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A Portal to Nowhere…

July 1, 2022

The disconnect between suppliers and healthcare provider organizations around medical device recall communications has been acute for many years.

For decades, manufacturers and distributors have used paper as a way to alert health systems that they are affected by a recall. This process has many side effects, most may not have been obvious 15 years ago, but today they cause a great deal of pain to providers and suppliers alike.

As the volume of recalls has increased so has the pain for health systems. They have begun voicing concerns to the suppliers, expressing a mounting level of frustration with current practices.

It has taken time for the suppliers to understand that this issue is growing and not going away, but they are recognizing that frustrating your clients is never a good business tactic.

So, several medical device suppliers got to work with good intentions but as they say, the devil is in the details…

Listening carefully to your clients’ concerns and digging deep into the root cause of the issue is key to visualizing a solution to a problem without causing additional problems.

What’s happening now? The results of some of those one-sided efforts are becoming obvious, and health systems are not happy…

Some suppliers have rolled out online portals, telling their clients they can now log online to the supplier portal and deal with recalls. They seem to think this is a good idea, but in fact, this is quite a self-centered approach.

These suppliers didn’t think about what the life of their clients will turn into if they need to log on to200+ different portals to deal with recalls (health systems deal with thousands of vendors, and in just 2021 and 2022 more than 400 unique suppliers have issued medical device recalls).

In fact, this approach is unviable for health systems, and many are already expressing an even higher level of frustration.

A true solution for the industry needs to provide a single place for health systems to receive all their notifications, a comprehensive recall communication program that provides a single place for any supplier to communicate with all their clients. The FDA website is not this place either, as recalls are published slowly and they don’t have enough specificity to weed out the information that doesn’t affect a specific health system.

If you are a recall coordinator or a VP of Supply Chain at a health system, and you think you can wait until the industry figures this out on its own, think again. We need electronic communication in healthcare recalls, but it needs to happen on a single platform.

Acting now and telling suppliers that the “portal from each supplier” approach is not the solution, is key to avoiding an even more painful situation going forward.

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