Low petroleum prices help hospital supply chain

Recent drops in petroleum prices could wind up being a boon for hospital supply purchasing, according to Healthcare Finance News.

Oil prices dictate the prices of its byproducts, such as plastic. And plastics abound in hospitals because bedpans, catheters and syringes are among the many items in their supply chains that are made out of the material, according to the article.

Currently, crude oil prices are at their lowest levels since early 2009, MarketWatch has reported. This means hospitals have an opportunity to purchase items at lower costs, according to Healthcare Finance News

Supply chain management is becoming a tool crucial for healthcare providers to be able to compete in the marketplace, meaning that hospital CEOs must examine every angle. The use of advanced data analytics is also rapidly expanding in healthcare supply chain management.

And while the savings from the low petroleum prices appear nominal, hospitals or healthcare systems with sophisticated purchasing systems could take advantage. "Certainly there are a number of facilities where decreases in oil prices and modification of market prices impact on plastics-based products don't really register as a blip," Anthony Long, principal at Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting, told Healthcare Finance News. "But those who are up to speed and who have more sophisticated systems in place or resources to draw on are reaching out with the drive-down in petroleum prices and ultimately plastics."

That could lead to some hospitals and healthcare systems saving tens of thousands of dollars a year on supplies, if not more. For example, a 500-bed hospital that uses exam gloves and disposable flatware typically spends about $600,000 a year on those items.

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare Finance News article 
- check out the MarketWatch article