A high functioning supply chain has always been vital, but never was its true criticality more in stark relief than at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial shortage of PPE made headlines everywhere. As I’ve recounted in this space before, our team at MedSpeed was able to play a role in supporting our clients as they worked to ramp up their management and distribution of these lifesaving supplies during this crucial time.
As was true across the healthcare space, the pandemic challenged the supply chain of our client, Virtua Health. Based in Marlton, N.J., Virtua found itself on the frontlines of the early COVID surge in the New York Tri-State area last spring.
Virtua’s AVP of support services, Bill Christie, runs the system’s supply chain operations for over 200 different care sites. He recently sat down with 4sight Health to talk about how his organization was able to pivot to meet the overwhelming demands of the pandemic. From assembling ventilators in house, to utilizing shipping containers to store additional inventory, the article recaps some of the extraordinary things the Virtua team did last year, as well as Bill’s lessons learned.
One of the interesting things about our vantage point in this industry, at this time, is the wealth of inspirational stories we are seeing every day. One such story comes from Advocate Aurora Health in Milwaukee, which was featured in a recent Healthcare Purchasing News article.
During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Advocate Aurora’s distribution center quickly reached capacity. The Advocate Aurora team supply chain team needed to set up a warehouse to provide PPE in support of their clinicians and patients – and fast.
Healthcare leaders across the country have been tackling the challenges of this pandemic with ingenuity. I am inspired by their dedication and perseverance and will be sharing stories on this blog over the next several weeks in order to recognize and amplify their efforts.
Healthcare Purchasing News recently highlighted the Mayo Clinic in its article about COVID-19 changemakers. In late March, as COVID-19 was putting massive demand on Mayo Clinic’s supply of face shields, Mayo formed a partnership with Pepin Manufacturing to produce the much-needed personal protective equipment. But there was a catch, in order to produce the 300,000 face shields, workers would be needed to supplement Pepin Manufacturing’s production crews.
There is no overstating the challenges and hardships that our industry and our country at large have endured during this pandemic. Healthcare leaders have taken extraordinary measures to meet these obstacles head on, which has created an environment of accelerated innovation. Impressive strides have been made to deliver care more efficiently, with the same degree of effectiveness.
Additionally, I’m struck by the number of healthcare entities that have rapidly scaled new programs to address the broader needs of their communities. It’s this idea that has been talked about for years of “health care” instead of “sick care”.
We are now well into our fourth calendar month since the COVID-19 pandemic fully arrived in the United States. On the one hand, we have worked to adapt to a new normal. But, more so, we are weary of pandemic life and all that it has wrought. Making all this more difficult is the uncertainty of what lies ahead.
Despite this challenge, it is incumbent upon healthcare leaders, and other key policy makers, to look forward. This will help us take the steps back towards our old lives – albeit with certain likely permanent differences – but also prepare for the many potential eventualities that we may confront.