By Nick McKinney, Director Analytics, OC Reilly, Inc.

(May 11, 2021)—The art of health care supply chain, at its core, means getting items on the shelf before they are on the minds of the medical staff who use them. It’s not magic. It’s not done with illusion or slight-of-hand. And it’s not always easy.

From having people walk around with clipboards to eyeball inventory to the most sophisticated digital software, health care supply chain has seen it all. But the COVID-19 pandemic brought the importance of effective processes to light like never before. How does the profession move forward to avoid the bottlenecks and waste experienced over the past year and a half?

One often-overlooked possibility is enhancing or optimizing the use of existing software and technology capabilities. Many times, OCR engages with a customer using the minimal system capabilities or misusing a system altogether. Why? Because customers often see cost as a valid reason to avoid committing to higher tiers available. Instead, they see their costs increase anyway, from unnecessary redundancies and added labor.

Whether it is reusable medical equipment and devices or disposable goods we have seen technology underutilized almost everywhere we go.

An article in the March / April 2021 issue of Supply Chain Strategies & Solutions urges health care system leaders to explore the increased use of tools such as unique device identifiers (UDI) to reduce discrepancies in ordering, dispensing, and documenting the wrong product and wrong unit of measurement.

“Electronic capture of the product at each step in the supply chain…will also reduce errors, alert clinicians that products have expired and improve operational efficiencies,” the article states. “The data accumulated will aid in providing useful analytics in determining actual supply usage and locating recalled products.”

As national experts on health care supply chain trends and practices, the OC Reilly team knows exactly what it takes to optimize the tools you already have at your fingertips. When the need to get equipment on the shelf before it gets on the mind of those using it has only increased and become more vital than ever, it’s wise to take advantage of this kind of guidance and assistance.

© 2021 OC Reilly, Inc.