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cover illustrationCase studies released by the World Health Innovation Network (WIN) find that supply chain processes based on global standards improve health systems.

Case studies measure impact of supply chain transformation in global health systems

Three ground‐breaking case studies released February 15 by the World Health Innovation Network (WIN) find that supply chain processes based on global standards improve safety, quality and performance in three global health systems.

Medical error is the third-leading cause of death in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. These case studies provide the first empirical evidence of the impact of implementing supply chain transformation in these countries, says Anne Snowdon, the network’s academic chair and scientific director and CEO of the Supply Chain Advancement Network in Health (SCAN Health).

“These case studies provide emerging evidence of the system level impact and return on investment of implementing supply chain traceability, based on global standards, in Canadian, U.K. and U.S. health systems,” Dr. Snowdon says.

The research examined the leadership strategy, return on investment, and impact achieved by transforming health system supply chain infrastructure in each health system. Data were derived from observations, public reports, financial data, online publications, and interviews with key informants.

Results reveal that substantial savings ranging from 4:1 to 8:1 return on investment are achieved through inventory optimization and waste reduction, and that significant clinician time savings achieved through supply chain automation can be redirected to patient care. Savings in labour costs and patient safety are not yet accounted for in these outcomes but are anticipated to further increase the return on investment.

Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, says her agency is taking a leadership role to transform supply chain to improve safety, quality and sustainability of the health system.

“These case studies demonstrate real-world evidence of the value and impact of adopting traceability to improve health system quality and performance for the citizens of Alberta, and globally,” she says.

Findings reveal that strong leadership is crucial to the successful transformation of supply chain infrastructure in health systems to advance safety and financial sustainability. The integration of supply chain and clinical teams drives implementation success.

The World Health Innovation Network, based at the Odette Business School at the University of Windsor, brokers partnerships between key stakeholders to source, embed, and scale innovations in health systems.

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