Hospitals, just like any other organization, have different categories of costs and expenses. It ranges from paying the staff and doctors their salaries, to their debt expenses. One of the biggest expenses which hospitals and medical institutions incur is of procurement of medical supplies. In order to provide the best possible medical service to the patients at the most affordable of prices, the hospitals need to purchase the best equipment at such a price which doesn’t lead to high operational costs and indirectly result in the patients’ high medical expenditure.
Offline methods of procuring medical supplies, which are still in use these days, does not lead to the above results. There are massive limitations in this type of a supply process which does not benefit neither the hospitals nor the patients.
In an offline system, one of the pivotal problems which are faced by the customers is the lack of information regarding products. In this system, the customer (hospitals and medical institutions) have very limited options of gaining a deep and appropriate knowledge of the product before they are able to come to an informed decision about what to order and when to order.
The customer also does not have an option to compare different brands of a similar product. A particular product is not sold by only one seller (manufacturer) in India. There are multiple vendors who are providing the same product at different prices. An offline system makes it difficult for the customer to compare the features, prices and other categories of the product and then choose which one to order. As hospitals mainly order their supplies in bulk, it is imperative that they compare the prices of the supplies and then place their order in accordance with their budget.
Geographical reach is another aspect where an offline procurement system does not work efficiently. In India, Tier 2, Tier 3 cities and rural areas are in need of urgent and proper medical care. Hence it is important that the appropriate medical supplies reach the hospitals and that too in time. Due to an offline system, medical supplies, at times, take an indefinite amount of time to reach the destination leading to unwanted occurrences in hospitals and healthcare centers.
E-procurement, also known as, an online procurement system can cut across all the above discrepancies and can make the procurement of supplies more flexible, transparent and a timely process. The Indian market has moved towards a more technological framework. Different types of businesses are moving towards an online platform to offer their services. They are no longer banking on the customer to come to them, but they are trying to gain access to their customers on a more personal front by placing themselves on the screens of their consumer’s phones and laptops.
The medical procurement industry is also gradually taking a similar road towards placing themselves in the large and unending space of the internet. Online medical procurement sites like Medikabazaar has taken a massive leap towards the same and has become a pioneer in bridging the gap between medical supply manufacturers and the hospitals.
Online procurement sites are giving the customers an array of products to choose from along with a facility of viewing previous orders and the purchases which are already being processed. Such a facility allows the customer to make informed decisions and use their finances accordingly.
As there are so many products available in the catalog in online procurement sites, they also provide the option of product comparison, unlike the offline systems. The customer can see different brands of a particular product and again take a more knowledgeable decision.
Unlike offline systems, the internet can cover vast distances and overcome geographical boundaries which can lead to successful and timely deliveries of medical supplies in Tier 2, Tier 3 cities and rural areas. Online sites also have very powerful search engines where the customer can search for their required products.
Orders placed through an online platform also lead to a reduced turnaround time with regards to any requested product and service. Most importantly, an online system allows the customer to place an order where the transactions are carried out securely and communications can be carried out more easily. The whole supply chain process becomes more transparent. There is more efficiency and less disruption.
The healthcare industry has adopted technology with a positive mindset. Both doctors and the patients are benefiting from this changing industry dynamics and there is no reason why the medical supply procurement industry should not take a piece of the pie.
Companies like Medikabazaar have already made inroads in that direction. As technology is becoming more widespread among hospitals and medical institutions, their product and delivery expectations are also changing. They require more supplies in shorter delivery times. The medical procurement industry must transform with the changing times otherwise hospitals will keep on incurring massive operational costs and a patient will continue to pay higher medical bills.