Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX) recently interviewed provider and supplier customers to explore their vision for the “Future Healthcare Supply Chain.” As the healthcare industry continues to change, organizations are seeking new ways to remove waste, cut costs and improve patient care. 

GHX spoke with a select group of customers, from large- and mid-sized hospitals to some of the biggest suppliers in the world, for their perspectives on how the supply chain will help usher in healthcare transformation and its role in the coming two decades. Based on those interviews, eight key trends emerged that illustrate the strategic role the healthcare supply chain of the future will play in delivering value and insight to all areas of the organization.

“For the past 15 years, the industry has been laser focused on basic cost-cutting initiatives. Today, healthcare has the opportunity to build off of those foundational changes to not only help solve the cost-quality equation, but also to influence the industry’s future effectiveness,” said Bruce Johnson, CEO and president, GHX. “Our interviewees strongly believe that when we look out 10-to-20 years, the supply chain is the answer for creating long-term industry viability and ensuring quality patient care. GHX is committed to a Future Supply Chain that continues to deliver solutions that help both providers and suppliers successful navigate future technology-driven supply chain opportunities.”

Making Predictions

Based on the conversations GHX had with provider and supplier customers, it made eight predictions on the future healthcare supply chain. They are:

    +The Future Supply Chain will be a goldmine for data.
    Many interviewees noted the Future Supply Chain will sit on a “goldmine” of outcomes data that will be documented, recorded and used to make better decisions for patient care. 
    +The Future Supply Chain will be part of the C-suite and involved in strategic projects across the organization. 
    The Future Supply Chain will have a more prominent seat in the C-suite and be a linchpin in projects across different areas of the business. 
    +The Future Supply Chain will lead the standardization of care.
    The Future Supply Chain will support and guide this change, as it sits on valuable data that can help determine not only the best price, but also the best outcomes, which will help change long-standing, inefficient and wasteful processes.
    +The Future Supply Chain will be in lockstep with clinicians.
    Supply chain and clinicians will meet regularly to help ensure continuous improvements, share ideas, compare products/outcomes and they are always making the informed decisions. 
    +The Future Supply Chain will be predictive and rarely, if ever, falter.
    Future Supply Chain data will not only be used to make better decisions, but also leveraged for predictive analytics. To be fluid and fast in getting products to clinicians, supply chain professionals will use data to better anticipate what will be needed, and not falter or lose speed if a product is discontinued or backordered. 
    +The Future Supply Chain will be based on long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between trading partners.

Providers and suppliers will work toward the mutual goal of improved patient care and find ways to better align incentives to succeed.

    +The Future Supply Chain will expand to wherever the patient goes.
    The Future Supply Chain will be extended past the four walls of the hospital to help ensure patients get the care they need, wherever they are – and do not return to the hospital.
    +The Future Supply Chain will adapt to personalized medicine and the more-informed consumer.
    With disruptive technologies on the horizon like 3-D printers and improved imaging and diagnostics, the Future Supply Chain will adapt with new manufacturing and buying processes around “personalized medicine.” 

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