For hospitals that face daunting challenges like nursing shortages or high readmission rates, looking to the supply chain as a part of the solution to their needs may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, Scott Alexander, vice president of sourcing, innovation and marketing for ROi, St. Louis, says supply chain innovation can help to alleviate some of the stresses facing hospitals.

“It’s common to see a nurse searching multiple locations for something needed to treat a patient, whether it’s a hernia mesh in a specific size or a particular dose of medicine,” Alexander writes. “Searching for supplies is time-consuming and can be a symptom of breakdowns in the collaboration between clinicians and supply chain professionals.”

And when it comes to readmissions, Alexander notes that the nearly 30 percent of prescriptions that go unfilled could factor into readmission rates. Could a supply chain overhaul that makes filling and delivering prescriptions easier lead to better health outcomes?

He gives three steps that will lead to a better supply chain and, hopefully, support an improved operation overall.

  1. Understand the customer.
  2. Create multiple potential solutions.
  3. Test and revise.

“Viewing the supply chain as a strategic asset in health care innovation has far-reaching effects,” Alexander says. “Involving the supply chain early in clinical improvements can expedite the adoption of meaningful medical advancements for better patient care.”

Read the full article in our sister magazine, Hospitals & Health Networks, to learn how doing these three things will improve supply chain operations.