“OR upgrades can increase the OR’s safety, efficiency and even improve patient outcomes by enhancing the complete continuum of care. Modern OR integration connects the OR with clinical teams, information systems, and other resources outside the OR’s walls, making every procedure a cooperative opportunity. ”

Matt Bottino, Director, Marketing, STERIS

“Meeting the instrument demands of the OR means having the right instruments, at the right time, in the proper condition,” said Troy Scroggins, Product Manager, Sterile Packaging for Aesculap. “Utilizing Aesculap’s SterilContainer System can help increase OR-CS/SPD reprocessing cycle efficiency.”

Troy Scroggins, Product Manager, Sterile Packaging for Aesculap

“More evidence is available today on the effectiveness of electronic HH compliance monitoring systems in reducing HAIs. We have noticed a significant uptick in the number of hospitals expressing an interest in this system, budgeting for it, and implementing it. The ability to dem- onstrate the impact of a compliance monitoring system on HH, infection rates, and patient safety in hospitals is key to implementation of this tech- nology. ”

Kathleen Burzycki, Senior Marketing Manager, Ecolab Healthcare

“The use of technology — electronic tablets (e.g., iPad), electronic health records, remote monitoring applica- tions and digital/ wireless connectiv- ity — are foundational for delivering seamless care to our patients regard- less of where they are. ”

Vance Moore, President, Business Integration, Mercy.

“We’re coming to the dance with a technology platform; however, in many situations, we struggle to find a good dance partner. The lack of professionals within the health system with the necessary skillsets to implement, maintain, and run the application over the long haul is a barrier to transformation. ”

Peter Brereton, President and CEO,TECSYS

he recent IV solutions shortage has ex- posed some glaring weaknesses in the nation’s Supply Chain infrastructure. The problem goes well beyond IV fluids and represents a strategic risk to the coun- try’s healthcare system as a whole. Below is one health system executive’s take on what went wrong with our Supply Chain — and how to fix it.


News organizations throughout the coun- try are beginning to highlight the ongoing shortage of IV solutions in the United States, and in doing so have generally focused on the recent damage to IV manufacturing plants located in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria. Looking at the pictures of hurricane-ravaged roads and coastlines from this strongest-in- a-generation storm, it’s easy to dismiss this shortage as the result of a one-off “act of God” — but as many hospital Supply Chain executives know, that’s not necessarily the case. One of the largest and most severely impacted producers of IV fluids is actually based in California, far from Maria’s path — and the fundamental flaws in operations and manufacturing that are truly driving this issue are (unfortunately) not limited to one line of products.

In this past year alone, there have been ma- jor supply chain disruptions in pacemakers, spinal implants, cardiac stents, local anesthet- ics, disposable urinals (just try running a major hospital without those and see how your day goes), syringes, even basic gauze … and the list goes on. Hospital Supply Chain staff are feeling increasingly overwhelmed by the daily challenges in providing critical supplies to provide basic patient care. What’s even more frustrating is that many of these shortages are limited to the United States alone. One of our materials directors recently visited some family in the Philippines, and joked about raiding his local small-town clinic for their plentiful IV supplies so he could bring some back to New York City — an anecdote that reflects the reality of the fact that for most of the world these shortages simply do not exist. Here at Mount Sinai, we’ve been prudent in our planning, and we’ve been fortunate enough to ensure continuity of care and even assist our fellow hospitals in New York when needed with many of the products


mentioned — but not all health systems have our resources, and with Flu season in full swing, I fear many hospitals — especially small and mid-sized institutions throughout the country - may struggle to provide their customary levels of care. So why is this happening - and most impor- tantly, what can be done about it? I believe there are a few key issues driving this trend: 1. The Healthcare Supply Chain is global, not local, and the scope of manufacturing operations increases the risk. Most prod- ucts we use are coming from Asia/Europe, and a lot can go wrong over 7000 miles of land and water.

2. The “Just in Time” economy has gone too far. Over the past decade, manufacturers have hired many operations and logistics consultants to tell them how to streamline their operations and save money. The message they have been getting, loud and clear, is to minimize any excess stock on hand. Gone are the days when manufac- turers have a warehouse full of products sitting around waiting to be sold. These days, shipments come off of a boat, and are whisked into transport centers, where they are cross-docked (i.e., taking products off one truck and directly on to another) and rushed out to fill outstanding (usu- ally overdue) orders. As a result, there is no cushion built into the system — when an earthquake happens in China, or a hur- ricane in Puerto Rico, hospitals truly feel the impact within hours, not weeks. As you can imagine, it doesn’t take an emergency to disrupt a Supply Chain this fragile. A favorite term from manufacturers these days is the “rolling backorder” — this is shorthand for “something went wrong be- tween here and wherever this item was made, and we don’t want to publicly announce that there is a shortage, but you are not getting your product and we don’t know when you will.” For hospitals, of course, whether it’s a major storm or simply poor planning by the manufacturer, the end result is the same. 3. Manufacturers have not invested in excess manufacturing capacity and in-house logistics expertise — Especially for public companies, justifying the capital expense necessary to modernize your production

PEOPLE & OPINIONS A problem in need

of solutions Our fragile healthcare supply chain and how to fix it by Les Grant, Corporate Director Supply Chain, Mount Sinai Health System

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