Sourcing medical supplies has always been an area fraught with a variety of problems in India. Healthcare providers continue to lack any viable option and they follow the set pattern of conventional method of purchase when the world has already shifted towards the direct sales channel. For hospitals and clinics, there is still not a way out to enjoy freedom and options in buying medical equipment. There’s lot of information asymmetry and even manufacturers are not able to optimize sales and distribution costs. This is why healthcare providers continue to lag behind in the procurement race when their global counterparts have already surged ahead.
Here are some of common problems faced in procuring medical supplies –
1# Not getting the right price
Ask any hospital or clinic about the biggest issue with the sourcing of their medical supplies and rest assured to find inconsistent pricing as the common answer. Many complain about not getting the right prices for medical equipment and instruments they procure and this adds to their overall operational expenses. This problem mainly exists due to multi-channel arrangement being in place for supply. So manufacturers are themselves not able to optimize costs in a desired manner.
2# Lack of access to high-end medical products
In general, hospitals don’t get access to all medical products they would like to have at their disposal. They put the blame squarely on medical equipment suppliers in India but this is the wrong stick to beat. Actually, the supply of products is often decided by the demand and that’s why cities or big towns have an edge on this aspect. However, players from far off places or small centers often have to depend on the mercy and discretion of suppliers for their stock.
3# No direct communication with manufacturers
A lot of benefits would go the way of healthcare providers if they have the opportunity and network to communicate directly with manufacturers. There is a network of suppliers and distributors and it’s not possible for hospitals to purchase their medical supplies directly from the makers. So, they fail to get pricing and other benefits that a direct contact would have ensured. This problem however is laid to rest when online stores are trusted for the procurement.
4# No option to compare and select the best products
The conventional route of procuring medical supplies has no space or option to let buyers either compare or select the best possible medical products. They just have to get what suppliers will make available and this is where quality can take a backbeat. Similarly, this lack of option to make comparisons often leaves clinics not getting the best of products from the domain that easily.
5# No surety over genuine products being bought
Hospitals are often not sure whether the medical equipment they use are genuine and procured from authorized players in the market. They are not sure whether the supplies they get are from a manufacturer who has license and certificates for the same. They thus lose out on benefits that could easily have been theirs.