Got an App for That?
By Ibby Smith Stofer
That question is familiar and often rephrased by the younger generation to be either, we have, or we can get an app for that. What do they mean and why would we want to use an app when using charts, Excel and other proven methods have provided us with the answers to our supply dilemmas for years or perhaps decades?
Today all aspects of America’s healthcare are undergoing dramatic change. This includes clinical practice and technologies designed to improve patient care. Some are designed to aid healthcare providers transition from pay for care to pay for performance. These along with other changes have impacted the traditional approaches to managing supply chain. Supply chain has always been the balance point between clinical and financial departments. They have had to justify to both sides the decisions that are made and ensure that each decision is implemented. Not an easy task by any means.
Patients have become more like shoppers and manufacturers have continued to develop and promote new technologies. This has increased pressure to have the best technology in order to attract both patients and physicians and has put added emphasis on having the right data to justify clinical decisions. In addition, having that data readily accessible to a variety of parties has meant that supply chain processes have had to change in order to keep up.
Shortages of pharmaceutical products as well as huge price increases in this sector has been felt by every healthcare supply chain and requires quicker response time and having access to systems and data that can provide alternative choices.
A look at what applications healthcare supply chain leadership needs to know was published last August in Becker’s Hospital Review. It includes applications that range from glossaries, apps for sourcing, buyer and supplier interfaces, drug interactions and safety data access as well as a mobile app that will allow anytime, anywhere access to the supply chain data. In case you missed it or to review the article visit: www.beckershospitalreview.com/supply-chain/10-healthcare-supply-chain-management-apps-to-know.html
As the demands to provide both cost reductions and improved patient care continue to increase, the need for data and analytics puts dependency on Excel and other spreadsheets in the dark ages. Similarly, relying solely on group purchasing affiliations to provide the best and lowest costs is only one small step in ensuring that your supply chain is optimized.
Companies like McKesson, Cerner, SAP and GHX along with the leading group purchasing organizations offer suites of software and applications designed to assist supply chain professionals. They help them to achieve the dual goals of implementing cost reductions while improving patient and clinical satisfaction.
So next time one of the staff suggest that they can provide or find a app to find answers, it may be wise to go with the flow and become more comfortable with both technology and change. The crystal ball says that things will continue to change and that we all will need to be more comfortable in the digital world.