Digital health: Seven ways to build ‘smart’ healthcare supply chains in Indonesia
While COVID-19 has overwhelmed the best healthcare systems in developed nations, resource-limited hospitals in countries such as Indonesia faced even greater, unprecedented challenges. The problems with a fragmented supply chain, information gaps and lack of transparency became increasingly obvious as health facilities struggled to obtain the medical supplies required.
It showed up in issues such as long lead-times to obtain supplies, increased prices, inventory management issues and quality and safety concerns. An urgent and complex situation was exacerbated by a series of shortcomings in the existing supply chain.
As this report finds, the pandemic has highlighted the value of transforming the supply system through digitalisation. There have been calls for greater adoption of digital healthcare, including in logistics and procurement, however to date the adoption of digital solutions has been slow. This is partly due to difficulties in the nation’s overall industrial supply chain system.
This report explores Indonesia’s healthcare supply chains. It brings together practitioners, policymakers and academics from Indonesia and Australia to share expertise and devise recommendations. The report delves into three things: first, it overviews Indonesia’s current procurement and supply chain management in its healthcare sector and the challenges during COVID-19. Second, it looks at the existing digital technology used, its perceived usefulness and how ready the healthcare sector is for adopting digital technologies. Finally, it considers opportunities for Australia to collaborate with Indonesia to establish ‘smart healthcare supply chains’ and enhance the capability of its procurement and supply chain professionals using digital technologies.
Australia’s healthcare system is regarded as among the more organised and well-regulated in the world. It has made considerable progress in building smart healthcare supply chains and an example of this is seen in the state of Victoria, which increased the use of digital technologies in its healthcare system in conjunction with federal government agencies.
This could be an area of bilateral collaboration under the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership (IA-CEPA) and some ideas have been put forward.
Ultimately the report makes seven key recommendations on government priorities to help build a resilient and responsive healthcare supply chain system.
- Develop an end-to-end digital platform that provides a central view from supply to procurement.
- Create a more holistic logistics solution that enables hospitals to work together on supply issues.
- Increase the flexibility of the E-catalogue to allow for greater choice and less bureaucracy.
- Ensure effective quality and safety monitoring functions in a single platform system.
- Encourage standardisation and interoperability across the digital applications.
- Ensure transparency and traceability is built into all digital supply chain solutions.
- Develop data analytics capability that reflects real-time supply and demand.