The healthcare supply chain plays a crucial role in ensuring that medical facilities have access to the necessary products and equipment to provide high-quality care to patients. It is a complex and multifaceted system that involves many different stakeholders, including manufacturers, distributors, healthcare providers, and patients. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, there is a growing need for strong leadership in the healthcare supply chain. Tomorrow’s healthcare supply chain leaders should be today’s top priority.
The healthcare supply chain faces numerous challenges, including rising costs, supply shortages, and a lack of transparency. These challenges can be particularly difficult to navigate without strong leadership. Tomorrow’s healthcare supply chain leaders will need to have a deep understanding of the complexities of the healthcare system, as well as the ability to work collaboratively with stakeholders across the industry.
One of the key challenges facing the healthcare supply chain is the rising cost of healthcare. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, the National Health Expenditure grew 2.7% to $4.3 trillion in 2021, or $12,914 per person and prescription drug spending increased 7.8% to $378.0 billion in 2021, faster than the 3.7% growth in 2020. The rising cost of healthcare is due in part to the increasing demand for medical services, as well as the high cost of medical products and equipment.
To address these challenges, tomorrow’s healthcare supply chain leaders will need to be adept at identifying areas where cost savings can be realized. This may involve developing more efficient supply chain processes, negotiating better contracts with suppliers, or implementing new technologies that can improve the efficiency of the healthcare supply chain.
Another challenge facing the healthcare supply chain is the issue of supply shortages. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a reliable supply of medical products and equipment. However, the pandemic has also exposed weaknesses in the healthcare supply chain, resulting in shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical supplies.
To address these challenges, tomorrow’s healthcare supply chain leaders will need to be proactive in their approach to supply chain management. This may involve building stronger relationships with suppliers, developing contingency plans to address supply chain disruptions, and leveraging data and analytics to identify potential supply chain issues before they become major problems.
Transparency is another critical issue facing the healthcare supply chain. Patients and healthcare providers need to be able to trust that the products and equipment they are using are safe, effective, and of high quality. However, the healthcare supply chain is often opaque, with little transparency into the sourcing and quality control processes used by suppliers.
Tomorrow’s healthcare supply chain leaders will need to prioritize transparency and accountability in their supply chain management practices. This may involve working with suppliers to implement more rigorous quality control processes, developing tools to track the origin and movement of medical products and equipment, and working with regulators to establish standards for transparency and accountability in the healthcare supply chain.
To develop tomorrow’s healthcare supply chain leaders, it is essential to invest in education and training programs that focus on supply chain management. This includes both academic programs that provide a strong foundation in supply chain theory and practical training programs that provide hands-on experience in managing complex supply chains.
In addition to formal education and training programs, healthcare organizations can also develop leadership pipelines by providing opportunities for employees to gain experience in different areas of the supply chain. This may involve rotating employees through different roles and departments, providing opportunities for cross-functional collaboration, and offering mentorship and coaching programs to help employees develop their leadership skills.
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, the importance of strong leadership in the healthcare supply chain will only continue to grow. By prioritizing the development of tomorrow’s healthcare supply chain leaders today, healthcare organizations can ensure that they have the talent and expertise necessary to navigate the complex challenges facing the industry.
It goes without saying that the healthcare supply chain is a critical component of the healthcare industry, and strong leadership is essential to ensure its success. Tomorrow’s healthcare supply chain leaders will need to be proactive, adaptable, and collaborative to navigate the complex challenges facing the industry, including rising costs, supply shortages, and a lack of transparency. By prioritizing the development of the next generation of healthcare supply chain leaders today, healthcare organizations can ensure that they have the talent and expertise necessary to provide high-quality care to patients and drive innovation in the healthcare industry.
Cory Turner leads Healthcare Strategy for Tecsys, one of the largest supply chain IT organizations in the healthcare industry. He has two decades of experience in healthcare supply chain operations and solutioning, having earned his credentials at Greenville Health System, (now PRISMA Health), the largest IDN in South Carolina. He has since built his career with experience with Infor, Omnicell and Workday solutions. Cory’s insights into the healthcare supply chain market are distinctively informed by his tenure as both an operator and provider of SCE software.