Healthcare IT improves hospital supply chains


Cloud-based systems for healthcare inventory management are emerging at more hospitals throughout the nation. The ability to use smartphones, tablets and key fob barcode scanners is making it easier for doctors and nurses to have the materials they need to carry out their day-to-day operations. Not only do these solutions create efficiencies in the workplace, but they also create cost savings that could not be possible without using such innovations. Hospitals that previously couldn't afford this technology may have caught a break with the Affordable Care Act, which will reimburse healthcare facilities for certain expenditures, according to Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

Supply chain efficiencies are a high priority
Purchasing decisions at hospitals have never been more important, as healthcare centers look to become leaner with their expenditures. This is where cloud-based inventory management software can be the most helpful. Physicians have the opportunity to use these solutions to gain visibility into their hospital's supply chain, as well as process orders, reduce inventory carrying costs, free up facility space and cut waste associated with expiring products. 

Healthcare organizations need these innovations because the quality of patient care cannot falter, and new materials are constantly being released by vendors. The Supply & Demand Chain Executive article stated it may be a good idea for hospitals to create a team of cross-specialty physicians who can speak for everyone at the facility to help decision-makers figure out the right equipment to use and which investments are worthwhile.

Healthcare IT continues to rise
Breakthroughs in technology have made streamlining supply chains at hospitals easier, but vendors have barely even reached the tipping point when it comes to new innovations that can be useful to doctors and nurses. A recent partnership between the University of Alberta and Cisco will focus on research about developing advanced technologies and strategies that can support healthcare. With Cisco providing $2 million in funding over the next two years, the entities will look for concepts that will improve healthcare IT in the future.

"Information and communication technologies have great potential to address many challenges facing healthcare systems around the world in providing accessible, cost-effective, high-quality services," said Pierre Boulanger, research chair of healthcare solutions for Cisco. "In North America, information technology already contributes in significant ways to enhancing healthcare delivery and improving quality of life."