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Advanced Healthcare Supply Chain Technology Cuts Costs

Healthcare organizations are seeking more advanced supply chain solutions as value-based care initiatives become more prominent.

Source: Thinkstock

- Healthcare supply chain technology has deep roots in increased value-based care initiatives. Many healthcare organizations believe their supply chain is functioning at maximum efficiency, but others feel their supply-chain solutions could be more efficient.

Visibility and collaboration between systems will help cut costs by making sure products are being used and additional products are not being requested before they are needed. Using more advanced technology to achieve better visibility can save healthcare organizations money by showing system administrators which parts of the supply chain solution are pulling their weight.

As healthcare organizations become more interested in advanced supply chain solutions, virtualization and blockchain technology come into play as ways to secure data and increase visibility.

The recent research paper, New Trends in Healthcare Supply Chain, suggests that virtually centralizing the supply chain management gives healthcare organizations better control over cost.

Virtual centralization integrates operations based on the market instead of the health system. For example, a consolidated service center which brings together geographically based groups of hospitals to form a single entity to centralize operations was discussed in the report. The consolidated service center acts as the central location for distribution, contracting, procurement, and customer service.

Virtually centralizing supply chain data allows larger healthcare organizations to share their data with smaller organizations by connecting with them. This saves smaller organizations from needing to implement a full IT system on their own. It would also save on staffing costs because administrators don’t need to be present at every location to manage and monitor the solution. Instead, the virtualized data can be accessed remotely from any of the participating organization’s secure networks.

Recently, research has been pointing away from centralized supply chain technology and exploring distributed options with blockchain.

Blockchain is not currently implemented in healthcare, but it has many promising applications including supply chain interactions with manufactures, vendors, and other healthcare organizations.

By decentralizing the data from a data silo with a single point of control, blockchain distributes identical, unchangeable ledgers to each organization in the blockchain, ensuring an honest and secure transaction. Healthcare organizations are beginning to realize that decentralizing data may be more secure than centralizing data.

Both types of solutions help organizations get more value out of their supply chain solutions, which is the goal of current healthcare supply chain vendors.

A recent announcement from healthcare supply chain software provider SpendVu also discusses how healthcare organizations can potentially improve their supply chain management process. SpendVu released its latest version of its Value Management System, VMS V3.1.

SpendVu Director of Business Operations Deana Del Vecchio says that the updated features are to help clients better navigate, view, and access projects and contracts, giving them a better view of their organization for increased productivity.

The new VMS key features include project implementation, contract versioning, and data management.

Users can now manage the progress of project implementations online to track responsible parties, target and completion dates, and tasks around the implementation. This feature can give healthcare organizations visibility into the progress of their project implementation and rollout to help ensure that resources are being used effectively.

SpendVu has also upgraded its contract versioning to provide organizations with standardized, auto-generated numbers. The updated version has additional security permissions so administrators can edit the master agreement, document type, and agreement number. The security permissions give administrators more control over their data and helps them see when a contract creation order differs from the signature order.

The new project implementations and contract versioning features are reminiscent of blockchain technology with the better security permissions and tracking capabilities.

There are many options available for healthcare supply chain solutions that offer organizations viability and control over their systems, allowing them to get the best value out of their chosen tool.