The healthcare industry is facing a high volume of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the peak times of the virus’s spread, hospitals had shortages in almost all aspects: inventory, rooms, and staff.
In the past few months, COVID patient rates have declined significantly because vaccination was in full swing. However, with the emergence of new variants, such as Delta and Omicron, which show high infection rates, governments, and the healthcare sectors are fearing another wave of chaos in hospitals and more deaths.
Hospital inventory management at a time of a pandemic is challenging, to say the least. There’s much more shortage in hospital beds and staff. In the backend, there are shortages in PPEs, cleaning supplies, ventilators which are important to the two things hospitals are deemed to comply with, testing and caring for the patients, and keeping all the staff safe.
Maintaining Capacity for Patients
Hospitals were fully packed everywhere. The regular patients, the patients who were waiting to be admitted and the COVID survivors who were in post-care and just waiting for negative test results were all taking up space in hospitals. Some hospitals had to set up tents to accommodate more patients.
Keeping Sufficient Staff
Staff are working double time and sometimes getting the virus themselves and need to be treated. The shortage of staff is very common in hospitals and testing centers.
Shortage of Hospital Supplies
- Testing supplies. Many hospitals were unable to keep up with COVID-19 testing requirements because of the need to test not only the patients but also the staff.
- PPEs. This is one of the crucial supplies staff need to have to be safe while performing their tasks. Because of the pandemic, hospital staff also had to wear PPEs in taking care of regular patients. This contributed to a fast, high demand for PPEs.
- Critical Supplies and Materials. Hospitals, especially smaller ones, had shortages of critical supplies and materials such as IV poles, linens, cleaning supplies, medical gas, ventilators, thermometers, and even food.
These days, hospital supplies and materials are very important items that are on-demand in the healthcare industry. PPEs that were not commonly seen in hospitals on regular days are now in demand. Some hospitals are saying PPEs would last only for a few days/weeks and replenishments take more time because of the competition on-demand now that not only hospitals are getting protective equipment but also the public.
Challenges in these difficult times are inevitable, so the small things we could do to make everything a little easier are very important.
When inventory level thresholds are reached, it’s good to have an indication so that you’ll know when to reorder supplies and avoid too much shortage. Hospitals nowadays have a lot of busy departments. Managing inventory in multiple locations can be cumbersome at times, and an inventory management system that can help with optimizing inventory and getting accurate, real-time information of inventory levels in multiple locations is one way to make things a little easier.