What is Health Logistics?
Right Resources - Right Treatment - Right Place - Right Time
The term logistics refers to the planning and verification of processes that transform input factors into products or services. This can also have a connection to the healthcare sector. Here, input factors can be as simple as a medical consultation by a physician and the result can be that the patient receives a diagnosis, is given medical treatment and therefore becomes well. In this perspective, logistics serve to ensure the resources to provide high quality treatment.
Medical logistics also includes the flow of patients through the entire hospital and involves coordination across a multitude of specialist teams and departments. The complexity within hospitals is high and involves numerous activities organised in different departments. Coordination of activities in a single department can in itself be challenging.
Logistics will have an impact on production planning as a decision-making tool to plan and utilize attending personnel resources in an efficient manner. As part of the above, it is essential to identify where costs are incurred at the various stages of the service.
Through the total of activities that a patient undergoes, costs will be incurred for the different actions. Different patient groups (i.e. with different diagnoses) will have different cost levels. In the specialist healthcare service this is reflected through the DRG system which is based on an average cost per diagnosis. In the municipal healthcare services each local authority will determine the cost levels. Nevertheless, there will be some common denominators with regard to cost drivers, where they occur and in connection with which activities, for all types of patients.
Medical logistics is therefore a matter of identifying how resources are used, reorganized, planned and coordinated to achieve better flow.