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Hospital logistics – Definition and perspectives

Top view of the hospital warehouse

Developments in the healthcare sector are forcing many clinics to rethink and optimize their structural and constructional situations. In this context, logistics are moving even further into the spotlight as an important factor. Effective logistics reduces the workload in healthcare and saves valuable hospital resources. Logistics focuses on logistical processes and flows.

In the following article, you will find out what exactly goes into hospital logistics, how it can be optimized, and why it is critical for the care of patients.

What do hospital logistics include?

Hospital logistics focuses on the logistical procedures and flows in hospitals. The primary goal of hospital logistics is the optimal supply and disposal of all medical and nursing needs. Taking into consideration legal, medical, hygienic, qualitative, temporal, and economic factors.

Therefore, the 6-R rule of logistics also applies to hospital logistics—the right product or service, the appropriate place, the ideal time, the right quantity, the appropriate quality, and the correct price. With these fundamental goals, the long-term existence of a hospital can be ensured, while additional influencing factors such as the requirements of hospital hygiene, occupational health and safety, and fire protection must be considered.

For the different medical departments, such as the functional areas, the wards, the operating room, and the central emergency room, there are special information, staff, and product flows. Together, these form the logistical infrastructure. There are also supplying areas, such as the kitchen, the warehouse, or the pharmacy.
Now you will find out what the logistical flows actually are.

Flow of people

The term 'flow of people' refers to all those people who are directly or indirectly involved in logistical flows. In hospital logistics, there is a high fluctuation of people who are permanently (staff), temporarily (patients), or briefly (visitors) in the hospital.

The complex and constantly changing medical as well as personal requirements of patients present the hospital with a variety of challenges. These not only concern the capabilities on the wards and in the operating room but also extend to transportation, the supply of meals, waste disposal, and compliance with hygienic standards. And it is also crucial to ensure that both patients and supplies reach their respective destinations on time.

A so-called transport control center is used to coordinate and control the transportation of patients. It is responsible for the planning and coordination of all transport within the hospital. This ensures that both patients and goods arrive at their respective destinations at the right time.

Product and equipment logistics

The hospital logistics also deals with the movement of supplies within as well as to the hospital. Two examples of this are the supplying departments, such as pharmaceuticals (in the context of pharmaceutical logistics) or the food delivery for patient care. Furthermore, there are relevant materials that leave the hospital, such as the disposal of hospital waste.

There are different methods of transporting the above-mentioned items within a hospital. Often, a pick-up and delivery service in the hospital is responsible for manually bringing materials and medicines to their destinations using a transport trolley

However, many clinics rely on automated support systems known as Automated Goods Transport. This term includes a wide range of technologies, such as pneumatic tube systems.

Information flow

The information process involves the straightforward exchange of data and other information between the different departments of a hospital. For example, health and safety protocols, patient data, treatment planning details, inventory management information, billing data, and the integration of technologies such as electronic healthcare records.

It is critical information to coordinate patient care and treatment, manage inventory, ensure that goods are transported safely and efficiently, maintain hygiene standards, and enable accurate billing. Effective information flow in hospital logistics helps to optimize the use of resources and ensure high-quality and safety standards.

Why is logistics a critical aspect of patient care?

The logistics of a hospital are an integral part of modern medical care and directly contribute to an improvement in patient care. It overcomes numerous challenges that might otherwise obstruct healthcare progress. They include efficient planning and controlling the flow of materials, optimizing the resource allocation, increasing efficiency, and improving the quality of patient care.

By optimizing logistics workflows in hospitals, costs are reduced, process times are shortened, and labor complexity is reduced. State-of-the-art technologies, such as automated inventory and material management systems, intelligent systems for tracking and processing materials, and robotic support for material movement are available to hospitals. Thanks to these innovative logistics solutions, clinics can significantly improve the quality of patient care while saving costs.

How can hospitals optimize their logistics?

Hospital logistics are crucial for the smooth operation of a hospital. Efficient logistical processes are vital for the best possible patient care and optimal services in the hospital.

Various factors must be considered to create optimal hospital logistics, including efficient hospital management for the required resources. For example, the logistics manager's significant tasks are to coordinate all resources in a timely and efficient manner to ensure a seamless logistical process. This also includes the timely provision of materials that are essential for operations.

Another key aspect is efficient planning. This includes scheduling of deliveries and implementation of appropriate logistical solutions. Hospitals should choose logistical methods and techniques that best fit their hospital operations. Effective planning can help ensure that all necessary resources are provided in a timely manner and ensure smooth logistical operations.

Lastly, data processing plays a crucial role. By implementing IT solutions, hospitals can make their logistics processes more efficient and effective.

Conclusion – Why pneumatic tube systems remain a technology of the future

Hospital logistics play an essential role in today's healthcare system. It increases the performance of the hospital and, at the same time, reduces costs. It also improves the care and safety of patients.

Integrating logistics systems into clinics, such as pneumatic tube systems, will increase the efficiency and profitability of healthcare delivery.

Pneumatic tube systems are now standard features for hospitals with 200 beds or more. They are the ideal solution when long distances have to be bridged and seconds matter. For example, when a blood unit or the results of a sample are needed during an operation. Be it blood, tissue, and urine samples or medicines – everything that is urgent is transported as quickly, safely and gently as possible by the hospital pneumatic tube.

Take advantage of more than 30 years of experience and know-how in the manufacture and installation of reliable hospital pneumatic tube systems – with a pneumatic tube system from Air-Log! You are welcome to contact us via our homepage.

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