Hospitals aim to improve the health of the patient. The core procedures of hospitals incorporate providing medical treatment and care for the patients. These create the demand for patient related support services, with the secondary processes implementing medical or non medical services. The additional or tertiary services are not directly associated with the patients, but are integral for the proper operation of the healthcare facility. The truth is that healthcare suppliers suffer from logistics related worries and stupendous budgets which are further complicated by a preexisting economic model which does not offer a predictable stream of revenue.
In such a situation, a growing need is felt to review healthcare practices, improve hospital operations and spur their efficiency. These strategies are often implemented to enhance cost controls, while maintaining the standards of care that are delivered to the people. An excellent target is the support process as it does not directly affect the level of care which is provided. Certain organizations employ bench marking for identifying the best practices. It is a management tool which is often deployed for identifying the loopholes in business procedures and harnessing the opportunities for improvement.
Understanding Hospital Logistics
Logistics is a concept which is poorly understood and often unappreciated, although it encompasses a significant part of the operating budget of a hospital. Studies indicate that around 30% to 45% of the hospital expenditures are dedicated to logistic activities and with the use of the best practices, around 50% of the costs which are related with the supply chain procedures can be significantly eliminated.
Logistics in hospitals not only envelope support services related to purchasing, stores and pharmacy, but also include health care services like operating units and patient care rooms. Often, the activities which can be carried out by the support personnel are enlisted among the responsibilities of the health care personnel. This often leads to fragmentation of the internal supply chain within the hospital.
In brief, it can be said that the application of a logistic framework helps dissect the process of consultation into significant steps to help experts evaluate the efficiency of each step. With the help of medical logistics, the smaller steps can be further improved, thereby reducing wastage of the patient’s time to a considerable extent. Hence, with more patients being treated, they are satisfied with their experience and consequently medical expertise is not compromised.
Use of Management Techniques
Medical or hospital logistics is complicated and include people who are involved with different kinds of products. For instance, the stores manage the office and medical supplies, the pharmacy looks after the pharmaceutical products while food services procure and process the edibles. The hospital employs different management techniques. It stores and manages certain products which are known as the inventory products. The rest of the items are directly ordered by particular departments from the purchasing department that assesses the requirements and delivers them to the respective departments upon receipt. These are non inventory or direct purchase products, and are not generally stored in the institution.
Hospital logistics incorporate a number of disciplines, allowing for ideal management of public funds in a scenario where public accountability is emergent. In a situation when governments are rewarding high performing hospitals and penalizing the unscrupulous ones, the implementation of hospital logistics has become almost mandatory.