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Medically Necessary: Data, Data, Data

Investing In Data Management

The world of supply chain management in health care is evolving extremely fast, as COVID-19 (see graph) has been a significant influencer of technology development. However, like COVID, the state of some organizations’ data was a shock; many were unprepared for the future and the cost associated with modernizing. It is estimated that most companies will be increasing their technology budgets, but with a worldwide shortage of semiconductors and other parts, the reality might be more of a decrease in spending.

Importance of Accuracy and Consistency

If we genuinely want to understand the importance of accurate information within supply chain management, it all begins with data. You can spend countless hours reading articles that focus on big data, smart data, data analytics, AI, DL, ML, integrating data, data mining, dumb data, predictive analytics and high-performing computers. There is an endless sea of “how to” in the technology world; it just keeps coming from various sources — a far cry from telephones and fax machines. And there is no easy panacea to this data challenge. The Daily Covid-19 graph highlights how quickly a disruptor can get of ahead of current capabilities and lead to supply shortages. 

(Graph: Centers for Disease Control)

Evolution of Data Analytics

Excel and Power BI, everything was manually logged. The age of computing in the early ’80s consisted of processing centers and big computers that were given data from keypunch cards, but that was all transactional, more of what we did versus what we should be doing.

Importance of Digital Information

Switching to digital: It’s said we are already digital, but to what extent? There is analog, then comes digital. Remember DVDs before HD, UHD, Blu-ray? Digital is condensed information, and its compatibility in today’s technology is critical to building information integrity.
Safety in data is something we cannot ignore in health care. Data is critical in identifying medical devices and supplies that the manufacturer could recall. Inaccurate, inconsistent or poor classification of item information directly impacts the data audit trail. The saying “garbage in, garbage out” originated from dirty data/information.

Health care’s focus on standardized information strengthens the Supply Chain

The GS1 US GTIN product identifier allows health care to track supplies on the same playing level as pharmaceuticals. There are more than 140 health care manufacturers, group purchasing organizations, government agencies and industry associations working together to address a broader adoption of standardized product identification and packaging. Data is king, and creating it and managing the results are critical.  Data can either empower supply chain to achieve new goals, or it can interfere with forecasting future disruptions.

Thanks for reading. You can reach me at [email protected] if you have questions, praise or grievances. If you like the content subscribe here

Tim Ingram


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