The healthcare industry has constantly been receiving a high volume of patients since COVID-19 began. On the peak of the virus’s spread, hospitals had shortages in almost all aspects: inventory, rooms, and staff.
When several countries started vaccinating their citizens, COVID patients started to decline. Everyone thought the pandemic was finally about to end, however, new variants of the virus started to emerge, such as Delta and Omicron. These variants showed extremely high infection rates. Governments and the healthcare sectors started fearing for another wave of chaos in hospitals.
Hospital inventory management during a pandemic is inevitably challenging. There are shortages with hospital beds, staff, and in the backend, PPEs, cleaning supplies, and ventilators. These things are all important and very much needed by hospitals in order for them to conduct tests and take care of their patients and staff.
Maintaining Capacity for Patients
It was very difficult for almost every hospital to keep up with the demand. Hundreds, if not thousands of patients were in line, waiting to be admitted in the hospital, meanwhile, the COVID survivors inside the hospital can’t be discharged without testing negative for the virus. Some hospitals had to set up tents to accommodate more patients.
Keeping Sufficient Staff
Staff shortage is very common in hospitals and testing centres. Most staff are often asked to work double shifts, and because of this, the chance of them getting infected by the virus increases, and when they will be infected they will have to be treated. The remaining staff will then be asked to cover more shifts. This is a vicious cycle and a seemingly unending nightmare for hospitals.
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. Not only that, hospital staff are also required to be tested every week or so, which makes sense.
- PPEs. PPEs are very important for hospital staff, everyday they face COVID patients and it’s the only thing that protects them from the virus, so it’s only proper that they should be required to wear PPEs whenever they are at the hospital.
- 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. Even if these hospitals had space to accommodate new patients, they wouldn’t have the supplies or materials needed to take care of them.
Hospital supplies and equipment have become even more important in the last 2 years. The healthcare industry had such a hard time trying to keep up with so much demand. Even PPEs that were previously not very common have become in-demand. Some hospitals are saying PPEs would last for only a few days/weeks and replenishments are hard to come by because the public purchases them as well.
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 would reach their minimum thresholds, it’s good to have an indication so that you’ll know when to reorder supplies and avoid shortage. Hospitals have a lot of busy departments. Managing inventory in multiple locations can be cumbersome at times, and an inventory management system can greatly help in making this task easier. Systems like this can help with optimizing inventory and getting accurate, real-time information of inventory levels in multiple locations, and it’s definitely one of the few ways to make managing hospital inventory easier.