Supply-Chain Management in Healthcare

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Understanding Competitive Trends

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA


Improved management of the supply chain has long been a focus in many industries; it is now having an impact on the healthcare industry.

For instance, one study has shown that hospitals in the United States have been more successful than hospitals in France in reducing levels of supplies inventory.

Just In Time Inventory Management

Just-in-time approaches to inventory management can improve financial performance. Improved supply chain management can reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary delays and eliminating defects in healthcare supplies.

Competitive Trends

Current competitive trends will likely make supply chain management more important. For example, the emergence of complementary medicine has implications for the supply function in hospitals, as these therapies require supplies of rather exotic items such as acupuncture needles, herbs, beads and so on. Of course, DME is the obvious example.

Thus, improvements in patient care often require concomitant improvements in operations management processes.

Patient Focused Care

Improving the quality of care using patient-focused care can also improve the financial performance of a facility. Patient-focused care not only refers to a holistic approach to care, but it also refers to the re-engineering of processes to facilitate patient care. This re-engineering may lead to increased efficiency of healthcare providers that result in lower costs.

In another example, in an effort to provide patient-focused care, a hospital may conduct job analyses leading to cross-training of personnel and the elimination of the duplication of performance of tasks.

Strategic Management Improvement



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