Building Hospital Pharmacy Supply Resilience

Post by QuicksortRx on May 29, 2024
Building Hospital Pharmacy Supply Resilience

One key factor for achieving positive health outcomes is medication adherence. Compliance with treatment plans is especially important for patients managing chronic conditions or recovering from acute episodes of care. 

If providers lack necessary medications during drug shortages, how can hospitals ensure their patients receive the highest level of care?

The fact is that patients still need their treatments when facilities face supply issues. It’s up to hospital pharmacies to come up with viable solutions to navigate medication shortage challenges to continue to provide the best quality care possible to patients.

Drug Supply Challenges and Strategies for Building Resilience

Building more resilience in a complex drug supply chain landscape starts with understanding and managing the distinct challenges it presents — and knowing the best strategies to mitigate the ramifications of medication scarcity. 

Challenge 1: Historic drug shortages  

In 2023, the U.S. witnessed its highest number of ongoing and active drug shortages in 10 years. In response to the lingering and growing challenge of drug shortages, hospitals everywhere have needed to revise their operations. With multiple factors contributing to this problem — including market shifts, manufacturing changes, natural disasters, and transportation disruptions — health systems must refine their inventory and supply systems.

  • Strategy: To become more resilient, hospitals should develop effective mitigation strategies and implement creative solutions to maximizing supply availability. QuicksortRx provides insights into market dynamics and drug spend while connecting hospitals with experts who can provide recommendations and timely updates on developments that could affect availability. Real time pharmacy analytics tools can streamline visibility and reporting, getting your team into action faster when time matters most.

Challenge 2: Simultaneous demand spike

As the healthcare industry experiences dwindling medication supplies, we are also seeing a global increase in demand as global populations age. While the pandemic was the principal issue leading to this spike over the past several years, as COVID fades further into the distance it’s becoming clear this challenge persists. 

  • Strategy: At the hospital level, managing spikes in medication demand requires proactive planning, coordination, and resource allocation. This means establishing effective emergency preparedness plans, making long-term inventory forecasts to better collaborate with suppliers, and using technology to streamline medication management processes. 

Challenge 3: Widespread global disruptions 

Although the pandemic on its own was a significant burden on hospital pharmacies already dealing with medication supply issues, it was far from the only major disruptor in recent years. The pharmaceutical industry has faced geopolitical conflicts, agitated trade relations, and even natural disasters — such as Hurricane Maria, which caused a monumental saline shortage when it hit Puerto Rico, and the more recent tornado that hit a Pfizer factory in North Carolina.

  • Strategy: Supply issues are largely affected by events that occur outside hospital walls. One way that organizations can address these effects is by maintaining a diverse supplier network. By building partnerships with a variety of vendors, providers can maintain alternative sources for filling gaps in medication stores during times of drug supply chain disruption.

Challenge 4: Lack of drug supply chain visibility

You can only track and plan for shortages you know about. Unfortunately for hospitals, this is easier said than done. When it comes to visibility, much of the problem lies in the absence of clear and timely reporting on medication shortages. Providers should work to make up for this lack of current and timely data by implementing their own in-house monitoring systems to supplement or replace spreadsheets and manual processes.

  • Strategy: Not knowing about current shortages is like flying blind. Providers would be wise to invest in pharmacy supply chain solutions that gives them real-time data on stock levels, instant reporting capabilities, regional and national availability insights, and more. While drug shortage “prediction” can be a slippery slope, early identification will leave health systems with the most options for resolution

Get Ahead of Pharmacy Supply Chain Risk 

Pharmacy supply chain risk will always be a challenge for hospitals. By working with stakeholders to establish effective mitigation strategies, proactively allocating resources to the right areas, maintaining diverse supplier networks, using real-time data, and adopting technology to track fluctuations, providers can build a solid foundation for preempting or responding efficiently and effectively to operational disruptions.

At QuicksortRx, we give hospitals across the nation advanced analytics and accessible tools for executing effective strategies to get ahead of and better navigate drug shortages. Ready to see how our platform can help transform how your health system manages and responds to shortages? Contact us today for a demo.


New call-to-action

Post by QuicksortRx on May 29, 2024
QuicksortRx provides timely, transparent, and actionable guidance to help health systems make better pharmacy procurement decisions.