Supply chain management is an important aspect of improving how organisations work – it can help reduce costs, make things run more efficiently, and use data effectively. This is equally true for the health care industry and large organisations such as the NHS. Scan4Safety is the catalyst for change in this industry, and it has already released over 140,000 hours of clinical time back to patient care and saved clinics over £5 million in inventory savings. In this article, we’re going to discuss how the Scan4Safety initiative can help facilitate improved healthcare operations and patient safety.

What is Scan4Safety?

Scan4Safety is a UK Government initiative geared towards improving patient safety and improving the operational effectiveness and efficiency of health care facilities across the entire supply chain.

The initial Scan4Safety programme was first implemented in 2016 across six trusts as an initiative from the Department of Health and Social Care. These six NHS trusts implemented GS1 standards to intelligently identify patients, inventory, and products across their existing infrastructure.

Following a successful launch in 2016, Scan4Safety offered a number of useful insights into how adopting this initiative can yield excellent results for health care supply chains, such as:

• £84,411.07 saved per year on product recalls for Leeds Teaching Hospital
• £30,000 worth of time-released to care over two weeks at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
• Over 8 hours per week released to care instead of stock management at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
• 22,000 hours released to patient care via a reduction in adverse drug effects, incident report times, and stock take at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

How does Scan4Safety help remove roadblocks in the supply chain?

Scan4Safety is intended to improve patient care and patient safety, which is a huge benefit for healthcare providers. This allows for better engagement from clinicians and those working in healthcare because it’s actually intending to help patients. So uptake of new solutions for supply chain management is better thanks to the goals of Scan4Safety. It also sets global standards so that communication is improved across the board.

The challenge of implementing better healthcare supply chain management

Healthcare is notoriously slow when it comes to updating its administrative tools, often relying on manual processes and outdated systems to get the job done. Many NHS trusts don’t have direct access to large data sets, which are essential when it comes to improving supply chain management. Without a digital way of managing supplies, it’s impossible to accurately forecast or make predictions about future issues in the supply chain.

Thankfully, there are tools available to improve supply chain management for health care facilities. Spend management solutions can be used to optimise and digitise the supply chain processes to provide greater transparency and a more efficient way to work. Inventory management solutions can be brought in to reduce costs, track inventory effectively and improve clinical and patient safety.

These tools can be implemented using the Scan4Safety initiative from the Department of Health and Social Care which provides NHS trusts with the financial help required to improve patient safety.

Inventory Management Solutions have shown their worth across a multitude of industries already, with businesses that adopt these systems enjoying up to 95 % inventory accuracy. One of the leading digital solutions that are an exemplar of the Scan4Safety initiative is ELCOM’S EVOLVE Inventory Management Solution. It reduces unnecessary waste by reducing unnecessary stock. It’s an IMS solution that helps to track, trace, and automatically manage inventory. To find out more about how digital solutions like EVOLVE work, you can browse their services here.

Healthcare facilities can use digital solutions to drive efficiency, improve their supply chain management, and transition into a more seamless way of working. Scan4Safety works alongside these solutions to help clinics manage supplies and track them transparently. The key to unlocking this potential is through intelligent inventory management, and Scan4Safety has helped with the adoption of a smarter way of working. From being better equipped to handle supply issues to improving patient safety, effective supply chain management is pivotal to a successful healthcare system.


  • Carolina Duran

    Carolina Duran, VP of Marketing at ELCOM, joined ELCOM in May 2016 to lead the company's marketing team and implement a robust and efficient strategy to secure brand positioning and growth in the UK and internationally. ELCOM is a global Supply Chain Technology Provider which praised itself for making procurement smarter, more connected, and transparent.

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