The materials used in the healthcare supply chain, specifically specialized and high-cost surgical products, have been on a rapid trajectory of cost increases and are becoming as expensive as the cost of staffing and benefits. What can be done to offset these costs is to manage the use and inventory of these expensive materials to enhance revenue, mitigate risk, and ensure that the focus of clinical staff is primarily on patient care (Schneller, 2011).
According to Schneller (2011), supply-chain trends for the healthcare sector will place additional emphasis on lowering costs through efficiencies to offset lower margins on patient care services. It is projected that the value of the supply chain as an organizational asset will gain momentum with healthcare leadership, as well as with a greater emphasis on investment returns from supply-chain projects and enhancements. An increased focus on the relationship between supply chain management, clinical outcomes, patient safety, and sustainability will be needed to derive accurate performance metrics to assist in making sound corporate decisions.
A migration of the supply chain from transactional to strategic will also contribute to improvements in healthcare’s bottom-line. As a method of survival, healthcare CEOs and CFOs will need to recognize the value that an efficient supply chain can provide to this struggling sector of the economy (Schneller, 2011).
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Any new initiative requiring collaboration would undoubtedly affect staff differently. For many employees, the social aspect of collaboration is a socialization task and is frowned upon in the workplace. In order to change these views, the active support of these stakeholders must be gained. Several methods can be utilized to break this cycle and foster an environment that collaborates and accepts change. Senior management should demonstrate its support through actions and not just directives. Second, collaboration must become part of the employees’ work habits and routine. Finally, middle managers must be empowered to affect change and have the support of senior management to empower others. Experimentation such as this comes with some risk of setbacks, but the collaborative environment that accepts initiatives for change far outweigh the risks (Yehuda, 2009).
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