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CW Innovation Awards: Plugging supply chain gaps

StratMed’s Integer platform is facilitating data exchanges between healthcare providers and their suppliers to improve transparency in India’s healthcare supply chain

Driven by its goal to address gaps in India’s healthcare supply chain, StratMed has built a platform to facilitate better data exchanges between healthcare providers and optimise costs.

Its efforts have already brought a host of benefits, including better prospecting, faster onboarding and better pricing.

Based in Hyderabad, StratMed is a group purchasing organisation that aims to aggregate demand and negotiate prices with manufacturers for a collective network of healthcare providers and hospitals. It also provides services to help healthcare institutions optimise consumption and enhance efficiencies in their supply chain.

StratMed supports a network of more than 80 hospitals and 300 pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Its team of 32 employees comprises healthcare professionals, doctors, supply chain experts, data scientists and technologists. The startup has presence in 14 states and 29 cities across India.

Supported by an IT team of six, its annual IT budget ranges between $500,000 and $600,000.

StratMed saw that the group purchasing model had enabled the US healthcare industry to meet more than 95% of its needs and achieve cost savings of 10% to 30%. It wanted the same for the Indian market, whose healthcare supply chain is highly fragmented, especially for non-clinical and generic items.

Already India’s first group purchasing organisation, StratMed now aims to be the country’s largest in terms of gross merchandise value processed via its Integer platform.

The procurement of pharmaceutical, medical and other supplies by hospitals is projected to be an addressable market worth over $20bn by 2024. StratMed is targeting to have at least $1bn of this value flow through Integer, which was named overall Project of the Year in the Computer Weekly Innovation Awards APAC 2022.

Data brings visibility, better forecasts

The Indian startup set out to build the Integer platform to help healthcare providers better optimise their cost and consumption of supplies, as well as improve sales and operations planning for pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors.

By integrating clinical procedural data, for example, it sought to improve upstream processes and predict demand better. It also applied data intelligence to identify product alternatives and aggregate demand from healthcare providers, which would be able to forecast their needs based on their operating plans.

Recognising that data played an integral role in supporting decision-making, StratMed put in place unified master data that represented nearly all items categorised under pharmaceuticals, implants, medical consumables, medical equipment and non-medical items.

It also adopted a plug-and-play model to integrate large disparate hospital information systems, procurement systems, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and supplier warehouse management systems.

Key outcomes

Integer was rolled out incrementally over 18 months, kicking off in June 2020 with more than 60 deployments.

In just 90 days, it helped StratMed achieve collective buying power worth $150m. Integer currently supports 60 hospital groups with over 190 hospital units and 14,000 beds. More than 300 suppliers have come onboard.

Through the platform, healthcare providers have boosted their prospecting tenfold at no additional operational cost. This was made possible with the use of natural language processing and machine learning running on StratMed AccelErate, an artificial intelligence-powered automation system.

Integer also cut the average onboarding time of new hospitals by 70%. Fulfilment ratio climbed from 15% in a quarter to 35% for current hospitals.

For manufacturers and suppliers, the platform has enabled them to negotiate contracts better and gain access to demand forecasts, which are based on aggregated data across healthcare providers. Losses from returns and obsolescence have also been minimised.

StratMed has remained within 10% of its budgeted time and costs in deploying Integer. The overall budget for the three-year project is estimated at $1.3m. The platform was developed in-house by its software engineering, systems and cloud teams.

Products and services were roped in from three technology suppliers: Infolob Solutions, which provided the core development platform; Atomstate Technologies, which helped deploy the Tibco Jaspersoft business intelligence and analytics stack; and Amazon Web Services, which hosted the development, production and service management systems. 

With Integer achieving all the objectives the Indian startup had laid out, the next two years will see further enhancements to the platform. These include a subscription model for software-as-a-service applications that facilitate purchasing, inventory management, and reporting for small and mid-sized suppliers.

Read more about CW Innovation Awards APAC 2022

  • GLS Group beefed up its enterprise resource planning system to deliver data insights that support real-time decision making and drive new revenue.
  • The success of Weikfield Food’s analytics initiative is underpinned by small successive deployments to overcome resistance from users and ensure requirements are met.
  • WLTH, a fintech company, built its own technology stack that delivers data analytics and other capabilities as it seeks to win market share from traditional banks.
  • Through Geodis APAC’s’ One Road platform, supply chain companies have received fewer enquiries on cargo locations and improved on-time performance.
  • Education Services Australia has transformed the country’s national assessment programme through an online platform that has enabled teachers to design adaptive tests and improved student engagement.
  • Telekom Malaysia has been driving automation efforts across the company, not only to not only serve customers more efficiently, but also to improve a slew of back-office functions.

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