The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the flaws and vulnerabilities in health-care supply chains. Without incurring expensive expenses, the sector can employ a number of techniques to prevent supply chain interruptions during big disasters.
Recently, logistics has gained strategic relevance in hospital management. Now we see strategic logistics initiatives like outsourcing hospital supply chain activities (purchasing and supply management, sterilization, stock management or intra and inter-site transport, etc.). Hospital managers have adopted lean management tools and practices to foster growth. Thus, mistakes, process quality, and wait times were greatly reduced.
Logistics is seen as a good strategy to organize staff time and improve patient care conditions given the hospital system’s complexity, patient profile diversity, and high demand for care.
Other flows, such as patients, are considered in logistical planning. Connectivity and synchronization are necessary to avoid issues with wait times and medical resource misuse.
Several studies have offered innovative ways to improve intra-site patient circulation and safety in care units or medical-technical services. Inter-hospital patient transfers demand efficient network logistics due to high expenses and risk of data loss or medical consequences. Finally, the patient flow research examined administrative procedures for treating patients and tracking their medical data.
The development of modern IT technologies has benefited hospital flows (Radio Frequency Identification, Entreprise Ressource Planning, mobile application, etc.). A new management focusing on financial, administrative, and medical control has been attempted using ICTs. Financial data processing for cost control was previously researched. Other studies focused on physical flow circulation, such as blood flow traceability, waste elimination, or pharmaceutical flow management.
Information flows can help improve patient flow. Electronic patient records help record data by providing complete patient history. They also function as a conduit between the organization and its partners (laboratory, hospital, blood transfusion center, etc.).
Using lean logistics strategies and technologies to industrialize the health sector takes time and involvement from stakeholders. These tactics are rarely generalized across all processes in healthcare. Bureaucracy and top management commitment are two major roadblocks. Hospitals lack a logistics culture. A good logistic strategy also relies on major actors’ qualifications (purchasers, logistics managers, nurses, etc.). Technology, organizational, and human relations should be prioritized in hospitals to improve this component.
We highlighted various challenges facing hospitals in the future. In this special issue, experts on healthcare logistics are discussed. In-depth analysis of global case studies reveals SCM methodologies like SC integration and lean management.
Miroslava A. Rakovska and Stilyana V. Stratieva propose a hospital supply chain management empirical SCM setup (HSCM). Based on 63 Bulgarian institutions’ cluster analysis, they build a healthcare supply chain taxonomy. Internal SC integration procedures were divided into three categories: advanced, developing, and undeveloped. Their findings highlight HSCM trends and their impact on hospital performance. This includes enhancing performance with internal and external SC partners.
Northwest haulage companies are increasingly interested in minimizing waste and going green. Green healthcare methods apply. They explore the relationship between greening supply chains and lean practices in healthcare, particularly hospitals. They employ IDEF process modeling to develop dimensions and synergies between lean and green. They develop six research suggestions for using lean to improve hospital greening.
This is a big healthcare concern. The authors of ‘Multi-criteria distribution network redesign for the Moroccan healthcare supply chain’ created a five-step ranking system. They compared several decentralized distribution network architectures using AHP multi-criteria decision making and showed the best fit for the Moroccan pharmaceutical supply chain. This report also recommends research topics for diverse healthcare supply chains and regions.
Soriya Hoeur and Per Engelseth develop a nationwide strategy to improve hospital logistics. They emphasized that assessing healthcare performance at both the national and operational levels is difficult. End result: the most important criterion is inventory control, followed by information and technology management. Less than optimal performance in these two categories is shown in 18 case studies of public and private hospitals from five countries. These data demonstrate inadequate and inefficient hospital logistics. The authors encourage hospitals to regularly check their stocks and IT systems.
Many studies have been done on humanitarian SC management. Their research focuses on humanitarian logistics and supply chain management in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Because many countries’ health systems are inadequate and humanitarian disasters occur frequently, humanitarian organisations must maximize their limited logistical resources. Essai LSCM cost factors in a humanitarian setting The authors construct hypotheses that are tested using a robust regression model. Even if logistics managers cannot control them, just four major determinants affect supply chain costs per beneficiary.
Valérie Belanger, Martin Beaulieu, and Sylvain Landry study the impact of nursing unit inventory management on replenishment system performance. Stock-taking takes time away from nurses’ ability to provide care. Decentralizing nursing unit storage sites could save nurses time handling medical supplies, but would require more logistical resources to maintain. This result emphasizes the necessity for a holistic approach to inventory management and replenishment.
Purchasing accounts for a major chunk of hospital operating expenses. Purchasing groups can assist optimize the supply chain. Omar Bentahar examines criteria for establishing healthcare purchasing groups. Succeeding purchasing groups have common success factors such as communication, teamwork, and senior management involvement. The project manager’s skills, buyer training, and change resistance are listed. When it comes to supply chain management, this study’s findings are noteworthy.