What are the advantages of the NHS eProcurement Strategy?
The e-procurement initiative rolled out by the National Health Service (NHS) makes the British healthcare system a technological front runner. With the eProcurement Strategy, all transactions, purchasing processes, product traceability and communications are to become electronic. A great digital leap forward that will benefit both the NHS and its trusts and the businesses providing goods and services.
Benefits for the NHS
By automating procedures and doing away with the use of paper throughout the supply chain, the NHS will save between 5000 and 8000 pounds per bed. Moreover, the Department of Health (DoH) also forecasts that once the strategy is fully implemented there will be 10% fewer wasted products. This will be possible thanks to the electronic item tracking by applying GS1 coding, which incorporates a product tagging system for optimum stock control and management.
Another advantage of applying this initiative is that the user information on products will be much more accurate. Bear in mind that the strategy includes the implementation of electronic catalogues or data pools, such as EDICOMData, whereby suppliers can share all their product information in real-time with the healthcare organizations. This will mean greater safety for patients, as mistakes are avoided and the use of medicines will be facilitated with more specific instructions.
However, the main change ahead for the NHS is enhanced efficiency, productivity and security. Digitization will simplify management, significantly reducing the number of mistakes made in manual processing.
Benefits for NHS suppliers
All companies providing goods or services to NHS trusts are required to adapt to the eProcurement Strategy. However, rather than an obligation, these suppliers should see implementation of the initiative as part of the drive towards digitization. The rollout of e-communications, through PEPPOL and GDSN, is an open door to international trade and optimization of other business activities.
One of the most outstanding benefits of the e-procurement strategy is that in the medium term businesses are going to appreciate a significant reduction in costs. The saving is mainly due to process automation, which will boost productivity, but also to the elimination of paper. These companies will no longer have to invest in printing, postal forwarding or physical storage for the documents exchanged with the NHS public hospitals network. Something which, moreover, will make them more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
As occurs with the NHS trusts, the e-processes will cut down the number of errors and enhance security. To all this we must add that the traceability throughout the supply chain will furnish businesses with such relevant information as the current status of their invoices.