Monday, September 30, 2013

How Hospital Supply Chains are improved using IT

The importance of hospitals using effective supply chain methods boils down to bottom line profits and improving patient care. According to Booz Allen, “Supply chains in hospitals can account for as much as 30 percent of total hospital costs.”[1] Procurement as part of the supply chain comes very expensive when it comes to hospitals. It seems that there is no direct alignment between savings and the parties buying supplies for hospitals. According to the Arizona School of Business, hospitals usually buy the things that doctor’s request, without much consideration to costs. This is why being able to know where the savings in every part of the supply chain is important.
IT can be used to effectively manage costs and cut back where hospitals are using a lot of money. For example, electronic medical records provide hospitals the ability to cut back on paper use. Electronic medical records(EMR) are a patient’s health information that can be accessed anywhere if there is a web connection or internal network connection. It allows patients the ease of easily switching doctors and even the ease of seeing a specialist doctor, when not seeing a primary physician. In addition EMR allow access to health information at anytime and anyplace.
According to Reuters digital health records may save some money[2]. The possibilities with EMR are endless. Administrators within hospitals can now see how many different things the hospitals are treating, who was treating, the length of time a patients takes to recover, all because the information is available electronically[3]. It would take long hours to input all of the patient’s information from a piece of paper to a computer. With EMR, the process is simplified. No more paper copies of health records that have to be mailed if switching physicians and no more data loss. Doctor’s will have accurate information about a patient if they have EMR. Hence, in the long run EMR help save hospitals money and therefore cutting down on supply chain costs.
What are some ways that IT can help other service areas besides medicine? Does IT always help trim back on service industry costs? What about the training costs of implementing IT to reduce the total supply chain costs?


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