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How do Supply Chain Issues Disrupt Patient Care?

14% of those surveyed reported medical errors, and nearly 50% claimed that supply chain shortages had caused delays in patient care.

July 2023 saw the collection of answers by ECRI and the ISMP (Institute for Safe Medication Practices). An ECRI poll found that shortages in the supply chain are causing problems in every area of healthcare, including patient care, and adding on to the administrative burden. In addition to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and procurement specialists, the poll included responses from 200 healthcare professionals. 

In the six months preceding the poll, six out of ten participants reported that shortages had affected over twenty medications, single-use items, or durable medical equipment. Almost 75 percent of those surveyed claimed that the lack of these professionals had affected the standard of anesthetic and surgical care.

Emergency care (64%), pain management (52%), cardiology (45%), hematology and oncology (44%), infectious diseases (39%), and obstetrics and gynecology (37%) are among the other specialties that are being negatively impacted by the shortages.

According to the majority of healthcare professionals, patient treatment has been hampered by supply chain constraints. A significant portion of participants (49%) reported that patient treatments had been postponed, rescheduled, or canceled. Cancellation of surgical cases has been the result of clinicians not having the necessary supplies on hand for the surgeries. Moreover, patients have to be moved to other facilities due to equipment repair delays caused by a lack of replacement components for medical equipment.

Approximately 33% of participants stated that shortages prevented them from giving patients the prescribed medication or treatment for their ailment; of these, 21% claimed that this led to patients receiving a less active medication.

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In an effort to alleviate supply constraints, healthcare professionals have tried a number of strategies. 90 percent of those surveyed said they would change the automated replacement levels on a regular basis, buy a more expensive product directly from the vendor, or add backup inventory for vitally necessary pharmaceuticals, supplies, or equipment for those in short supply.

In times of supply shortages, staff communication has also proven crucial. 84 percent of respondents stated they had given clinical staff tools to teach them about safe alternative drug dosage or how to use alternative supplies and equipment. Additionally, 92 percent of workers said they routinely notify medical staff about products that are out of stock. Furthermore, a significant proportion of the responders (77%) and central supply and materials management professionals (82%) had scheduled meetings with each other.

Supply chain issues increase the administrative load on healthcare professionals, who are already dealing with budgetary constraints and a lack of manpower. The poll found that a major amount of time that could be spent on more worthwhile activities is wasted on staff education, stocking substitute products, and liaising with secondary market sellers. In addition to lowering medical errors and enhancing workflow for healthcare workers across the board, addressing supply chain shortages may also improve patient care.

After exploring the impact of supply chain issues on patient care, it is clear that healthcare organizations are taking proactive steps to mitigate these disruptions. Therefore, there is a high demand for healthcare professionals. If you are a healthcare professional looking to kick-start your career, partner with us at Dynamic Health Staff and ensure that you have a reliable and matching job of your interest. 

Dynamic Health Staff specializes in healthcare recruitment and has a team of skilled recruiters who can help healthcare professionals identify and apply for the best job opportunities matching their skill set. Our goal is to support both employers and job seekers. 

If you’re a healthcare professional looking to build a strong and reliable career and seeking new opportunities, contact Dynamic Health Staff today at +919810017608 or send an email to enquiry@dynamichealthstaff.com. We are here to help you navigate the complex world of healthcare recruitment and find the best solutions for your needs.

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About the author

Based out of the UAE , Dynamic Health Staff (www.dynamichealthstaff.com) is an industry leader in overseas recruitment since its inception in 1977. With 12 offices in 6 countries and a staff over 260 members, DHS focus on recruitment of healthcare professions into United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Canada and Middle East.

Each year, we give jobs to over 2500 healthcare professionals.

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