A Framework for Healthcare Supply Chain Improvement in Thailand

Duangpun Kritchanchai
Mahidol University, Thailand

Logistics and supply chain management has become a competitive tool in many industries in Thailand. Supply chain perspective has led the industry to see through the process integration from upstream to downstream. In Thailand, healthcare supply chain has only been introduced to hospitals. Operations and co-ordinations across players have still been neglected. The supply chain concept for this industry is in a very early stage. It is evidenced that healthcare industry in Thailand still suffers from inefficient process, inconsistent and inaccurate data information. Lacking of transparency throughout the chain makes it difficult to track and trace patient data and product data. Furthermore, each player in healthcare supply chain, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, healthcare providers, tends to develop its own data communicating language. Therefore it discourages the player to communicate and share information with its partner. The lack of integrity in supply chain has become a facilitating factor for the growing problem of counterfeiting. It is undeniable that an influx of counterfeit drug affects both public and private sectors negatively. This problem not only leads to economic loss but also has a negative impact on patient safety in Thailand. The purpose of this paper is to review problems that occurred in healthcare area regarding to supply chain management and identify challenges. It is found that standardised drug coding, operational re-engineering and implementing information technology are promising performance improvement in healthcare supply chain. The paper develops a framework for healthcare supply chain improvement in Thailand. It urges both policy makers and implementers to realize national health problems as well as identify rooms for further research and improvement.

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