How Can Medical Supply Shortages Be Addressed?

medical supply shortage

Medical supply shortages are a global problem.

Medical supply shortages are becoming worse. Hospitals are struggling to obtain the medical supplies they need, doctors are facing difficulties obtaining the equipment they need for surgeries, and procurement managers are constantly tasked with finding new suppliers. 

This can have a serious impact on patient care, especially during an outbreak or emergency situation. So what can be done to solve this problem? 

Possible reasons for the shortages in medical supplies

medical supply solution

One of the most significant challenges facing healthcare organizations today is the shortage of essential supplies. This problem can have a major impact on patient care, as well as the overall efficiency of the healthcare system. 

There are a number of factors that can contribute to medical supply shortages.

  • Production issues
  • Transport problems
  • Unexpected demand 
  • Governmental policies and regulations.  

Regardless of the cause, shortages can create a number of challenges for both healthcare providers and patients.  

  1. Shortages may lead to longer wait times for procedures or treatments, as well as an increased risk of infection.
  2. In severe cases, patients can be denied access to care.

As a result, it is essential for healthcare organizations to have contingency plans in place to deal with supply shortages. Healthcare organizations can contribute to ensuring that patients receive the care they need by knowing the roots of this issue and being ready for its impacts.

Possible solutions

medical supply shortage solution

The COVID-19 epidemic has made the current medical supply chain situation worse, but it is not a brand-new issue. For years, the US healthcare system has been struggling to keep up with the demand for medical supplies and equipment. The problem has gotten worse because many essential healthcare goods are made overseas. As a result, the US healthcare system relies on global supply chains, which are often subject to disruptions.

In order to end the current supply chain crisis in healthcare, smarter inventory management, infrastructure improvements, and increased manufacturing in the US will be necessary. 

  1. Smarter inventory management will help to ensure that healthcare facilities have the supplies they need on hand. This may require a diversified supply chain and the help of a third-party fulfillment service.
  1. Infrastructure improvements will help to increase the efficiency of supply chains. 
  1. Bringing elements of US manufacturing back onshore will help to reduce reliance on global supply chains.

Taking these steps is critical to ending rolling shortages of supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE), anesthetics, and necessities such as IV contrast and IV bags. While providers can focus on improving efficiency at the point of care to lower supply demands and overall strain on the healthcare system, many of the long-term solutions will need to happen at the level of industry and government. It is critical that industry and government also work together to develop long-term solutions. Have you been affected by the current shortage of medical supplies?