IoT Streamlines Healthcare Supply Chains
The Internet of Things (IoT) realizes that in a medical facility, the data collected
from connected objects can be used to save lives. The benefits directly accrue to the bottom line, and most importantly, result in an enhanced quality of care.
Technology is advancing rapidly. Things we dreamt of only a few years ago are now a reality.
Think of the potential of connecting any physical object, animate or inanimate, to the Internet.
The Internet of Things (IoT) realizes precisely this idea. In a medical facility, the data collected
from connected objects can be used to save lives. In this article, however, we shall present how
this data can also be used to streamline some aspects of a medical facility’ supply chain. The
benefits directly accrue to the bottom line, and most importantly, result in an enhanced quality of
Behind the scenes of Materials Managers
Let us consider for a moment an operation room (OR) in a medical facility. In the course of one
day, the medical practitioners (doctors, nurses) use hundreds of different items medical
supplies, devices and equipment. Materials personnel are the ones who ensure all required
items are continuously available, at the time and in the quantity they are needed. Theirs is the
task of replenishing what was consumed, performing longterm stock planning, and attending to
ongoing ‘outofstock’ calls.
High value medical devices (e.g. a stent) can be very expensive. A single item may cost several
thousand dollars. The material managers need to ensure there are enough of these on stock to
ensure the OR is operating smoothly. They also need to prevent the loss or misplacement of
items as well as the accidental use of expired items. In addition, hospitals are increasingly
shifting traditional purchase orders to a consignment model. As a result of this trend, it is not
uncommon to see sales reps of medical device manufactures in the vicinity of the OR they are there to encourage the use of their product, and to ensure it is in stock.
Employing IOT technology to collect and distribute data between the entire supply chain -The Hospital ->Vendor ->Logistics - can bring costs down.