Fixing Healthcare Supply Chains

How AI-driven Innovations are Transforming Healthcare Systems

Written by

Andrew Padilla

Published on

Artificial intelligence (AI) is profoundly reshaping industries worldwide, especially healthcare. This blog explores how AI-driven innovations are enhancing operational efficiencies and fundamentally transforming healthcare systems.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Andrew Padilla
Andrew Padilla
Partner

Andrew has over a decade of experience in alternative investments, including roles as an investor, board advisor, and limited partner across venture capital and private equity. In addition, he previously founded an online lending platform that incorporated machine learning into consumer credit underwriting. Prior to joining Alumni Ventures, Andrew was an investor at Mithril Capital, a multi-stage global investment firm backed by Peter Thiel (co-founder of PayPal & Founders Fund), where he focused on deep tech and enterprise software investments. He began his career as a CPA with Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young. Andrew holds a BBA from Baylor University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Jen Liu
Jen Liu
Venture Fellow

Jen Liu is an MS candidate at Columbia University, concentrating in Enterprise Risk Management with a focus on corporate strategic and financial risk management. She has seven years of experience in tech go-to-market strategy, particularly in sales strategy and operations. Jen is passionate about partnering with senior stakeholders and influencing cross-functionally to make data-driven decisions, enhance sales productivity, and optimize efficiency. Her previous role at DoorDash involved leading strategic initiatives, including OKR reporting, sales metrics designs, and sales process automation. Jen's coursework also includes risk management and quantification frameworks.

Amid a backdrop of escalating U.S. healthcare spending, now reaching a staggering $3.8 trillion annually — a 1,629% increase per person over the past four decades — the pressing need for innovative cost-reduction strategies is undeniable.[1] Moreover, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for robust and resilient healthcare operations, with AI emerging as a key enabler of sustainability in this sector.

The rising costs associated with healthcare are driven, in part, by inefficiencies within healthcare supply chains and pharmaceutical manufacturing. These sectors face challenges that not only escalate expenses but also complicate operational effectiveness. Addressing these inefficiencies is crucial, and emerging technologies are at the forefront of this transformation.

This article will delve into how healthcare organizations are turning to solutions like those offered by Clarium Health and Modicus Prime — two innovators in the Alumni Ventures portfolio — to tackle these systemic issues.

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The Brain-Computer Interface: A Conversation with Precision Neuroscience CEO Michael Mager

Presenters
Ludwig Pierre Schulze
Ludwig Pierre Schulze

Managing Partner, Doctors Innovate Fund

Michael Mager
Michael Mager

CEO, Precision Neuroscience

Healthcare Supply Chain Challenges

The complexities of managing a healthcare supply chain are vast and varied, significantly contributing to the sector’s escalating expenses. Healthcare organizations face the dual challenge of spiraling costs driven by an aging population and the chronic disease epidemic, compounded by the high expectations for patient care and outcomes. These challenges are exacerbated by inefficiencies in supply chain management, where hospitals and healthcare systems struggle with outdated processes that are not only costly but also less effective at meeting the dynamic needs of healthcare delivery.

Managing a healthcare supply chain involves navigating the logistical complexities of sourcing 30,000 to 60,000 unique SKUs from global distributors and manufacturers — a daunting task under any circumstances.[2] This system is burdened by an overreliance on manual processes and a lack of standardization, which often leads to product overstocking or shortages. According to a report by Navigant, U.S. hospitals spend an excess of approximately $25.7 billion annually on unnecessary supplies.[3]

Surveys indicate that more than half of healthcare professionals have faced situations where critical products were unavailable when most needed, impacting patient care directly.[4] A GHX report highlights that improving data standardization and leveraging technology to enhance inventory management can significantly reduce costs and improve service quality by aligning product availability with patient needs more effectively.

These inefficiencies not only signify operational failures but also impose significant economic burdens, underscoring the need for more integrated and technology-driven supply chain solutions that can adapt to the complexities of modern healthcare demands.

Clarium Health: Pioneering Supply Chain Optimization

Clarium Health is addressing the critical inefficiencies in healthcare supply chains with its innovative AI-powered platform, Astra OS. Designed to unify data across healthcare systems and suppliers, Astra OS offers end-to-end visibility and intelligent automation to significantly enhance operational efficiency.

Key Features of Astra OS

  • Unified Platform: Astra OS connects data across every healthcare system of record with suppliers in real time, facilitating a data ecosystem with built-in workflow apps that reimagine supply chain management.
  • AI-Powered Workflows: The platform enhances productivity and resilience within hospital teams through data-enabled workflow apps, including
      • Disruption Monitoring: Tracks inventory levels in real time, enabling quick responses to potential supply disruptions and ensuring continuous care delivery. (50% Faster Disruption Resolution)
      • Substitute Management: Streamlines the process of managing substitute approvals and utilizes a proprietary database to efficiently find clinically equivalent products. (63% Faster Substitute Approvals)
      • Procedure Card Optimization: Utilizes AI to standardize supply usage across procedures, minimize waste, and identify cost-saving opportunities, significantly impacting the bottom line. (>$15 Million Average Cost Savings)
      • Demand Planner: Assists in surgical planning by validating all necessary supplies and pharmaceuticals against clinical feedback, enhancing efficiency and preparedness.
      • Oculus AI: Employs a sophisticated language model to provide actionable insights from complex data queries, enhancing decision-making across the healthcare supply chain.
      • Inventory Optimizer: Reduces excess stock and improves turnover rates by applying AI insights to manage inventory effectively across multiple facilities.

These features not only address current inefficiencies but also position healthcare providers to adapt to future changes and challenges. The platform’s ability to integrate and analyze data in real time supports a proactive approach to supply chain management, drastically reducing the risk of shortages and ensuring that healthcare facilities can focus more on patient care than logistical complexities.

Clarium’s solutions are acknowledged by top health systems for their role in transforming healthcare logistics:

Webinar
The Brain-Computer Interface: A Conversation with Precision Neuroscience CEO Michael Mager

Presenters
Ludwig Pierre Schulze
Ludwig Pierre Schulze

Managing Partner, Doctors Innovate Fund

Michael Mager
Michael Mager

CEO, Precision Neuroscience

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Challenges

Similarly, the pharmaceutical sector faces significant operational challenges that impact both safety and financial stability. In recent years, drug recall rates have surged, reaching a 19-year high in 2023.[5] This increase is largely attributed to contamination and sterility concerns, which have been exacerbated by stringent regulatory environments and complex manufacturing processes.

Over the past decade, more than 14,000 drug recalls have been reported, averaging nearly four recalls daily.[6] These recalls not only disrupt the supply chain but also pose severe financial risks — annually, the industry faces potential losses of up to $50 billion due to destroyed products post-manufacture. A prominent example includes the 60 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine destroyed in 2021, which cost the company upwards of $600 million.[7]

Many recalls can be prevented by enhancing quality assurance protocols within manufacturing processes. This includes adopting more rigorous in-process testing and quality checks that can detect potential issues before products reach the market. Additionally, integrating advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can improve the accuracy and efficiency of these quality checks. These technologies can provide real-time analytics and predictive insights, enabling manufacturers to identify and mitigate risks more effectively.

To address these pressing issues, the pharmaceutical industry is increasingly turning towards innovative solutions that prioritize quality control and enhance manufacturing oversight. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies and improving regulatory compliance, manufacturers aim to reduce the incidence of costly recalls and ensure the delivery of safe, effective medications to consumers.

Modicus Prime: Setting New Standards in Pharmaceutical Quality Control

Modicus Prime is addressing critical challenges in pharmaceutical manufacturing with its cutting-edge visual AI technology, mpVision. Its platform is engineered to enhance the precision of biological imagery analysis during the manufacturing process, which is crucial for maintaining high standards of drug safety and efficacy.

Key Features of mpVision

  • Real-Time Quality Control: mpVision automates the analysis of biologic imagery, enabling faster process development and reducing commercial production costs. Its real-time functionality allows for in-house, instantaneous image analysis, significantly speeding up the quality control processes that are essential in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
  • Explainable AI for All Users: Modicus Prime democratizes access to its AI-driven technology, enabling a wide range of end users — from scientists to quality engineers — to independently train and implement AI models tailored to their specific needs without requiring extensive AI expertise.
  • Self-Service Algorithm Training: Users can train their own AI models using their image data, applying these models across various problem spaces within their operations. This feature empowers users to maintain control over their data and algorithms, enhancing the flexibility and applicability of mpVision.
  • Complete Data Optimization: mpVision optimizes the use of data by allowing images to feed directly into the Self-Service AI, which then extracts and leverages insights without the need for manual data curation. This process maximizes the utility of data, enhancing risk reduction and regulatory compliance.

The real-time functionality of mpVision reduces image processing times from weeks to seconds, enhancing responsiveness and decision-making speed in critical quality control operations. In addition, the platform’s capability to meet rigorous regulatory standards while providing comprehensive and quick analyses helps ensure the production of safe, high-quality pharmaceuticals.

The Future of Healthcare Supply Chains

The future of healthcare supply chains is poised for transformative change, driven by technological advancements and lessons learned from recent global disruptions. As we navigate this evolving landscape, key trends are emerging that are set to reshape how healthcare providers manage logistics and maintain continuity in patient care.

  • Increased Use of AI and Machine Learning: AI is being employed more strategically within healthcare supply chains to optimize inventory management, predict demand more accurately, and streamline procurement processes. This technology helps in reducing waste and ensuring the availability of necessary supplies in the right quantities at the right time. AI’s role in enhancing decision-making and operational efficiency is crucial as it allows for real-time adjustments in response to dynamic supply conditions.
  • Greater Emphasis on Resilience and Agility: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of global supply chains, prompting healthcare systems to prioritize resilience. Future strategies will likely include diversifying suppliers and increasing on-shore or near-shore manufacturing to reduce dependency on single sources and mitigate risks of disruption. This strategic shift is aimed at creating more adaptable and less vulnerable supply networks.
  • Advanced Predictive Analytics and Digital Twins: Leveraging big data, AI, and digital twins to forecast supply needs and potential disruptions before they occur is becoming increasingly crucial. These tools can simulate and predict outcomes in the supply chain, enhancing decision-making and efficiency. This shift towards a more proactive supply chain model aims to minimize the impact of shortages and reduce excess inventory costs. Digital twins, in particular, provide a virtual model that can be used to predict the effects of changes and disruptions, allowing for better-preparedness and agile responses.
  • Collaboration and Information Sharing: The future of healthcare supply chains will rely heavily on collaborative networks where hospitals, suppliers, and manufacturers share real-time data and insights. Such collaborations can enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve overall supply chain performance by aligning all stakeholders towards common goals. Enhanced transparency and data sharing are essential for fostering trust and enabling more synchronized and efficient operations across the healthcare supply chain.

These trends indicate a shift towards more integrated, intelligent, and responsive healthcare supply chains. By adopting these innovative approaches, healthcare providers can not only meet the current demands more effectively but also prepare for future challenges, ensuring that patient care remains uninterrupted and responsive to the needs of the population.

Webinar
The Brain-Computer Interface: A Conversation with Precision Neuroscience CEO Michael Mager

Presenters
Ludwig Pierre Schulze
Ludwig Pierre Schulze

Managing Partner, Doctors Innovate Fund

Michael Mager
Michael Mager

CEO, Precision Neuroscience

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