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Supply chain management in health services: an overview

Jan de Vries (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Robbert Huijsman (Department of Health Care Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 3 May 2011




This paper seeks to concentrate on the question whether any parallels can be found between the industrial sector and health care services with respect to the developments that have taken place in the area of Supply Chain Management. Starting from an analysis of existing literature, it is intended that different modes of Supply Chain integration will be discussed. Also, in doing so, it is intended that the lessons learned from the studies presented in this special issue will be summarized and placed into the perspective of future research that can be considered as necessary.


This paper adopted an exploratory, qualitative approach based on an analysis of existing literature in the area of Supply Chain Management in Health Services. Additionally, material from the case studies presented in this special issue is used to assess the current body of knowledge regarding Supply Chain Management in Health Services.


Starting from a classification of existing research, five main research areas with respect to Supply Chain Management in a health care setting are defined. Additionally, it is concluded that next to studies with a mono‐disciplinary focus, an interdisciplinary focus on Supply Chain Management issues in health services seems to be necessary.


This paper contributes to both the supply chain management literature and literature in the area of healthcare management by identifying some important research areas which are linked to both fields. This paper helps both academics and managers to gain a better understanding of the complexity of supply chain management in health services.



de Vries, J. and Huijsman, R. (2011), "Supply chain management in health services: an overview", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 159-165.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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