Taming the $1.5 Billion Healthcare Supply Chain

Comp_3040525611The healthcare supply chain poses unique challenges for both medical device manufacturers and hospitals. Equipment and supplies are highly regulated and often require detailed tracking up and down the chain (i.e., the FDA’s unique device identifier [UDI] requirements). And in a hospital setting, access to important supplies can directly affect patient safety and clinical outcomes.

Those factors are driving a healthcare supply chain management (SCM) market that could reach $1.5 billion this year, according to a recent market report.

In the case of UDI compliance, companies are already turning to RFID (along with barcodes) to help automate device traceability and enable other track-and-trace applications that can help hospitals better manage assets.

Using RFID in conjunction with inventory and asset management software, hospitals can improve asset optimization, receive alerts when supplies reach critical re-order levels, analyze inventory performance using real-time data, and avoid unnecessary capital expenditures because equipment is more visible.

Those benefits are also important as hospitals struggle to reduce costs and remain competitive. Patients with high-deductible insurance plans are increasingly cost sensitive. And new reimbursement schemes being tested and deployed by both private and public payers will evaluate providers both on clinical outcomes and their ability to deliver care cost-efficiently. Improving supply chain management is one strategy that can positively affect both of those metrics.

Healthcare SCM and clinical operations are more inter-dependent than ever; RFID and other technology solutions can help bridge the divide between them.

Xerafy’s rugged RFID tags are improving healthcare supply chain visibility for everything from small surgical instruments to large medical devices in a variety of hospital settings. We want to know where you think there are untapped opportunities for RFID in healthcare. Do you see processes in your own organization that can benefit from the technology? Have you already deployed RFID for inventory or asset management at a hospital? Share your stories with us in the comments section, or contact us directly here.

For more on how RFID can help improve the healthcare supply chain, see or previous blog, “Five Ways RFID is Already Improving Healthcare.

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