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How to streamline your medical supply chain in 3 easy steps

Did you know you can save money and help improve care if you streamline your medical supply chain?

In general, providers overspend $20 billion a year on medical-surgical supplies and implants, according to ECRI, a nonprofit organization focused on the safety, quality and cost-effectiveness of care across all healthcare settings; the reasons for this overspending include the overuse of products, limited product knowledge and weak competitive pricing.1

With medical supply chain accounting for almost one-third of overall operating expenses, supply chain is quickly surpassing labor as hospitals' largest expense, further magnifying the impact of poor management practices.2 The importance of supply chain management is not confined to costs either, nor are the benefits of supply chain management, if you streamline your supply chain.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread supply shortages and many suppliers have focused on improving their supply chain management to keep enough inventory stocked. In fact, the biggest impacts of the pandemic have included providers sharing more data with suppliers, investing more money in inventory visibility and depending less on just-in-time supplies, according to a survey by the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM).3

Given the need to have enough supplies to properly treat patients, supply chain management can affect clinical care as well as operating expenses. Therefore, the benefits of supply chain management in healthcare can including saving money and improving efficiency.4

Consider these three ways to help streamline your medical supply chain.

Step 1 | Consolidate your supply ordering

Ordering supplies from different vendors through different systems can be inefficient because of different costs, and tracking orders and paying invoices may require extra effort.

Streamlining can be particularly challenging — and therefore beneficial — in non-acute care, where there are diverse settings as well as manual processes and different systems that restrict visibility and control.5 Consolidating onto an all-in-one online platform can help achieve consistency in pricing, ordering and reporting.

McKesson SupplyManagerSM lets you place orders online, see pricing and availability in real time and get the current status of your order(s). It also offers customized reporting so you get better insight into your purchasing trends.

By having multiple functions — from comparing prices to paying invoices to viewing materials usage reports — within a single platform, you can help streamline your supply chain and increase its efficiency.

Step 2 | Simplify inventory management

Even if you have an inventory manager, you may find the task challenging if you have supply rooms spread across departments or locations. Taking inventory may prove even more difficult when clinicians need to get involved.

In acquiring non-acute care facilities, some healthcare organizations have found that clinicians want to keep managing supplies themselves rather than trust the health system's supply chain professionals to have supplies available when they're needed. But, reducing the time clinicians spend on supply chain processes is essential to operational, financial and clinical success.6

Using handheld scanners simplifies inventory management further. McKesson ScanManagerSM, for example, lets your staff place accurate orders directly from the storage area by scanning the barcodes on the products you want to reorder and then importing your orders into McKesson SupplyManager. You can help improve control over stocking levels, reduce errors and give your staff and clinicians more time to spend with patients with a digital scanner system.

Step 3 | Leverage analytics

You need to know what supplies you need and when you need them to get the right items at the right time.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, healthcare providers with a visible supply chain were more successful in getting the supplies they needed because they used real-time data and dashboards to make informed decisions.7

By collecting and analyzing data, such as what you buy, from whom and for how much, you can establish best practices to streamline supply chain management across care locations and create efficiency, consistency and cost-effectiveness.

McKesson Business AnalyticsSM, for example, gives you spend details, efficiency metrics, category and product trends by individual facility or with an aggregated view. Using such analytics to have the right products at the right time in all your facilities can help you enhance care and reduce product redundancy and waste.

With this information, you can streamline your medical supply chain, helping improve care while saving money and increasing efficiency.

Check out our technology solutions for smarter inventory management.


© 2021 McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc.