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Breaking the Chain: How Healthcare Supply Disruptions Are Shaping Patient Care (And Driving Nurses Crazy)

April 18, 2023

I should be checking the shelves for recalled items more often, said no nurse EVER.

Healthcare supply chain disruptions have grown in number and scope at an alarming rate over the last decade. Medical device recalls, backorders, shortages, and market withdrawals are just a few examples of supply chain disruptions that have become increasingly prevalent in the healthcare industry.

Healthcare providers now receive thousands of alerts per year, which require significant time and effort to manage and resolve.

The challenge presented by healthcare supply disruptions not only affects the bottom line of healthcare organizations but also has a significant impact on patient care. When healthcare providers spend a significant amount of time dealing with supply chain disruptions, it can lead to delays in patient care and potential rescheduling of procedures, which can impact patient outcomes and satisfaction.

For instance, if a hospital is facing a shortage of a particular medication or medical device needed for a critical procedure, the delay in obtaining the necessary supplies can result in a delayed procedure or even a cancellation, leading to extended hospital stays, increased risk of infection, and increased stress and anxiety for both the patient and their loved ones.

In addition to the direct impact on patient care, supply chain disruptions can also affect the overall efficiency of healthcare organizations. When staff members spend a significant amount of time dealing with backorders and shortages, it can take away from their ability to focus on other critical tasks such as patient care.

Another significant concern related to healthcare supply disruptions is the potential impact on nursing burnout and dissatisfaction. When nurses are asked to check for recalled products in inventory locations throughout the hospital, it takes away from their ability to focus on patient care, which can lead to burnout and dissatisfaction.

The added responsibility of managing supply chain disruptions can become overwhelming for nurses, particularly when they are already dealing with high levels of stress and workload. When nurses are forced to spend significant amounts of time managing supply chain disruptions, they may become frustrated and disengaged, which can lead to lower levels of job satisfaction and an increased risk of burnout.

Healthcare organizations should consider implementing a new approach to supply chain communications that streamline the process of managing supply chain disruptions, reduce the number of steps needed and reduce the frequency of events, resulting in less effort for supply chain staff, more immediate communications, and less burden on nursing staff.

By having a centralized system in place that provides real-time updates and alerts related to supply chain disruptions, nurses can spend more time focusing on patient care and less time needlessly managing inventory.

If you want to learn more about how inefficient the recall alert communication process is in the US, you can check out this video.

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