The cost of medical supplies is skyrocketing, putting immense financial strain on hospitals across the country. In fact, hospitals spend over $25 billion per year on supplies alone, accounting for up to one-third of total healthcare expenditures. Reducing these costs is absolutely critical for the financial sustainability and continued success of healthcare organizations.
While supplies are indispensably important, they also contribute heavily to waste - hospitals produce around 6 million tons of medical waste annually. Cutting this waste is paramount without sacrificing patient health outcomes. In fact, optimizing supply chain management and cutting unnecessary costs can actually improve overall efficiency and increase value-based care.
The good news is that there are ways to cut waste without sacrificing health outcomes. In fact, streamlining your supply chain will do the opposite. It will improve efficiencies that result in increased value-based care.
Why Reducing Medical Supply Spending is Critical
Like a parasite siphoning nutrients, out-of-control medical supply costs divert funds from other crucial healthcare investments. Limiting access to quality care and worsening health disparities are just two of the devastating consequences. That’s why getting a handle on medical supply spending is mission-critical. Cost reduction enables hospitals to stay financially viable and continue serving their communities.
Barriers Standing in the Way
Progress never comes easy, and reducing medical supply costs is no different. Deep-rooted barriers across the healthcare ecosystem stand stubbornly in the way like a brick wall. From ingrained purchasing habits to flawed incentive structures, overcoming these obstacles feels akin to dismantling a mountain. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. The following proven strategies can chip away at even the most daunting barriers.
Do an Assessment and Make a Plan
One of the first (and best) things you can do to start reducing medical waste (and associated costs) is to take a hard look at your current policies and purchasing practices. Do an audit of how medical supplies are used in every aspect of your hospital, then determine ways to improve these outcomes.
Drill down all aspects of the medical supply chain. This includes, but is not limited to, the types of products you buy and whether there are alternatives. Look at supply storage and waste segregation policies. You can also examine disposal methods and associated transportation costs.
The most important thing is to identify deficiencies and develop a plan to address them. This is the first step in creating better efficiency and reducing medical supply costs and waste.
Inventory Management Software: The Sledgehammer
Nothing can replace manual counting and tracking of every box of gloves or pack of syringes. Or can it? An inventory management system is like a superpowered sledgehammer smashing through the blockade of bloated administrative costs. By providing real-time hospital inventory visibility and automating reordering, inventory management dramatically shrinks overhead costs. Holding on to outdated tracking methods in the face of this game-changing technology is like clinging to a horse and buggy when cars are available.
Standardizing Procedures: The Crowbar
In their quest to provide top-tier care, hospitals have accumulated vast arrays of supplies and devices as if collecting treasures. But sprinkled among the gems are redundant tools that vary across departments purely due to habit. Standardizing efficient procedures leverages the power of scalpel-sharp focus to pare away unnecessary customizations. Decluttering decades of accumulated supplies opens up new possibilities.
Group Purchasing: The Bargaining Chip
Even the most capable negotiator can only extract so many concessions from a vendor when bargaining alone. But when hospitals band together into a group purchasing organization (GPO), it’s like multiplying that leverage tenfold. Strength in numbers applies serious bargaining power to capture bulk discounts and reduce costs. If one ant cannot move a rubber tree plant, then an army of ants most certainly can.
Building a Cost-Reduction Culture
Implementing new technical solutions and processes is a crucial first step. But true transformation requires embedding cost-consciousness into the cultural DNA of an organization. Regular staff training and incentives help make judicious use of resources part of the institutional identity. When conservation becomes part of who you are, rather than just something you do, that’s when lasting change takes root.
The time for action is now. Adopting proven medical supply cost reduction strategies paves the path for hospitals to achieve fiscal stability and dedicate more resources to their core mission – providing top-tier patient care. Taming the out-of-control spending once and for all liberates hospitals from its gravity, letting their true potential to help communities shine brightly.
Learn More About Better Managing Medical Supplies
Now that you understand some ways to keep the cost of medical supplies down, you can begin implementing these strategies. Making your clinic more efficient means savings, but also better healthcare outcomes and happier patients.
Here at BlueBin, our mission is to improve healthcare by adding value to your supply chain management process. In short, we want to ensure you have the right healthcare supplies when you need them. Reach out to us today to learn more about our products and services or to schedule a free demonstration.