How Health Care Industry Changes Are Impacting the Supply Chain

How Health Care Industry Changes Are Impacting the Supply Chain

Rapid changes in the health care industry are impacting supply chain planning and execution. Philip Profeta, vice president of supply chain operations at Baylor, Scott & White Health Care, discusses the implications.

With 43 hospitals and more than 500 patient care sites, Baylor, Scott & White Health Care is the largest health care system in Texas and the eighth-largest in the U.S. Profeta says his job is exciting and also challenging.

“The changes in technology that we are seeing are rapid and ongoing, but unlike many other industries these changes are not related to fads or consumer trends – they are related to the heart and soul of what we do, which is saving lives and delivering quality care,” he says.

The supply chain is on the front line of this fast-paced change “because we are the ones who have to figure out how to bring everything in at a reasonable cost without disturbing the quality of care,” he says. “Where we struggle is in how to do that in a changing environment with the many unknowns facing us today.”

Everyone wants health care costs to come down, he says. Undoubtedly some of the cost reductions being talked about will come from the supply chain. “Those of us in the health care supply chain are under pressure to come up with new processes, streamline the ways we do business and create formularies for patient communities that reduce costs,” Profeta says.

Improvements in demand forecasting also are badly needed, he says. “I think we can learn a great deal from other industries, particularly in the area of predictive modeling. How to determine what to have on hand for that patient that you don’t even know will show up is a real challenge for us.”

Another issue that Baxter, Scott & White is focusing on is the supply chain talent pool, Profeta says. “Many of us, and I am of that vintage, are approaching the time when they will no longer be working, so we need to look at who will fill all the various positions in the supply chain that have become extremely technical in nature. An aging staff is one of the biggest problems we have.”

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