HAP Blog

COVID-19 Has Disrupted Global Supply Chains: Three Tips to Help

January 05, 2021

Hospitals have experienced numerous shortages of needed health care equipment and supplies since March 2020. The number and scope of these supply shortages has lessened as additional manufacturing capacity has come online and better logistics models have been developed, but many products and product categories remain in short supply. Many items in the personal protective equipment (PPE) category remain on allocation from traditional suppliers.

HAP has been monitoring national trends in supply shortages and has compiled a few suggestions as members continue to address increased patient loads and the requisite demand for needed supplies.

Assess your Current Supply Situation

A key lesson from the early stages of the pandemic was the difficulty in anticipating supply and demand as a result of COVID-19. Hospitals should have a clear understanding of the current supply situation, and have estimates as to supply utilization rates should patient loads increase.

HAPevolve Endorsed Partner Vizient has developed a surge demand calculator, which is available to all hospitals. This tool has proven effective in accurately predicting supply demand increases as a result of increased patient census.

Ensure Connection with Hospital Peers

While hospital supply preparedness and access to supply has generally improved since March, supply shortage risk remains high. HAP members operate under tenets of a mutual aid agreement which allows for sharing of supplies and resources in times of emergency. Ensuring your organization has an understanding of key personnel at local and regionally proximate facilities can improve the ability for mutual aid to occur. Hospital leaders should ensure good peer-to-peer connections between supply chain leaders outside of their own facility to help collaboration and connection.

Ensure Connection with Local and Regional Emergency Preparedness Resources

There are a number of other non-hospital stakeholders that may play a helpful role in the event of additional supply disruptions. Your local and county emergency management agency often is connected to supply resources that fall outside the traditional hospital procurement department. They also may elevate need requests to other state and national preparedness resources.

The regional health care preparedness coalitions continue to be a resource to hospitals and other health care providers in navigating COVID-19-related issues. They may be able to facilitate communication and provide insight into other areas of support.

Supply shortages do not appear to be as bad as they were at the beginning of this event, but vigilance is still a good idea. Organizations should ensure they have a good understanding of their current level of supply preparedness, and make sure there is clear communication lines to other hospital peers and other agencies and stakeholders.

Contact Joe Tibbs, HAPevolve president, for more information about supply chain preparedness issues, or if you’d like to learn more about other HAPevolve products and services in the emergency preparedness space.

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