Tech Knowledge Associates

Healthcare Trends Transforming Clinical Engineering and Hospital Supply Chain Management in 2014

health_trendsHealthcare Trends Transforming Clinical Engineering and Hospital Supply Chain Management in 2014

There are a number of current trends influencing the future of clinical engineering and supply chain management in hospitals. These trends include increased regulation, the effects of the Affordable Care Act, health system consolidation, an aging population, and the growth of emerging markets.

First, increased regulation is becoming an increased challenge for both facility owners and medical equipment professionals. One factor contributing to this trend is a consumer base which is increasingly demanding safer products, causing regulators to respond to this demand.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which took effect in 2013, has created much debate. In one opinion, opponents of the tax argue that the ACA will stifle job creation, product innovation and patient care. Supporters who defend the ACA argue that the Act’s resulting expansion of health coverage will increase the demand for healthcare and medical equipment and devices, thereby offsetting any perceived added costs or losses.

The consolidation of health systems is another trend impacting clinical engineering. Mergers and acquisitions of hospitals have drastically influenced the way in which patient care is delivered. In the medical equipment and device industry, hospital mergers and acquisitions can increase the chances of redundant systems and add complexity to clinical programs.

The near-global trend of an aging population will create an increased demand in medical equipment focused on diagnostic services and disease prevention. The combined trend in government-subsidized healthcare will most likely generate smaller profit margins. In order to adapt, companies will need to find ways to adjust their processes, increase efficiency, and reduce cost.

On the positive side, many U.S. manufacturers are finding greater market share in emerging markets such as in China, India and Brazil. Taking advantage of opportunities in emerging markets requires that a company carefully evaluate potential challenges, such as distribution channels, local barriers to entry, and government involvement in business.

Five Trends Transforming the Medical Device Industry in 2014 by Lisa Weeks, MasterControl Inc.,

10 Trends in Hospital Supply Chain Management by Akanksha Jayanthi, Becker’s Hospital Review,