Importance of Connected Logistics in the Surgical Industry

08 Jul 2022

Connected Logistics in the surgical industry needs to be resilient and agile to react quickly to whatever issues come up. It could be unexpected time delays, inaccurate deliveries, or equipment malfunctions.

Such crises are always logistical nightmares within the healthcare industry. It could result in problems such as scheduling issues, reputational damage, erosion of patient confidence and extra costs.

How can Connected Logistics be of help?

To resolve such logistical issues, the surgical industry has embraced the concept of robust supply chain management, which involves extensive application of advanced robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), and the next generation of big data analytics. It is also known as Supply Chain 4.0 (term coined by McKinsey and Company).

  • As mentioned, this approach depends heavily on disruptive technologies, such as IoT, big data, and AI (Artificial Intelligence) analytics to improve efficiency, visibility, and accountability across the entire supply chain. It makes widespread use of data loggers and sensors to collect and monitor critical data throughout the supply chain for healthcare logistics managers. After combining with remote monitoring and intelligent analytics, the system allows pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations to automate and analyze many aspects of delivery and storage.
  • Connected Logistics basically “connects” all parts of healthcare logistics. Thus, the surgical industry can leverage intelligent analytics to predict demand trends and adjust their orders accordingly. For instance, a pharmacy uses predictive analytics in its supply chain to ensure they don’t run out of medicines.  When its inventory is close to getting depleted, the system can send an automatic order notification to the pharmaceutical supplier to replenish the stock.
  • Yet another aspect where Connected Logistics offers immense benefit is quality control and risk management, which is all the more essential when it comes to pharmaceutical environmental monitoring.  There are many environmental variables involved in drugs and vaccines like temperature and humidity. Thus, it creates a need to continuously monitor these conditions and protect the quality and efficacy of the products. For example, vaccine manufacturers and distributors can use IoT-enabled devices to automate temperature monitoring of goods. They can effectively trace, monitor, and control vaccine temperatures throughout the cold chain (to a certain extent), from the production line to where the dose is readied for administration.  It reduces vaccine wastage, eliminates manual processes, and improves logistics efficiency.
  • Connected Logistics also helps detect deviations, failures, and other issues in the supply chain, in real-time.  For instance, remote monitoring of healthcare cold chain logistics can help detect even the slightest fluctuations in temperature conditions, alerting the supply staff to take preventive measures.

How can Connected Logistics help the surgical industry?

The surgical industry revolves around managing assets, while optimizing costs without compromising the health of a patient.

Pharmacy

The main objective of a hospital is to provide proper health care to patients. That is why, a consistent supply of high quality medicines are required in the pharmacy. This is where Connected Logistics plays a crucial role – it ensures timely availability of medicines at the lowest possible purchasing cost. When it comes to the supply chain, it requires various suppliers, vendor agreements, floating of tenders, rounds of negotiations, and freezing on processes of product delivery (some medicines have to be transported at regulated temperatures only).

Store keepers managing the supply chain in today’s hospitals are unaware about management principles. At times, medicines end up in high demand and low availability or vice-versa. It enhances risk of expiry of medicines in the pharmacy. Since it is tough to determine exact demand for medicines, it is necessary to capture precise data on medicine consumption. It gives a clear insight about the trends. As mentioned above, keeping tabs on the data, ensures that the stock is replenished whenever supply runs low.

Patient Safety

Did you know that thousands of patients die every year due to poor safety cultures and preventable medical mistakes?  Connected Logistics in the surgical industry is necessary for maintaining the flow of business, without compromising on the valuabl

t Hospitals have to link patient safety and all other processes in correct format, such as managing expired medicines by automating the medicine/product tracking and identifying. This ensures that staff and patients are confident about the mode of treatment. All time-consuming supply chain processes can be streamlined to reduce time used to track down critical drugs and medicines, prevent human errors, and eliminate redundant processes. Data should be captured using IoT and Connected Logistics to ensure there is no margin for mistakes. All processes should follow supply chain transparency to gain patient satisfaction and considering human life the most important.

Blood Bank

The goal of hospitals is to dynamically manage and monitor the blood supply chain. According to research, supply of donor blood is irregular, so the following aspects should be taken care of:

  • Locations selected for blood collections, depending on the transfusion services commodity required, should be stored.
  • Number of regional blood banks has to be on record.
  • Supply and demand should be coordinated systematically to meet the purpose.
  • Transportation of blood on demand sans any delays.
  • Delivery system to be closely connected to meet the run time requirement.
  • Blood banks should be open 24×7 for any emergencies in the hospital or nearby hospitals.

Connected Logistics improves customer experience

The surgical industry of today, is customer-driven, so patient satisfaction is a top priority. As disruptive technologies and inter-connected devices compile relevant data and insights, healthcare organizations can apply this information to streamline their logistic needs and enhance customer experience.

Increased logistical operational efficiency will only result from IoT devices streaming data that can be accessed and analyzed in real-time. It reduces disruptions, improves communication, and ensures better-managed logistics. IoT is a game-changer for healthcare organizations to maintain logistics best practices and redefine demand and supply, thus allowing them to better respond to evolving needs.

Connected Logistics in the surgical industry offers a myriad of benefits such as automated collection and organization of data, real-time and customized alerts to detect and prevent anomalies in the supply chain, and much more. By leveraging this technology at all the monitoring points, the surgical industry can conveniently transition from reactive to proactive logistics monitoring.