Over Half of Medical Providers Say Medication Shortage is Most Common Struggle of Supply Chain Crisis

Software Advice research finds that medical providers don’t have adequate supply chain support–here are four ways to address the problem.

AUSTIN, Texas, October 03, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The global supply chain crisis continues to plague every industry, but the consequences can be life-threatening in healthcare. To get a pulse on current supply chain struggles and how to address them, Software Advice surveyed healthcare providers who have experienced this crisis firsthand. Most providers say their patients have been directly impacted, with the most common consequence being disruption of patient access to prescribed medication.

Major health systems are looking to bring manufacturing in-house due to disruptions abroad to help address this issue; however, this isn’t a realistic option for smaller practices. Using data from the survey, Software Advice identified four ways practices can rise above the supply chain challenges by shifting from passive to active inventory management:

  1. Add a supply chain specialist to your staff
    Two-thirds of practices don't have a supply chain specialist on staff to manage inventory. Yet, in the past year, practices have experienced shortages of drugs (71%), PPE (68%), and general care materials (46%), among other critical resources. There are also unique issues associated with shortages in refillable materials for specific biometric devices and wearables (e.g., test strips for blood glucose monitors).

  2. Reorder supplies earlier to serve patients better
    Over half (53%) of practices reorder only when supplies are low, creating a vicious cycle of delays and, in some cases, a lack of access to crucial treatments for patients. To avoid delays, practices must shift from "just-in-time" to "just-in-case" procurement models.

  3. Join a group purchasing organization to increase your buying power
    A third of practices are turning to group purchasing organizations (GPOs) or coalitions to help smaller providers gain more buying power and authority when working with vendors.

  4. Leverage technology to make order management easier
    Only 21% of practices use software to manage ordering, and 42% don’t know whether their office uses procurement software. Inventory management platforms that include features for vendors, ordering, and reporting can help practices better tackle the supply chain crisis.

According to the FDA, 80% of active drug ingredients are produced by manufacturers overseas, and there are currently 124 open drug shortages in the country. Now is the time for medical practices to review their supply chain systems and make adjustments to ensure patients have access to optimal care. View the full report here to learn how providers can address the supply chain crisis.

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