Healthcare Logistics

Healthcare organisations are complex and challenging process organisations containing actions and structures that have demanding material, patient and personnel flows in which logistics contribute greatly to the quality of the operations.

Logistics plays an increasingly important role in healthcare, and it has become one of the largest cost factors for many healthcare organisations, especially for hospitals. At the same time financial and human resources have decreased in many countries. This has meant an increasing demand for more efficient productivity and material flows, the reallocation of existing human resources, changes to former working methods and the development of innovative working practices both in primary healthcare and especially in specialised medical care services.

When providing care services, the patient flow is the main flow and the role of the material logistics is to support it as effectively as possible. Logistics preparedness is the backbone in supporting staff preparedness, patient preparedness, medical supplies preparedness and operation room preparedness.

As new ways of working, healthcare organisations have established different clinically integrated logistics operating models such as healthcare logistician service concept where logistics professionals and medical staff work closely side by side. A lot of everyday logistics operational work is done by persons with vocational or bachelors’ education background. However, healthcare organisations need healthcare logisticians who work in different levels of organisations, from operational executive and expert tasks to managerial and development tasks. The implementation, management and development of new operating models require higher level education. Thus it is necessary to develop healthcare logistics education both at vocational and higher education levels.