Proper supply chain management is crucial for all sectors of healthcare. It doesn’t matter if you’re a biopharma company, a health system or a pharmacy. Efficient supply chain processes can help financial and operational outcomes. But they can also help improve the patient experience. When you maximize your supply chain, you’ll see improved adherence and better health outcomes. Use the four strategies below to get more from your supply chain and deliver more to patients.

1. Tap into supply chain data

Hospital pharmacies can tap into the data within their supply chain to make better choices for patients. Cindy Jeter discusses this in “Empower Your Hospital Pharmacy’s Supply Chain Through Data.” Jeter is a supply chain management consultant for McKesson RxO. She explains why taking advantage of this data to maximize your inventory is a smart move.

“The data can tell you whether the demand for a drug has diminished,” Jeter explains. “It can tell you whether a newer drug with better clinical results is available. It can tell you whether you need to adjust your PAR levels, which is the amount of a drug that you need to safely have onsite at any one time.” This information can help you:

  • Prevent or prepare for drug shortages
  • Improve drug safety
  • Improve patient outcomes

When you have the right amount of inventory and know what drugs you need to deliver better care, you can avoid shortages. And your patients will see better health outcomes.

2. Create patient-friendly packaging

For drug manufacturing companies, the packaging you use doesn’t just affect your supply chain management. It also affects patient care. J.L. Thompson discusses this in “Smart Ways to Boost Supply Chain Efficiency for Drug Manufacturers.” Thompson is a drug packaging project manager for RxPak. He notes that once you get FDA approval, “you need to choose the right packaging for your drug, package it and get it to market as quickly as possible.” When you’re ready, choose drug packaging that:

  • Ensures safe transportation of your drug
  • Is easily accessible and user-friendly for patients
  • Considers temperature requirements and other logistical needs

Choose the best packaging for your drug company's specific storage, shipping, dosage and accessibility requirements. When you do this, patients can get their medication more safely and easily. Plus, user-friendly drug packaging helps patients stay adherent.

3. Remove your clinicians from supply chain functions

If clinicians within your health system are bogged down by supply chain management, they can’t offer the best care. They can spend more time with patients if you automate some of your supply chain functions or rely on a third party. Scott McDade discusses this in “How to Improve Supply Chain Efficiency for Non-Acute Care.” McDade is the general manager of health systems for McKesson Medical-Surgical. He suggests the following ways to take this burden from clinicians:

  • Have a supply chain executive or third party manage supply chain tasks
  • Automate inventory management functions with predictive ordering
  • Switch to product standardization to reduce supply variability

These tactics can free up your clinicians to spend more time with patients. “What we’re trying to do is take the clinician out of the supply chain,” McDade says. “That’s better for your system. That’s better for your nurses. More importantly, that’s better for your patients.”

4. Include patient support services

For biopharma companies, patient support services can be an important, yet sometimes overlooked, aspect of supply chain logistics. Patient support services include things you offer patients and prescribers to help them access your new drug. R’Kes Starling outlines some options in “Why Patient Support Services Are Critical for Your Drug Launch.” Starling is McKesson’s vice president of specialty pharmacy services. He says patient support services may include:

  • Helping patients navigate their prescription drug benefits
  • Patient assistance programs that offer co-pay help or discount coupons
  • Pre-authorization help for doctors who need health plan approval to prescribe your new drug

Starling notes that “patient access support is unique to each drug and you should base your support on the needs of the patient.” But by adding these services to the mix, you fuel your supply chain and see more financial success. You also allow more patients access to your potentially life-changing drug—ensuring they get the treatment they need.

When biopharma companies, health systems and pharmacies use the strategies above to improve their supply chain processes, patients reap the benefits. Whether through improved medication adherence, a better experience or more positive health outcomes, it’s clear that creating more efficient supply chain processes will deliver more value to patients.

Related: Learn more about McKesson’s specialty pharmacy services for biopharma manufacturers

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McKesson editorial staff is committed to sharing innovative approaches and insights so our customers can get the most out of their business solutions and identify areas for operational improvement and revenue growth.

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