In the medical arena, there is a constant need to ensure that goods, equipment, and services are always properly supplied. The recent global crisis has led many medical facilities in a mad rush to rebuild their inventories. With this comes shortages and long wait periods from both foreign and domestic suppliers. Many may not realize it, but a lot weighs on proper medical equipment sourcing.

Defining Medical Equipment Sourcing and Procurement

Procurement, or purchasing, is the process of buying goods or services. Therefore, medical equipment sourcing is the process of locating and procuring goods and services in the medical and pharmaceutical arena.

The process of purchasing medical supplies and services can vary from one healthcare organization to another. However, despite these differences, there are still some key components that are the same throughout.

The Medical Sourcing Process

Medical equipment sourcing generally starts when requirements or a demand is present. This could be in the form of physical inventory or for a related service. When a requisition is generated, it details the requisites for the specific demand, which then leads the procurement department to take action.

Typically, a request for proposal (RFP) or a request for quotation (RFQ) is raised. Suppliers will then send out their quotations in acknowledgment of the RFQ. All supplier quotations will then be reviewed, and the best offer is awarded the purchase order. Price, availability, and quantity are the common deciding factors.

Purchase Order Types and How They Are Implemented

When designing medical equipment sourcing and purchasing processes, it is crucial to put into consideration how information systems can be leveraged. Although some fundamentals may be prevalent in most processes, their deployment can still depend on the hospital’s overall strategy and by the existence of information system confidence.

As previously mentioned, purchase orders can vary in type. Standard purchase orders are for the one-off procurement of products and or services from a supplier. Simply put, it’s a one time deal with a simple buy and sell structure. Planned purchase orders on the other hand, includes an agreement for a specific product along with an approximate delivery date. Planned orders can be repetitive.  There are also blanket purchase orders, where the quantity, amount, and date of the item are not specified, but the specific terms and conditions are in place.

Generally, purchase orders come hand in hand with a set of “terms and conditions.” These form the transaction’s contractual agreement. Upon the suppliers’ delivery of the goods or services, the customers then inspect and record the delivery.

Invoices sent over by the supplier can then be cross-referenced with purchase orders, along with the paperwork specifying the items received. Payment is made thereafter.

Updated methods of communication have resulted in many advancements in process efficiency. Purchase order requests can be electronically transferred, delivery notifications are emailed, and payments to the supplier are automated. Although many hospitals have found the joy in a procurement strategy that is fully automated, in reality many purchasing departments have found themselves belonging to a hybrid mix of tech and traditional practices. In the end, both traditional methods and contemporary processes co-exist.

Because global supply chains are becoming more dynamic, competitive, and complex, it is necessary to also become more responsive and agile whether you are implementing manual procurement processes or using automated systems.

Artificial lung ventilation monitor in the intensive care unit.

Sourcing and Procurement of Medical Equipment

Whether medical sourcing and procurement are done in a traditional manner or with the aid of automated software, there is much to be benefited from its proper implementation.

Expect Better Quality

Sourcing from various suppliers offers variety, not just in pricing but also in the capacity to select goods and services of higher quality than most. Because you are provided with several options through supplier offers, the selection process is a matter of finding suppliers that are most applicable to healthcare needs.

Increased Efficiency

Similarly, the availability of sources right at your fingertips can greatly increase efficiency. Rather than having to sort through supply chains and manually canvassing each one, streamlined strategic sourcing lets the suppliers come to you.  This leaves you or your staff with more time to deal with more pressing matters in the workplace.

Better Savings

Getting good deals does not have to mean cutting costs and procuring medical goods and services that are subpar. When conducting medical equipment sourcing, you can locate services and goods within your budget without sacrificing quality.

Streamlining Medical Procurement and Sourcing Practices

Sourcing and procurement of medical supplies need not be a complicated endeavor. With well-placed strategies and a comprehensive list of reliable suppliers, medical equipment sourcing can be done with efficiency and ease. After all, ensuring ample inventory is a necessary arsenal in the medical field.

VOC Associates is Here to Help!

VOC Associates can assist you with your own medical equipment planning and procurement. With extensive experience setting up facilities of all sizes, VOC Associates has a streamlined process that includes every piece and part. Visit our website or call (216) 859-1401 today!