New Logistical Issues in Healthcare

Healthcare demands will rise as the US population expands and life expectancy increases. Lesser doses of specialty pharmaceuticals will be required. Home visits and deliveries will be required more frequently. Value-based care and cost control are driven by consumer and government demand.

This will provide new logistical issues in healthcare. As more patients leave home, more drugs, supplies, and equipment are needed. Patients will be less tolerant of delays due to consumer expectations. Healthcare shipments require special handling due to refrigeration, tracking, and device configuration.

The US healthcare landscape is shifting. Over-65s order three times as many medicines as the 18-49s. Nowadays, most people have at least one chronic illness. Patients, on the other hand, seek simplicity. They shun doctors and even pharmacies. The COVID-19 outbreak has expedited it after years of gradual progress.

E-commerce has influenced healthcare. People want pharmaceuticals to be delivered as quickly and easily as consumer goods. This shift away from personal interactions accelerated the development of impersonal, logistics-intensive routes. Patient expectations for Amazon Pharmacy’s delivery speed, flexibility, and openness have risen.

Existing merchants invest to stay ahead of the curve. A physical business presence may be an important entry point for home delivery. Others offer curbside pickup, lockers, and courier services.

These improvements and costs need better planning, inventory, and order management. Adding more logistical lanes doesn’t guarantee better customer (patient) service. A similar set of revolutions will shape healthcare. As a result, major retailers are increasing their investments in digital and data science solutions (IoT).

From 24% in 2013, specialty pharmaceuticals now account for 36% of global pharmacy spending. By 2024, they’ll make up 40% of global GDP and 52% of developed economies. These are pricey, complex medications used to treat rare diseases that require special handling. Customs clearance, overnight delivery, and tracking may be required.

From 381 in 2015, there are now 1,069 authorized speciality pharmacies. However, smaller, largely regional businesses are growing their specialized capacities to deliver the goods.

Mail order pharmacies supply the most speciality drugs (74%). FedEx, UPS, and other third-party logistics providers will undoubtedly compete for business (3PLs).

Specialty drug growth complicates delivery and diminishes efficiency. As reported in early 2021, safe operation requires tight handling conditions. Many specialized medicine markets are tiny and geographically dispersed. To ensure these vital pharmaceuticals arrive quickly and safely, distributors must closely monitor the 2013 Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), serialization, and track-and-trace difficulties.

The majority of medical supplies prior to the outbreak were imported from Southeast Asia, such as masks and gloves. COVID-19 discontinued production, producing shortages in hospitals. Reuse of supplies and equipment was mandated by the CDC.

To avoid disruptions in raw material supply, increase counterfeit protection, and greater visibility into inventory levels while freeing working capital, supply chain resilience is necessary in 2020.

The medical supply sector evolves drastically as medical institutions learn this lesson. The necessity to reinvent supply networks is one of the most significant implications of these advances for logistics. Northwest haulage companies already do this. Like other industries, multi-shoring has an impact on logistics networks.

It is a cost-effectiveness-patient-centered compromise. Preventing hospitalization enhances chronic disease therapy compliance. Improved health comes from better adherence. Avoiding hospitalization saves money for payers.

A larger network of hospitals is also included in the expansion. Contrary to common assumption, capital-intensive technology like MRI machines will remain in hospitals and outpatient centers. CPAP, dialysis, and ventilators are examples. This trend has been accelerated by the epidemic’s heightened patient aversion to hospitals.

Increasing connectivity is the trend’s key facilitator. Online maintenance and consumable replacement are possible. Thanks to connection, qualified support staff are no longer required.

The services are crucial when the machines arrive. It’s tech-savvy white-glove service. The delivery worker sets up and configures the machine. However, calibrating and configuring medical equipment is far more difficult than a dishwasher. To install consumables or perform preventative maintenance on specific devices, professionals may be required Finding a technician to support ten pieces of equipment in one place used to be difficult. Manufacturers and distributors will pay more for better logistical services, with no visible way to recoup their costs.

Producing and distributing medical devices may require new business strategies and logistics skills. At rural areas, they must now supply equipment and services to clientele less sophisticated than professionals in hospitals.

Many current market patterns are projected to continue. Price competition and multichannel demand will increase consumerization of pharmaceuticals, OTC drugs, and medical supplies. The convenience and cost-effectiveness of localized treatment will increase The epidemic has accelerated long-term trends of mobility from drugstore to curbside to house delivery, and from hospital to long-term care institution to home treatment.

Companies in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries responded with

Customers-focused pharmaceuticals, OTC treatments, medical supplies, and equipment (patient-centric). In other words, create product and logistic priorities based on client needs. Assemble the supply chain’s participants, channels, and support Perhaps the most notable example is home-serviceable medical equipment. Order integration is accessible, as well as lockers and curbside collection. New solutions necessitate more coordination, thereby elevating the logistician.
Supply chains must be safe, trustworthy, and diversified. Because of the pandemic and President Biden’s recent executive orders, the focus has turned to supply chain management. The desire for resilience will add to logistics complexity, necessitating further investments.
Many of these developments shifted customer preferences. This is despite the intricacies of medical categories and the growing demand to improve customers’ health.