By Niels Van Namen, EVP Global Healthcare, CEVA
I prefer not to be in the hospital. That statement is likely not a huge surprise. For a host of reasons, hospitals are a necessary, but not a preferred, part of life.
Apparently, I’m not alone.
Numerous studies outline recent trends — and anticipated increases — in both outpatient treatment and home healthcare markets. Outpatient facility visits and appointments are rising, and many acute care hospitals are even closing. While home healthcare market size estimates vary, growth rates average near 8% annually.
These trends are also having an observable impact on healthcare logistics, an industry that often uses airfreight capacity to transport cargo from medical devices to diagnostic equipment to pharma and bio-pharma products. From real-time tracking to last-mile solutions, healthcare and pharmaceutical customers are asking different questions from logistics providers. As healthcare, and by extension, healthcare logistics continues its patient-centric evolution, the logistics industry will need to consider things likely never imagined, like compliance requirements (e.g., HIPAA) around sensitive patient data. In short, the patient will need to be at the centre of not only the healthcare system, but also the healthcare supply chain.
At CEVA Logistics, our commitment to responsive logistics solutions for healthcare and pharmaceutical customers follows this trend of being patient centric. All CEVA healthcare logistics now fall under a suite of solutions we call FORPATIENTS, committing to considering the patient’s needs at every step of the supply chain.
This commitment includes numerous and continuous upgrades to our technology infrastructure and customer-facing systems to deliver tracking and data transparency. More generally in the industry, this level of real-time visibility will be paramount for products in transit — especially those products scheduled to be delivered at home or in a nearby location for diagnostic, clinical or surgical procedures. The resulting global supply chain would be able to support patients wherever they are, helping make healthcare more accessible and affordable across the planet.
Logistics providers will also need to revise network models and inventory holding locations to minimise supply chain capital costs. An integrated approach will be needed starting from the patients and their products or services — likely from multiple suppliers — and going all the way back upstream through the supply chain.
At CEVA, we believe that ordering multiple products and services from many different suppliers creates unnecessary complexity for patients and their care teams. Organising the deliveries around the patient would vastly improve the patient experience. In addition, creating treatment kits for certain types of diagnostic, clinical or surgical procedures could improve delivery flows, reduce inventory costs, improve product traceability and simplify the management of HIPAA requirements. In particular, patients with long-term, consistent treatment requirements would benefit most from a patient-centric, demand-driven supply chain.
This trend would impact the air cargo industry, requiring the transport of fewer bulk order shipments and more groups of kits destined for distribution hubs and then as individual shipments to the patient’s home or nearby clinic. This efficiency would result in greater healthcare accessibility, lower cost to the patient, improved patient satisfaction and a reduced impact on the environment — fewer final shipments, less cardboard and less carbon.
The time is right for holistic patient care to drive the next generation of healthcare supply chain innovations, placing the patient firmly at the centre of everything we do.