Short staffing. Short supply levels. Long transit times. If healthcare providers keep treating these issues as temporary, their consequences will only last longer and recur more frequently.
We've heard stories of a ship waiting at a congested port for a month before it was able to offload its cargo. That's insane by normal standards, but we're not going back to the old normal anytime soon.
Supplies are only running late if you planned for them to arrive quickly. If you built the current lag between ordering and receiving into your sourcing plans, it isn't a lag at all. It's arriving exactly when you predicted.
It's probably fair to say that's not exactly ideal, but the sentiment is supported by the evidence of the news we were reading to prepare for this week's Five To Save:
- The pandemic is as widespread as ever, so it's no surprise that lots of people assume they have COVID-19 when they don't. That worsens ubiquitous staffing issues, which might contribute to some people refusing to take PCR tests because they don't want to confirm their positive status (whether they're positive or not).
- All of which plays into the medical supply chain not being fixed anytime soon. In fact, the supply chain for all goods doesn't look like it will be back to pre-pandemic speed or expense anytime soon.
- Some less-than-reputable vendors are taking advantage of the shortage in N95 masks to offer counterfeits. (You probably already know how to spot the difference, but here's a handy guide to fake masks you can share with the people who keep asking you.)
- So maybe you're tempted - like some healthcare providers - to start manufacturing some of your own PPE. But before making any massive changes to inventory management practices, health systems need to assess their own needs so they can tailor their plans to stock supplies.
- And there are probably some technologies that you can skip. Or phase out, in the case of that ubiquitous device that no one ought to be using anymore: the fax machine.
Our regular readers will know that one area where you can't skip advanced tech (although most providers try) is in the pharmacy. Learn more about performing a perfect pharmacy inventory count here, and sign up for our Five To Save newsletter so you never miss news like this again.