantities, a strong system needs to be in place.  For example, in every healthcare setting, you need pens to write on patient charts and log information. The healthcare practice employees do not have to worry about their pen inventory running out as the supply chain management systems will do that for them.

Other supplies that supply chain management may work with are;

  • Gloves
  • Paper and office materials
  • Computers
  • Scrubs
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Syringes
  • Food
  • Medical supplies
  • First Aid supplies

Depending on the category of supplies, the healthcare practice has two options for purchasing. They can either go through the hassle of ordering through the main distributor, which can be a complicated process depending on the product. Or, they can easily go through an organization that does group purchasing, who will create the contract and order from the manufacturer on their behalf.

See how much easier that is?


What Is the Definition of Patient Experience?

The patient experience involved a wide range of interactions that patients have before, during, and after their care. This includes staff in hospitals, nurses, doctors, health plans, practices, and facilities.

Some factors that play a role in patient experience are:

  • Timeliness of appointments
  • Communication and information from healthcare providers
  • Quality of care, procedures, and supplies used.

Keep in mind that patient experience and patient satisfaction are not considered the same thing, they do go hand-in-hand but are not valued the same when it comes to healthcare. Patient satisfaction results when the healthcare setting meets, exceeds, or is below the patient’s expectation. Therefore, this is all based on opinion and not a professional standpoint.

The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) created a survey consisting of 21 factors that measure the patient’s overall experience of their healthcare experience.

Some of the key factors were:

  • Communication from staff
  • Pain management
  • Discharge process
  • Cleanliness of hospital
  • Quality of care
  • Transition of care
  • Friendliness of staff
  • Noise levels in the hospital
  • Interaction between employees

It was noted that a majority of these factors could be improved by the involvement of good supply chain management company.


How Does a Healthcare Supply Chain Impact Patient Experience?

The relationship between a supply chain and patient care may not seem so obvious at first, as it is more of a “behind the scenes” position in the patient’s quality of care. Let’s dive a bit more into why it improves a patient’s experience in a clinical setting. According to a recent survey, doctors, clinicians, and nurses spend 20% of their time doing tasks that a supply chain could take care of for them. This includes locating supplies, ordering supplies, or doing an inventory of supplies. All of this time could be focused more on patient care and less on doing tasks that aren’t usually in their job description.

When a healthcare supply chain management company steps in, these employees can focus more on what matters most, the patient care. This creates a wonderful synergy in any healthcare practice that positively impacts the patient’s experience.

Here are two more main reasons why a healthcare supply management can positively impact patient experience:

1. Choices on Products Based on Preference.

To make a surgeon’s job easier, they must have the appropriate tools in order to complete the required surgical procedure. These tools are determined by the surgeon’s preference, standardization, cost, ease of use, etc. With the implementation of a hospital supply chain, all of those factors are taken into consideration, therefore all the surgeon only needs to focus on what they are trained for. This ease on the surgeon creates a better environment for the patient.

2. Availability of Supplies

Some cases have been reported where supplies for a certain procedure are out of stock, causing a delay in patient care which directly affects their experience or quality of that procedure. In other cases, certain products such as medications have expired. A recent study discovered that 1 in 4 hospital staff has been reported of using expired or recalled products on patients. This causes a tremendous ripple effect on the quality of healthcare affecting patient safety, patient satisfaction, and procedure efficiency. With a medical supply chain, this will not happen as everything is accounted for.

Conclusion and More Supply Chain Information

The use of healthcare supply chain management in a clinical or hospital setting can improve the quality of care, well-being and overall experience of the patient. With patient care being the number one priority on most hospital’s mission statements, you will see the use of healthcare supply chain rising in the near future.

Innovit offers a cost-effective, globally certified PIM technology, which is easy to implement in any setting.

If you would like more information or have any questions, feel free to contact us at any time.