Turning to New Sources for Healthcare Supply Chain Inspiration

Michelle RobbinsVisit Infor in Booth 611 at AHRMM14 this Week

By Michelle Robbins, Director of Healthcare Industry Strategy, Supply Chain, Infor
Twitter: @Infor

AHRMM14 in Orlando, August 3-6

To meet the ever-growing demand for efficiency, as well as respond to increased control measures and lower reimbursement rates, healthcare organizations are turning their attention directly to patients. But in order to develop an entirely new supply chain model that focuses on the patient, organizations must start by looking beyond the patient – which will help improve outcomes of care and safety.

In an average nursing unit today, a supply chain closet is typically located near the nurse’s station, and as nurses take care of their patients, they may go in and out of the room numerous times a day to collect necessary supplies. This is extremely inefficient – and can be a big waste of time. Why, you ask? First, every trip to the supply closet takes a nurse away from their patient, and those closets can be several hundred feet away from the patient’s room, not to mention that nurses usually have to make multiple trips back-and-forth over the course of a day. To help save time, nurses will often pick up multiple supplies at once so they can prevent that return trip, but when they leave these extra items in a patient’s room, the supplies get discarded when the patient is discharged due to infection control principles. And, items not kept in their proper storage locations tend to be harder to track in product recall events.

As we shift towards the patient-centered supply chain, we must ask ourselves how we can help reduce clinical involvement in routine supply items. For example, a health system could remove all of their routine commodity based items from supply closets, and place those items in protected locked carts next to the patient bedside – providing nurses with everything that they would need for routine patient care at their fingertips in the room. This would significantly reduce the time it takes for supply techs to inventory, pull and restock the nursing floor, enabling increased efficiency.

At AHRMM14, thousands of healthcare supply chain professionals will come together to establish best practices and new strategies that will improve the field, and as the discussion turns to how to manage increased supply costs and inventory management challenges, it’s imperative that we look to other industries to help meet demands and increase efficiencies. This will not only help to increase standardization and reduce costs, but ultimately provide better care – especially as the supply chain continues to become increasingly patient-centered.

About the Author:  Michelle Robbins is currently the Director of Healthcare Industry Strategy, Supply Chain, at Infor, where she is responsible for strategy development and execution and organizational transformation. Robbins has more than 28 years of experience in healthcare supply chain management, consulting, healthcare information technology and analytics. During her career she has served as an Active Duty member of the United States Air Force and has worked as a Supply Chain Professional within complex integrated delivery networks such as Adventist Health Systems and Iowa Health Systems and worked with as a consultant with Owens and Minor.