How IoT Can Impact the Healthcare Supply Chain
Cost pressures and shortages in the healthcare industry are reaching critical mass. As these challenges continue to be a significant issue, the industry will look to the Internet of things (IoT) to improve efficiency at the supply chain level.
Some of the ways the healthcare supply chain are currently leveraging IoT include:
Improve inventory visibility
Items like medical devices and test kits, overstock, out-of-stocks, and expired or inviable products are a source of considerable waste. IoT and RFID offer a way to track inventory at the item level, ensuring frontline personnel have the tools they need to improve medical outcomes and minimizing loss from outdated products.
Reduce the burden on healthcare workers
Medical staff have enough on their plate without having to deal with supply chain issues. IoT helps them improve efficiency, reduce human error, and frees up time for healthcare workers to focus on more important things.
Improve medical outcomes
When healthcare workers don’t have to spend so much time and effort dealing with inventory and supply chain issues, they can provide better care to their patients. More time to devote to patient needs means healthier patients, less time spent in the emergency room, and a better quality of life for everybody.
Access to critical data
The best way to improve service delivery is to see exactly what is going on throughout the organization. IoT delivers the data that healthcare organizations need to stay on top of operations, allowing them to make critical business decisions based on real-time data.
Enable demand forecasting
Another function of data is in forecasting demand. Knowing the cyclical patterns of product demand allows companies to get smart about how much inventory to manufacture and hold. If a company has been in business for a long time, historical data brings this aspect into sharp focus, further optimizing efforts to stay lean and efficient.
Accelerated, Predictable, Accurate.
In identifying the supply chain as a source of waste and shortages, the healthcare industry is taking a critical step toward improvements that will benefit all people, everywhere.
With the ability to see the totality of available inventory, supplies can be allocated and redistributed where they are needed, eliminating shortages in one place and overages in another.
Automated inventory counts, ordering, and reordering saves time and effort and improves accuracy to a great degree. Overspending is reduced or eliminated, and minimum stock levels are maintained without a second thought.
Item-level visibility also enables easy and efficient recalls, should a product be in question. For example, when a defect is identified in a medical device, a company can access detailed information as to where those products are so that they can be removed from circulation.
Keeping defective devices and products out of the system could potentially save lives. At the very least, it ensures that frontline caregivers don’t have to worry about expired or faulty inventory.
In conclusion, IoT can revolutionize the healthcare industry supply chain and contribute to a better, safer, and healthier future for the world.