Without a shadow of a doubt, the scientific and technological advances in the healthcare sector have been unparalleled in human history over the past 50 years.
As a result, average life expectancies have increased dramatically throughout the world, with the average person today expected to live to be between 60 and 80 years old on average. It is obvious that humans are living longer lives than previous generations.
This, however, raises the question of whether or not we are also healthier as a result of our lifestyle choices. The data indicates that the answer to this question is a straightforward and obvious ‘No.’ A casual examination of the recent history of human disease suggests that there has been a shift in the epidemiology of disease. There has been a shift in the distribution of illnesses. For another way of saying it, the things that cause us to become ill today are not the same as they were several decades ago. After years of high frequency of infectious diseases, we appear to have crossed the threshold into high prevalence of chronic degenerative diseases.
When it comes to treating a range of symptoms or diseases, the prevalent method appears to be focused on long-term remedies that do not appear to address the underlying basis of the issue. A significant financial burden on healthcare systems around the world is being added as a result of this. Furthermore, we must recall that the senior population in the United Kingdom has increased in proportion to the working, ‘taxpaying’ population (that is, for every retired person, there is less tax paying persons supporting their economic needs). Our healthcare systems are in the midst of a perfect storm, which is making things worse.
As a direct result of these social and economic concerns, healthcare facilities all around the world are being compelled to adjust their operations to meet financial constraints. The primary goal of hospital managers is to keep expenses as low as possible while maintaining the highest possible standards of patient care. The salary of clinical personnel has traditionally been the focus of hospital management’ cost-cutting initiatives because it represents the institution’s largest expense. However, there are only so many things that can be done without endangering the quality of patient care. Hospital officials are fully aware that the quality of patient care and the amount of money the institution makes are tightly intertwined.
Furthermore, numerous nations are suffering acute nursing staff shortages, which is limiting the ability of hospitals to continue to reduce clinical staff costs at the current rate of reduction. As a result, hospital leaders have begun to pay more attention to the second-highest cost of running a healthcare organization: materials administration.
For example, if the appropriate supplies are not available in the appropriate quantities, at the appropriate times, and in the appropriate locations, the Surgery Department – a hospital’s most profitable department – will be unable to give any service. Surprise, surprise: of all hospital departments, the Surgery Department spends the most money on material management, which is not surprising (c. 60 percent of total supply costs).
Failure to have the proper supplies on hand at the commencement of a surgical treatment has ramifications that extend beyond financial loss: it can result in patient dissatisfaction, health problems, and even death. A faulty logistics strategy can restrict patient care in a variety of ways, depending on the situation (some of which may not be apparent at first sight). As an example, it has been reported that nurses and other clinical personnel spend between 30 percent and 40 percent of their time on logistical tasks such as placing orders, locating appropriate supplies, replenishing storage rooms, and so on. This is time that they are not able to devote to the task for which they were hired: providing medical care to their patients.
Indeed, the major purpose of every hospital is to provide patients with the best available care while also assuring their safety.
Beyond that, logistics wields considerable power. The patient experience, patient safety, patient comfort, and the overall quality of healthcare services can all be enhanced with the implementation of an effective materials management strategy. It is unavoidable that this will have a positive impact on income and cost savings. However, in order to achieve the most effective logistics plan, a hospital architecture that allows for seamless integration is required. In this context, strategic planning for the logistics system must be coordinated with design efforts in order to ensure that all of the benefits are realized.
These realities can no longer be ignored by those involved in the design and development of healthcare facilities. Materials management must be given the attention that it deserves to be successful. It is no longer possible to overestimate the significance of healthcare logistics companies and materials management.