New research reveals that health care decision makers believe that patients’ expectations are higher than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly half (49%) of those surveyed said that expectations for service delivery have increased as a direct result of the pandemic.
The research from leading same day delivery business CitySprint, finds that since the start of the pandemic, healthcare decision makers feel there has been a marked increase in how patients want their NHS services delivered, with 46% believing patients want to be given more freedom over where they receive their medicine, and a further 66% wanting more autonomy on point of service delivery.
With the NHS already under significant pressure, there is a need to consider whether these increased expectations can be met within the existing scope and budget of services. When asked who should cover the cost of changes to service delivery, over half of senior healthcare professionals (55%) believe it’s the NHS’s responsibility, compared to 22% who state that patients should cover that cost.
Increasing customer expectations places greater demand on the logistics network, meaning a smooth supply chain process is essential for the NHS’s success. However, as a result of ongoing pressures, 15% of NHS healthcare leaders and decision makers believe their supply chain will likely struggle in the next 12 months, with 1 in 10 stating they expect their supply chain will ultimately fail – highlighting the importance of having a fit for purpose procurement and supply chain system in place.
But barriers still remain, with cost and speed considered to be the main barriers for 50% and 35% of industry decision makers respectively, and procurement (30%), access (26%) and technology (24%) being further concerns. The survey also identified a strong appetite amongst the UK’s healthcare industry decision makers for the adoption of greater technology, with over 8 in 10 (82%) stating that it will play an important role in helping to create efficiencies when it comes to delivering better services to patients.
Charlie Mundy, Director of CitySprint Health, commented: “The pandemic has changed the way the healthcare logistics sector will operate forever. This moment offers a once in a generation opportunity to modernise and develop to create more efficient ways of working. We need to put these learnings into action and ensure we invest in the right solutions to build a resilient logistics and supply chain system within the NHS.”
Through the research findings, CitySprint has identified four main areas to address in order to meet rising expectations and ensure the efficient running of our NHS:
– Partner with the right provider, or group of providers, to take advantage of their expertise – Leveraging the expertise of providers who have the knowledge and skills to deliver these services will remove this burden from the NHS and help improve efficiency
– The NHS must continue to streamline its procurement models – Opening up the procurement system to allow more suppliers to participate and contribute will build in greater flexibility and innovative solutions, enabling providers to act with agility when confronted with future pressure points and establishing systems that are tailored to the needs of the individual provider rather than a one-size-fits-all approach
– Digital technology will transform healthcare logistics – As technologies continue to develop and transform the industry, both healthcare organisations and logistics providers need to identify the areas most ripe for innovation and leverage technology to streamline and improve their operations
– Empower a local first approach – While a centralised approach to management of health services remains strategically important, the pandemic has proven that a robust, resilient, and flexible local infrastructure is best placed to deliver services with a degree of autonomy