The world’s growing elderly population represents a major new market for logistics managers as policy makers look to expand home care solutions, according to one leading expert.
Wolfgang Lehmacher, partner and managing director for Greater China and India at Corporate Value Associates, a global strategy boutique, believes both developed and developing countries will increasingly turn to home medical care options as they seek ways of coping with accelerating demand for medical care.
“Holistic approaches to home medical care with logistics delivery at their core will give governments and the elderly a whole new and more convenient and cost effective way of managing in the future,” he said.
“Working together, transportation, technology, security companies and logistics businesses can partner with nurse networks, pharmacies and hospitals to provide viable methods of caring for the elderly. The opportunities for logistics companies to make themselves critical to the delivery and monitoring of such services are immense and already being developed.”
CVA recently identified best practices for the potential roll-out of home care solutions with a major logistics component for Japanese distributors looking at their provision both in Japan and in emerging markets. The model developed by CVA saw logistics companies take responsibility for the home delivery of equipment needed for checking vital signs, various other test kits, home security devices and a range of medical and communication equipment.
Lehmacher, also the former CEO of GeoPost Intercontinental, said home medical care solutions can be divided into three components — examination, checking vital signs and medical treatment.
The examination process can encompass a number of stages with a logistics element, such as delivery of test kits from an agency to the customer and the return of the sample to the agency. After the sample is analyzed, the data then needs to be delivered to medical institutions, and follow-up can involve the delivery of a suitable treatment to the customer.
Checking vital signs entails delivering medical equipment and software from manufacturers to customers, managing the data received from the customer, and guaranteeing its online delivery and analysis.
Medical treatment services can incorporate diagnosis, treatment and medication and food delivery. This can involve use of remote communication systems, with wholesalers or retailers requiring the delivery of drugs or food directly to patients.
“Although such treatments would involve a whole range of companies — from equipment and pharmaceutical suppliers to telecommunications and catering experts — delivery and logistics will be crucial to the whole value chain,” Lehmacher said.
“The handling of samples such as blood, for example, must be carefully managed with guaranteed temperature control.
“Logistics companies can also offer security monitoring services for elderly people including a face-to-face check of patients at the time of delivery of kits, medicine or food.”
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