Why worry about supply and demand management in healthcare?
The pandemic created evidence of the following:
There is a new communication channel between medical staff and the organization. In pandemic times, every hospital and healthcare organization had to screen the workforce for COVID-19. It means that every single employee had to open that application. This created a daily communication channel between the organization and the employee.
Also, there is a lack of human resources. If one hospital has enough nurses, then another does not. Not enough staff is a problem that does not go away , so we need to get creative with the solutions.
Here we have an opportunity never seen before: we can use that app to manage the resources/ supply/workforce resources in real-time. Contrary to formal emails, a slower communication process, nurses and doctors now have an app they must open every day before work.
If you look at the workforce as a supply of labor, the workforce is supplying care for the patients.
We are talking about people helping people, but this mental model helps can help in several ways.
How can supply and demand management help in healthcare?
1) We can save costs with real-time scheduling
How can we use this communication channel in hospital management? For example, when you are planning procedures and surgeries, a surgical room costs more than $2000 per hour – all resources are expensive. At the same time, you need to make sure that you have the right anesthesiologist, surgical nurses, surgeons on a particular time in one place. This scheduling needs to ensure we have these resources for that specific day and time. And there are often mistakes. Either a surgeon is unavailable or there is not enough nurses. Supply/demand management is essential here to use the resources to reduce costs and schedule a surgery earlier. It is vital for patients!
2) We can manage assets
If there is not enough resources, sometimes it is hard to tell right away. For example, sometimes nurses “hoard” resources like wheelchairs. They can put it away in a place that suits them, so that they can always use it for a patient. One of our clients tagged surgical equipment, inlcuding wheelchairs. This way, they can manage the number of resources and to make sure if there is enough for everyone.
3) We can prepare for disasters
After the many tradegies like Boston Marathon Bombing, this is a hard but necessary topic. For 3+ years, we have a large client, a leading US hospital networking with 250 other hospitals. They are building a resource management infrastructure in case of disaster events. I noticed that the biggest challenge is to transition patients to other facilities. You must to bring them to a place for their specific needs, like a Burn and Critical Care unit in case of a fire.
Supply and demand management is key to resolving these issues, if they arise in or outside the hospital. If you need any more help, reach out for a call.
Anatoly has more than 30 years of technology, product development, and solutions delivery experience, including over 20 years in the Healthcare Industry. Anatoly resides in Boston, MA. He is an avid hiker and has reached numerous mountain tops in Europe, Eastern and Western United States, and Asia.