Currently the global healthcare sector is witnessing an increase in demand as well as a significant rise in spending. Both these phenomena are taking place due to aging population, increasing pervasiveness of chronic diseases along with comorbidities, expensive clinical innovations, enhanced cognizance, knowledge and assumptions among patients, and of course, continued uncertainties in the global economy. Under these circumstances, it is becoming increasingly difficult for healthcare service providers to achieve further efficiencies in terms of cost and operation, and it has become rather obvious that they should adopt transformative initiatives in order to flex cost curves to their favour. As the health challenges have become significantly complex as well as interrelated, players belonging to the global healthcare sector are focusing on the development of more efficient models of care delivery. In order to achieve the best results, they are using a multi-specialized approach that is both technology-enabled and collaborative.
Furthermore, certain strategies that have gained popularity in the global healthcare sector include Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), dual healthcare systems, and technology-enabled virtual healthcare. All these aim at improving healthcare infrastructures, and access to healthcare services while bettering patient outcomes, and lowering costs. On researching the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, healthcare IT, medical devices, and medical imaging, it has been found that in spite of the uncertainties in the areas of global politics and economy, the global healthcare sector shall experience considerable development during 2017 though the effectuation of important health policies. It has also been predicted that future drugs as well as medical devices shall target emerging markets such as the BIC countries (Brazil, India and China) to cater to their unique requirements. The growth opportunities in these markets are much higher in comparison to those in developed markets. In contrast, developed markets like the US and Western Europe are saturated with digital healthcare solutions that include various wearables and telehealth among many other global healthcare products and services.
Having provided a brief narrative of the contemporary global healthcare sector, ECpages will now proceed to explain why this industry needs immediate B2B integration. Being a leading online B2B directory, we have gained considerable insight into the global markets. The knowledge thus gained has helped us in understanding the global healthcare sector can benefit immensely if it undergoes B2B integration and incorporates technologies that help in automating and streamlining communications. Although it has been mentioned earlier that digital healthcare solutions will gain popularity during this year in certain developed markets, the global healthcare sector has suffered in the past while attempting for digitization. Various ambitious projects, such as the one designed by the US government which aimed at making Electronic Health Records (EHRs) prevalent, have experienced exceptional complexities. As a matter of fact, any digitization initiative in the global healthcare sector is difficult to implement because the industry traditionally depends on conventional methods of communication. We do, however, strongly believe that the industry can benefit a lot if there is B2B integration as well as automation of supply chains within it.
It has been observed that many doctors resist the idea of adopting EHR. The prevalence of this attitude in the entire global healthcare sector and its supply chains is so acute that it has become a characteristic feature of both. There are a number of silos in this industry and it is common for most of its members to operate as semi-autonomous entities. Coupled with this drawback, inefficiency also cripples the industry further. One of the main reasons behind this kind of a situation is specialization. Joseph Walker of The Wall Street Journal has observed that “in a typical scenario, a hospital negotiates with multiple suppliers for a certain product”. However, even though hospitals may procure products at discounted rates, doctors often refrain from using those. This is again due to the fact that medical practitioners tend to use more of the medicines and devices that are offered through different healthcare companies through their medical representatives. Such practices, that remain mostly unchecked, result in the recurrence of other inefficient practices within the global healthcare sector, and justify the necessity for B2B integration within this industry.
In the midst of such a state of affairs within the global healthcare sector, B2B integration shall provide a significant as well as sustainable remedy. It has been observed that not much importance was given in the past to monitor the administration and discipline of healthcare supply chains. Upon holistic evaluation of supply chains, a model that is incentivized as well as performance-based is gradually replacing the older volume-based reimbursement model. Following discharge, if a patient has to be admitted again due to the same medical condition, it shall portray the healthcare provider in a bad light. Similar performance-based evaluation needs to be incorporated throughout the global healthcare sector to enhance the standards of care delivery. The two primary areas where organizations in the global healthcare sector can save much of their financial resources are procurement and order management. Order management and warehouse management systems enable healthcare organizations to use their resources optimally. B2B integration shall play a major role in minimizing the complexities of these two operational functions by streamlining them and enhancing their efficiency. Simultaneously, it will also make additional resources available for reinvestment in patient care, facilities, and even research.
Leaders in the global healthcare sector should aim at building sustainable ecosystems that adopt non-traditional players as well as knowledge sources outside their organizational boundaries. It is also necessary for stakeholders to ensure that pilots are built and tested before investments are made in large scales. Moreover, they should learn to accept and adapt to changes in technology, and constantly evaluate new sources of revenue. If they diligently follow these guiding principles, the global healthcare sector, as a whole, shall display the positive effects of B2B integration by being more effective, efficient, patient-friendly and cost-effective. Given the huge benefits that any organization can harness through B2B integration, it can be safely asserted that a sector that is as large and as complex as the global healthcare sector can gain immensely if it takes this strategically important step towards holistic development.
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