In light of the ballooning global cost of providing healthcare to patients, there has been much discussion as to how operations in the healthcare industry can be implemented in a smoother and more cost-efficient manner. One major solution could lie in the efforts of various supply-chain management firms and programs to help hospitals and health care systems reduce their supply chain costs. In addition to supply chain revamps, technological revisions of documentation in the health care industry should have a significant impact in cost-cutting and time-saving.

Since many hospitals are stuck dealing with logistics issues, their attention is diverted from their primary objectives. This is why some hospitals are outsourcing their supply chain activities to third party logistics and technology companies. Global corporations such as General Electric, IBM and Verizon are getting in on the action, helping with initiatives such as sharing of electronic patient records, enterprise resource plans, and better communication software. Another way that hospitals are cutting costs is through group purchasing options, where multiple hospitals (often times in competition with one another) come together to take care of non healthcare-related aspects of the industry, such as purchasing patient bedside products, chart paper, and garbage can liners. Some hospitals where this supply-chain optimization has taken place have reported reduced supply chain expenses by up to 24%.

These are all great ideas and could revolutionize the health care industry as a whole. Not having to worry about redundant testing or clerical errors helps doctors to better perform their jobs. Additionally, not having to deal with supporting aspects of running a hospital, such as ordering garbage can liners or scrubs allows hospitals to focus on their core competency: patient health and well-being.

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