Better Patient Care: How Innovating the Medical Device Supply Chain Unlocks Efficiency and Optimization

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Nicolas Orrego
Nicolas Orrego

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When it comes to better and more responsive patient care, an absolute focus on doing things the right way and consistently better is needed. Solving the medical device supply chain is one area that needs to be improved in order to serve the patient better.

All it takes is to be:

“Driven by innovation and efficiency and laser-focused on cost control, risk management, and optimizing supply chain support.”1

Dan Hurry, President Advantus Health Partners & CSCO Bon Secours Mercy Health

Innovation and efficiency are the keys to creating and maintaining success in this challenging industry. When the supply chain is optimized, then the focus can be placed where it matters most: on the patient.

Yet, in the past there have been more problems than solutions. The medical device supply chain is unique and creates complex challenges that will take initiative, innovation, and collaboration to solve.

Dan Hurry explains:

“In the healthcare supply chain, we lack a universal language that helps the intelligence, or the digital supply chain and flow, [and] that allows for an effective physical flow of goods… Different systems, different hospitals, [and] different manufacturers…all tend to use their own language—which creates tremendous inefficiencies, waste, and challenges to being a truly effective supply chain.” 2 

This causes extra burdens on various stakeholders. Recently, Stryker CEO Kevin Lobo underscored3 an increasingly problematic reality for nurses in hospital systems:

“On average, 50% of a nurse’s time is spent on indirect or non-patient care activities.”

– Kevin Lobo, CEO, Stryker

As demands on nurse’s time mount, there is increased urgency to relieve them of tasks not directly utilizing their highly specialized skills and training. Lobo also highlighted the importance of “transforming how [providers] think about care coordination.”

These operational, financial, and ultimately clinical challenges are caused by too many disparate systems, processes, and tools. This is magnified by the fact that each healthcare provider and medical device manufacturer have their own set of tools and processes as well.


True Innovation Takes Investment & Partnership

In his first letter to investors4 as Medtronic CEO, Geoff Martha emphasizes the value of investments in “rapid innovation and real-time decision making” and to be more “agile, decisive, and fast moving, while enhancing accountability.” This then elevates “stature and respect with physicians and hospitals globally.”

Martha identifies 6 ways to accomplish this:

  1. Put a greater focus on technological advancement.
  2. Identify large unmet clinical needs.
  3. Free up financial resources.
  4. Leverage technology platforms.
  5. Apply deep expertise.
  6. Create and scale solutions that have not existed before.

Essentially, turning “intelligent data, AI, and automation” into convenient, real-time action through “simpler, superior experiences for patients and customers” requires “creating agile partnerships that produce novel solutions” which are “anchored in deep insight.”

This future reality will take work. It will take collaboration.

Martha highlights the importance of partnership:

“We’re not necessarily known for supply chain excellence or manufacturing, so we’re bringing that into our company… Medtronic is a big, global, complicated company; you can’t know everything. And so, having the right team…the right players…the right mindset, and each puzzle piece, each player contributes something different—and it all has to work together…the team has to work together in harmony.”5

This future reality will take work. It will take data. In order to get the needed data that provides insights and automation, a powerful tool is required that can passively collect all the information both expected and unexpected. Additionally, this user-friendly tool must make it easier for the user to perform their job.

Movemedical is the enterprise technology platform purpose-built with, and supported by, deep industry expertise & partnership. It provides a simple, superior experience using intelligent data, AI, and automation, and frees-up resources for field and clinical users to an extent not previously achieved in the industry.


The Way Forward

Stryker CEO Kevin Lobo outlined 6 Strategies3 that will help solve these industry challenges. The six strategies are: 

  1. Connect People with the Technology Needed to Support Dynamic Workflows
  2. Reduce Cognitive Burdens
  3. Facilitate Seamless Communication
  4. Provide Rich Insights
  5. Free Up More Time for Nurses
  6. Enhance Patient Care

Here is how Movemedical supports these 6 Strategies:


1. Connect People with the Technology Needed to Support Dynamic Workflows

Tailored Technology:

  • Modular configurations are matched to the specific needs of each stakeholder (i.e. clinical staff, billing administration, supplier sales operations).

Streamlined Workflow:

  • Purpose-built to industry best practices, more efficient tasks free-up resources for more value-added priorities.

Widespread Adoptability:

  • User-friendly intuitive tools that help staff do their jobs promote user adoption and enhance productivity and satisfaction.


2. Reduce Cognitive Burdens

Manual Effort Reduction:

  • Menial tasks are automated, reducing error correction and exception management time for highly skilled nurses.

Value-Added Focus:

  • Productivity and effectiveness of staff’s most valuable skillsets (i.e. patient care) is maximized.

Ease of Use:

  • Making the right thing the easiest thing to do removes the stress from performing poor processes using inferior systems.


3. Facilitate Seamless Communication

Integrated Systems:

  • Supplier ERP and provider EHR system integrations bridge information gaps, providing timely, accurate data that drives action.

Comprehensive Data Flow:

  • Automated surgery set requests, systemwide population of usage item details from a single scan, and seamless billing and PO tracking.

Accuracy and Transparency:

  • Collaboration between suppliers and providers through automated data enhances insights and eliminates human error.


4. Provide Rich Insights

Detailed Time Slices:

  • Systematic tracking data of every movement and action associated with each piece within kits or as loose items is collected and displayed as “time slices”. 

Advanced Analytics:

  • Data models, native algorithms, and AI accurately determine (re)distribution of inventory locations, maximizing efficiency while minimizing loss.

Better Decision-making:

  • Better data, smarter planning, efficient resource distribution, and effective par management lead to overall optimization of inventory and operations.


5. Free Up More Time for Nurses

Reduced Documentation:

  • Unified digital usage capture processes significantly reduce documentation time and effort burden for nurses.

Automation Efficiency:

  • Eliminating inefficiencies and bottlenecks in inventory management means less time and effort spent on manual processes.

Reallocation of Time:

  • When nurses reclaim time previously spent on manual tasks, they can focus on more valuable patient care activities.


6. Enhance Patient Care

Increased Focus on Patients:

  • When healthcare professionals can focus on quality care, there is better communication, education, and engagement in their own care.

Better Outcomes:

  • Automation reduces liability risks, controls carrying and operational costs, and frees up financial resources, which gives the patient a more reliable experience.

Improved Relationships:

  • A better overall patient experience enhances provider-patient relationship and fosters customer loyalty.


In Perfect Alignment

Movemedical optimizes the healthcare industry by empowering providers to prioritize patient care. Our comprehensive suite of digital solutions for field inventory automation are aimed at solving the industry as a whole. If you are a healthcare provider and would like to find out more how Movemedical can help your nurses focus on patient care (or if you are a med device manufacturer that is not yet taking advantage of any part of Movemedical’s suite of field automation modules), talk to us about seeing a demo today.


Sources:

  1. Dan Hurry (2024. April). LinkedIn [Post]:
    https://www.linkedin.com/posts/dan-hurry-86320340_advantus-health-partners-and-ge-healthcare-activity-7179131683936329728-Lbi5 ↩︎
  2. Brian Straight. (2024. May 23). Talking Supply Chain: Health care and the vital role the supply chain plays. Supply Chain Management Revies [Podcast]: https://www.scmr.com/podcast/talking_supply_chain_health_care_and_the_vital_role_the_supply_chain_plays/podcast#top ↩︎
  3. Kevin Lobo. (2024. April) LinkedIn [Post]: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7176228710298128384 ↩︎
  4. Geoff Martha. (2020. September 29). 2020 LETTER TO SHAREHOLDERS. Retrieved (May 1, 2024) from:
    https://investorrelations.medtronic.com/image/2020%20Shareholder%20Letter%20FINAL.pdf ↩︎
  5. Yahoo Finance [yahoofinance]. (2021. December 04). Medtronic CEO on Elon Musk, supply chain concerns and the coronavirus pandemic. YouTube [Video]:
    https://youtu.be/fuhSx3jec2s?si=9ZExqdAZ6QPrkKBM ↩︎
  6. Kevin Lobo. (2024. April) LinkedIn [Post]: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7176228710298128384 ↩︎

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