The supply chain for U.S. health care is really five different supply chains—pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical devices, medical supplies and blood—and each one has its own challenges and opportunities for improvement.
In a new paper published in Annals of Internal Medicine, Prakash Mirchandani, professor of business administration and director of the Center for Supply Chain Management at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, examines the effects of COVID-19 on this system and what can be done to ensure that our supply chains continue to support health care providers.
He recommends these solutions:
- Re-shore drug manufacturing or develop a dual supply chain for pharmaceuticals
- Maintain and rotate a judiciously determined emergency stockpile of PPE
- Create a more agile supply chain for medical devices such as ventilators
- Build redundancy and develop contingency plans for medical supplies such as lab kits and testing materials
- Decentralize blood collection (and centralize storage and distribution) to maintain supplies and address demand