Coronavirus has been dominating news cycles for approximately one month as it spreads across the world. At times, it can feel like an unavoidable tidal wave hovering over everyone. As of March 18, 2020, the total number of cases across the world has topped 200,000 (Worldometers, 2020). The United States has over 9,000 cases and at least one infected individual in every state (Live Science, 2020). Since the virus is predicted to continue its exponential growth, the number of cases is expected to increase significantly in areas where Covid-19 has just arisen. For example, it took only four days for the number of infected individuals in the U.S. to double (Siegel, 2020). With this type of spread, hospitals need to be prepared for more patients than they may have originally anticipated. Having the necessary supplies and being ready could be the difference between a health system’s patients surviving their illnesses or not.

Supply chain and healthcare leaders should prepare their organizations for an influx in Covid-19 patients. While it is easy to conclude that hospitals only need extra personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks or gloves, supply chain managers should also secure as many medical and surgical supplies as possible in order to treat critical patients (King, 2020). Besides the fact that healthcare organizations can expect to use a larger amount of supplies than before, they should also be prepared for supply chain issues that are caused by Covid-19’s impact. 

Many of the areas where pharmaceuticals and medical equipment are produced have been affected by the virus. Consequently, there is a large chance that specific drugs and materials used in medical devices are not being produced and shipped to the U.S. If you would like to learn more about how Coronavirus will affect supply chain, you may read further here

Hospitals are beginning to see the effects of Covid-19 as some are running low on supplies after fighting an influx of the virus. For example, a hospital in Georgia recently faced many issues as their number of cases quickly increased. According to the journalist Gina Spocchia, the flagship hospital of the Phoebe Putney Health System used five months’ worth of supplies in six days (Spocchia, 2020). At the time the article was written, the hospital was dealing with approximately 65 confirmed cases. 

What this tells other healthcare leaders and supply chain managers is that they need to be overly prepared. Hospitals that are currently fighting larger numbers of Covid-19 patients are using significantly more supplies than anticipated. The Phoebe Putney hospital has been forced to rely on donations, volunteers, and potential government support to get them the supplies they desperately need. If other health systems fail to prepare after seeing others struggle, they are likely to suffer a similar fate. 

Covid-19 and its effects are often seen as exaggerated by the media, but it should be clear that healthcare organizations need to be ready for the worst case scenario. By taking the proper precautions, healthcare organizations can help prevent that worst-case scenario from occurring. It is necessary that those in the healthcare industry learn from stories like the Phoebe Putney hospital and begin to properly prepare.

 

If you’d like to learn more about GreenLight Medical and how it can aid your supply chain management, please click here.

 

References

Coronavirus in the US: Map, case counts and news. (2020, March 18). Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-updates-united-states.html

Covid-19 Coronavirus Outbreak. (2020, March 19). Retrieved from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

King, R. (2020, March 7). Coronavirus outbreak could slam hospital supply chains for drugs, protective equipment. Retrieved from https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/hospitals-health-systems/coronavirus-could-slam-hospital-supply-chains-for-drugs-protective

Siegel, E. (2020, March 17). Why “Exponential Growth” Is So Scary For The COVID-19 Coronavirus. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2020/03/17/why-exponential-growth-is-so-scary-for-the-covid-19-coronavirus/#466a72964e9b

Spocchia, G. (2020, March 17). US hospital uses five months’ worth of supplies in six days as shortages hit. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/coronavirus-us-hospital-georgia-shortages-healthcare-a9406411.html