When supplies are running low, a Summit Pacific Medical Center employee presses an Amazon Web Services Dash Button or tells Alexa to order more.
The critical-access hospital in Elma, Wash., has a Dash Button in a bin large enough to store five computers. It also placed the internet-connected buttons in containers that hold gloves, paper, syringes, IV flushes and other items that aren't necessarily checked daily. When there are two computers left, Matthew Palcich or one of his peers presses the button that is configured to order three more from a defined set of vendors via Amazon Business.
It shoots off an email to the corresponding manager who approves the purchase, and the shipment arrives two days later.
When supplies are low, a staff member pushes a button to order more product, triggering a confirmation e-mail.
Fully integrating Amazon Business into Summit Pacific's supply chain operations has taken the hassle and expense out of tedious procurement processes and freed up the center to focus on patient care, said Palcich, Summit Pacific's manager of business analytics and logistics.
“At the end of the day Amazon lets us save a bunch of money, especially where we typically struggled with one-off marketing requests and custom orders,” he said. “The breadth of offerings is probably bigger than any other distributor that I have seen.”
Summit Pacific predominantly provides primary care in addition to acute-care and emergency services. Amazon Business is capable of supplying 90% of the hospital's supply-chain needs, Palcich said, adding that it's a helpful market research tool with customer service that is often more responsive than that of its vendors.
Like Summit Pacific, a growing number of providers are using Amazon Business to streamline their supply chain. While Amazon Business currently may not be suitable for larger systems yet, the industry disruptor is capable of scaling up, supply chain experts said. Also, the healthcare supply chain is just one of many areas where Amazon continues to explore and expand in the sector.