We’ve all seen the stories. The rapid spread of the coronavirus has caused demand spikes for personal protective equipment (PPE), with healthcare workers in areas hardest hit by the spread of the virus reporting alarming shortages of PPE like masks, gowns, and shields.
PPE aren’t the only consumables in short supply, either. Potentially life-saving ventilators have been, as well. A welter of evidence points to backorders of weeks if not months, while anecdotes of steep unit-cost increases to the price of ventilators abound.
What’s more, hospital and ICU beds in virus-ravaged areas have become precious commodities. Public health agencies and federal, state, and local leaders have, in turn, begun re-purposing existing facilities like convention centers, hotels, sports stadiums, etc. into makeshift hospitals to ease the demand on overburdened hospitals.
So, what then can healthcare organizations do to manage the coronavirus impact on healthcare supply chains? As an element of surge planning, supply chain management must aim at maximizing available resources. Resource sharing, or mutual aid, agreements, for instance, might enable healthcare organization to make fuller use of the larger community’s resources, including regional and federal resources. Planning ahead might also support individual organizations in their quest to procure inventory from state and federal disaster supply caches.
Facilities might also want to implement a variety of strategies permitting conservation, reuse, adaptation, and substitution of existing resources, so as to minimize the coronavirus impact on healthcare supply chains. What’s required there, though, is visibility into and situational awareness of a facility’s existing inventories, which means advanced management of any potential supply chain impacts.
What will it take? Well, supply chain management can be better achieved with purpose-built technologies, like the free Noggin COVID-19 Response Module for Healthcare, which provides capabilities to:
- Identify, assess, and manage the risks of disruption caused by the pandemic to products and suppliers
- Track requests for assistance or resources, so that you can coordinate and control sourcing and sharing of resources across all facilities.
- Track updates, key decisions, tasks, and actions necessary to keep critical supplies flowing to your operations, and ensure your sourcing efforts are coordinated and efficient
- Registers and logs of key suppliers and sources enables everyone to get to key contact and other details quickly and identify emerging risks in your supply chains so that you can intervene before they become critical shortages
Along those lines, facilities and resources-specific dashboards will also help maximize existing resources, providing the tracking and visualizing supports needed to maintain situational awareness of hospitals, clinics, testing, or aged-care facilities, the availability of beds, blood and medicine stocks, even the management of requests for resources or assistance.
Remember, healthcare workers constitute valuable – perhaps, the most valuable – resources, as well. And the evidence has shown that shortages of PPE have severely compromised healthcare worker safety – healthcare workers now constitute one of the most at-risk populations to the coronavirus.
As such, your COVID-19 response software must have easy-to-use capabilities to deal with healthcare worker status, risks, welfare, and case management, so as to ensure that you understand worker availability at any given time, are fully prepared for surge capacity, and can manage the impact of exposed or infected workers to the response effort. The free Noggin COVID-19 Response Module for Healthcare can help there, too. Access the Module for free and mitigate the coronavirus impact to your healthcare supply chain and your at-risk workers.