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Multi-specialty hospitals and procurement strategy – Can it be their USP?

If there is one thing that stands out in Covid-19 and its excellent management by India, it is none other than our ability to manage resources at point of care. Be it oxygen availability or precious Remdesivir/Tocilizumab and other medicines, masks and PPE kits, sterilizers, nurses, doctors, ventilators, and beds, their availability ensured that India started managing it better than many developed nations with far superior healthcare resources. Resilience of Indian healthcare sector became the catalyst in our fight against Covid-19 pandemic. At macro level, response from the government, state and district administration, collabo­rative environ­ment extended by other allied industries, pharma­ceutical industry, and foreign relations of our nation proved the winning formulae.

Role of supply chain management (SCM) post Covid-19 pandemic
The ability of hospitals to manage resources reflects in its supply chain management (SCM) practices. Identifying, forecasting requirements, procurement and sourcing, budgeting, and making right resources available at right places in right timeframe is one way to assess efficiency and effectiveness of sound SCM practices. SCM practices must become part of the strategy document of a hospital, which is rare in today’s scenario. One common mistake we all, healthcare providers and leaders, make is that we consider medicines and consumables and, at times, general stores and purchases as part of SCM. This is not the ideal way to approach SCM in a hospital. SCM for the sake of broader strategic level for a hospital simply means management of all resources that go as an input in enabling the hospital to deliver quality care. So, here human resources, bio-medical engineering, facility management services, operations, pharmacy, stores, etc., all become part of the supply chain management practices in a hospital.

Tier-II and Tier-III cities have unique challenges when it comes to ensuring efficient SCM practices across a hospital. Lack of availability of credible suppliers is a big challenge. Range and options available to choose form get limited once you operate in Tier-II, III or IV cities. Manpower and materials management becomes a steep task to achieve. Nonetheless, the ability of a hospital to grow and sustain will largely depend on its capability to ensure effective and efficient supply chain management practices. Below is given depiction of supply chain management approach for a hospital.

Our SCM practices and procurement plans for next 2 years
At Sunshine Global Hospitals, 400+ bedded chain of multi-specialty hospitals located in Baroda and Surat cities of Gujarat, we follow sound supply chain management practices to ensure each and every input that goes in caring for our patients and stakeholders is of the highest quality, higher lifecycle value, exceeds expectations of end-users and makes strong positive business case for us to have that in our hospitals. Decision making is decentralized with strong impetus on end-users while making a procurement decision.

Post Covid-19, we are having two distinct sets of plans in place for our project management team – one for our upcoming 130+ bedded multi-specialty hospital in Gujarat and the other to facelift our existing hospitals in Baroda and Surat from patient-experience side. Facelift is inevitable due to changing needs of patients and families in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. We are looking forward to upgrade every touchpoint aspect that patients experience and 360-degree overhaul around patient’s bed where he/she spends maximum time during hospitalization. We are upgrading our OT complex, OPD wings, ICUs, and waiting areas across all our hospitals. On the other hand, the project team is on the drawing board to design a 130-bedded multi-specialty hospital in an upscale area of Baroda. The project will be completed in the next 24 months. We are looking forward to engage the best-in-class inputs that will go in building that hospital.

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