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5 Common Healthcare Supply Chain Issues

 In March of 2020, the WHO called on industries and governments to increase their manufacturing by 40 percent to meet the needs of healthcare workers who required PPE. However, supply chain disruptions still occurred.

Since the pandemic began, supply chain issues have become common. We see it everywhere; however, in medicine, those supply chain issues can become dangerous for healthcare workers and their patients.

If you're a hospital administrator or employee, this story isn't new to you. You're still in the midst of trying to figure out how to solve the shortages you encounter.

Part of solving that problem is understanding where it starts. Keep reading to learn about common healthcare supply chain issues and how to address them.



  1. Use of Outdated Technology

    Your hospital may have the newest medical devices, but what does your supply chain technology look like? If it's been a while since your hospital updated the technology it uses for supply chain management, you're not alone.

    However, during the pandemic having outdated technology has put increased stress on healthcare workers. Around 43 percent of hospitals lost nurses during the pandemic due to supply shortages or challenges.

    However, nurses were not the only employees leaving because of this. Around 12 percent of hospitals said it contributed to non-surgeon physicians leaving, and seven percent indicated that surgeons left because of shortages.

    Losing staff at critical times during the pandemic has left hospitals short-staffed with extra stress put on the workers that remain.

    Some studies that have taken a look at the supply chain issues during the pandemic indicate that improved digital supply chains could be used to help solve the problem of supply shortages.

    Finding a technology that can not only track your inventory and analytics but also order for you, can make the process more efficient and remove the extra stress placed on healthcare workers.



  2. Inaccurate Inventory Data

    How many ventilators does your hospital have? How many are currently in use, and how many are available?

    Do you have enough critical medical supplies? How many are you going to need?

    To find the answers to these questions, it's likely you'll need to take an inventory. Once you've done that, you'll need to order what you need.

    All of this takes time, to figure out as you gather data. Time away from patients and other responsibilities. Even then, you might not be able to accurately predict how much of each item you'll need.

    In fact, an average hospital with 500 beds will make around 14,000 stat supply calls per year. This means that your workers are waiting on items that are essential to provide care to patients.

    Inaccurate supply chain analytics can lead to a shortage.

    So how do you ensure that your inventory data is accurate and you don't spend all of your days analyzing supply chain data? Implement a system that not only gives you a 5 percent reduction in recurring medical supply expenses, which equates to millions annually but takes the stress off you.



  3. Hoarding

    Does your staff ever hide extra supplies in closets or lockers because they don't know if they'll be available when they need them? Around 62 percent of people believe that their organization hasn't done enough to prevent future supply chain disruptions. This could be a sign that you need more assistance in measuring supply chain performance.

    However, hoarding doesn't necessarily happen at a hospital level. It can happen with items stored in warehouses or at distributors as well.

    When you need items, it's important to know what's available and where it is.

    Having the ability to manage your inventory, no matter where it is currently stored is crucial.

    Having an RFID/Scanning system is an excellent choice. However, investing in one that pulls your data analytics and creates a cohesive view of your overall supply chain performance will put it over the top.

    Replacing an outdated ERP system or supporting a new one with BlueQ Analytics and SmartScan will give you added functionality most ERPs cannot match. You'll be able to see what supplies are moving and what supplies are not moving.

    This will help solve the problem of hoarding and make your hospital more efficient.

  4. Delayed Supplies Allocation


    Once you take inventory and compile a list of items you need, it's time to then order those items. However, supply chain issues over the recent years have caused delays.

    You need a system that tracks what you have on a daily basis and understands the hospital supply chain from beginning to end. Having valid data analytics on what you have at each site and that orders for you when you need items will help solve this problem.

  5. Lack of Knowledge

    Who tracks your inventory and orders supplies? A nurse? Or do you rely on your doctors to tell you what you need?

    What kind of system have you implemented for tracking your inventory?

    It's not enough to just have a system that tracks inventory without the added component of understanding the hospital supply chain anymore. Your staff is trained to give excellent medical care; however, are they trained to evaluate and implement a system that works for your facility?

    This all comes back to implementing solutions that work. A trained BlueBin implementation team can help get you set up and do the work for you. However, if you prefer to do it yourself, our consulting services can work with your team.

    Part of the consulting services is a BlueBelt training and certification program for your team. This helps you make sure that the program you build for your hospital meets the standards of the proven BlueBin system.

Solve Your Supply Chain Issues With BlueBin

Supply chain issues are not going away anytime soon. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that we need creative solutions to address the problems at hand.

Are you ready to discuss more how we can help you relieve some of the stress on your healthcare staff? We're here to help. Contact us today for more information on how we can help your facility.


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