The Heavy Impact of Supply Chain Miseries — What Now?

You can no longer afford to ignore the supply chain in healthcare

The Heavy Impact of Supply Chain Miseries — What Now?

In the CORRelations Chart of the Week, “The Heavy Impact of Supply Chain Miseries,” we see that supply chain disruptions continue to affect the ability of healthcare organizations to maintain stock of required material to care for patients. “Surgery/anesthesia” and “emergency care” lead the pack in the specialties reporting supply chain shortages. These interruptions cause unacceptable rates of treatment delays, errors, and forced use of less-effective alternative treatment.

Prior to the pandemic, few of us even considered the supply chain in healthcare and what disrupting it can do to our practices. That luxury is gone.

When I was in business school, we learned the benefits and methods of “just in-time” supply chain strategies, in which organizations restock at the last minute to avoid the disadvantages of tying up capital resources holding material on the shelf. That strategy seems reckless today; if anything, the pendulum has swung the other way — hospitals hoard resources at the risk of not being able to resupply.

Orthopaedic surgeon Scott Porter, MD, the founder of Just Cause Apparel, gave a fascinating talk at last year’s AOA meeting on the supply chain crisis. Instead of complaining about the disruptions to care, Dr. Porter encouraged us to view this issue as an opportunity to innovate and seek new methods to obtain the resources we need that allow us to provide our services. He described the supply chain as not only physical assets, but also the human resources that are so critical to patient care. By moving “up the supply chain,” hospital systems can limit their exposure to supply chain shortages by producing resources or collaborating with other organizations to limit supply chain risk. Innovative thinking in this arena can change a challenge into an opportunity.

CORRelations has numerous other posts about the supply chain that offer specific, real-world practical solutions, including: