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If Amazon can deliver the goods, so should Healthcare

Posted by Kapil Asher on Jul 14, 2015 11:47:00 AM

In Equipment Availability, Tracking Equipment, Nursing, Supply Chain


Remember 2001, when e-commerce was in its infancy? “Click-to-Buy” typically meant a follow-up call to ensure that the order went through; and many more to figure out where your order was. Amazon changed that game to the point that when you Click-to-Buy today, you are sure that your order will show up as plannedor earlier.

Amazon is looking to shake up e-commerce again. The company recently announced same day delivery in major metropolitan markets. It is an impressive feat, considering they have millions of products delivered from thousands of vendors to millions of consumers. The successful implementation of this idea requires the players to employ a cross-functional approach, with deep planning, investment in IT, along with strong ties and good rapport with transportation partners.

Inventory management must be thorough, to a microscopic level, with every SKU accounted for and easily locatable. Training must also be imparted to the staff in order to successfully use the new technology. While the industry and scales are different, there are quite a few interesting corollaries to how Amazon deals with delivery and supply chain, and how Mainspring Healthcare Solutions approaches hospital operations. Great customer satisfaction for us means happy nurses and operational staff through streamlined operations, along with smiles at the executive level through cost savings and higher HCAHPS scores.

Push Button Automation

Amazon has been able to solve their logistical tangle with the help of lean workflow and automation to improve productivity and minimize errors. Mainspring takes a similar approach, but instead of delivering a new Echo or Kindle, we're in the business of helping hospitals cut costs while providing better patient care. This is achieved by implementing solutions that ensure that healthcare professionals have the right equipment and supplies, when and where they need them. Trust us, it only feels like a matter of life or death waiting around for a new electronic device to arrive in the mail. Clinicians truly need to get their equipment as fast and easily as possible to ensure quality care and a good patient experience.  If you think that waiting for that electronics shipment is frustrating, imagine what it’s like when you are in a hospital with your child waiting on medication and a pump to administer it.

Mainspring's solution, like Amazon’s, makes it really easy for nurses to order equipment or anything else they need with a click of a button, and track the progress of that order in real-time. The backend software keeps a tight control over the inventory of clean, ready-to-use equipment along with its actual location within the hospital. This reduces time and effort required by equipment handlers to deliver a requested item.

Mainspring also automates the process of recovering soiled equipment and load balancing inventory levels across the hospital, providing an optimized inventory of ready-to-use equipment. That’s actually an added piece of logistics Amazon doesn’t have to worry about. They’re just concerned with shipping items. We’re in the business of delivering and retrieving for maintenance and cleaning. This automated closed-loop workflow keeps equipment and supplies flowing and improves availability and utilization. The outcome is a nursing staff that has faith in a system that will in-turn help them provide better patient care. 

Culture of Trust with Nursing

Creating a culture of trust in the partnership between nursing and equipment services staff is much like the relationship Amazon maintains with its customers and vendors. Mainspring believes in creating a workflow that is easy for all team members to follow and trust. In addition, the solution provides optimization of staff utilization based on parameters such as availability, proximity and expertise. There is an inherent component of accountability that ensures speedy delivery of equipment and constant replenishment of inventory, like clockwork.

Is it a bit presumptuous comparing oneself to a $200B retail juggernaut that perennially ranks #1 in customer satisfaction? Sure, but if Amazon can provide same-day delivery of GoPros, gaming consoles, and Fifty Shades of Grey, in a complex logistical environment made up of multiple players and moving parts, then equipment services at hospitals can certainly speed up delivery of ready-to-use critical medical devices to nursing staff to ensure high quality patient care. We know it. We believe it. We’re doing it.

Check out the video below to see how SUNY Upstate University Hospital implemented our solutions and won back the trust of their nursing department with award-winning results. 


Learn about going from Good to Great with Mainspring


Brian Reed, Manager of Central Equipment Services at SUNY Upstate University Hospital talks about delivering award-winning service to nurses.