Pandemic-related supply chain disruption, inflation, Russia’s war in Ukraine, ongoing global manufacturing interruptions, increased costs for raw materials, labor and transportation challenges—all have contributed to today’s difficult landscape. The healthcare supply chain, in particular, has been disrupted in new ways, reinforcing the importance of HealthTrust’s efforts to mitigate drug and supply shortages for our members.
Mitigation strategies for medications
HealthTrust Pharmacy colleagues Christine Dunn, PharmD, Chris French, PharmD, MBA and Chris Little, PharmD, explain how our Supply Interruption Mitigation Strategies (SIMS) program enables the creation of new inventory protections for member facilities against supply interruptions and often sudden and severe price increases.
Launched in 2019, SIMS targets more than 75 medications identified by providers and clinical advisory boards as critical to patient care. Through SIMS, the Pharmacy team maintains a “living list” of products considered critical for members and strategizes with suppliers to ensure enough of these products is always on hand.
Suppliers of SIMS products undergo a rigorous vetting centered on supply chain viability and sustainability. In return for scale, predictable purchasing volumes and sustainable pricing, drug makers commit to manufacturing redundancies and firm prices—important factors that can help insulate members from drug shortages. The Pharmacy Services team is working with manufacturers that demonstrate the capabilities necessary to meet the strict criteria for SIMS inclusion.
Faster knowledge & connected resources
At the height of the pandemic, in addition to assisting members in locating much-needed, quality personal protective equipment (PPE), we established an Alternative Approaches workgroup, providing clinical support in evaluating the feasibility of innovative products, clinical resource documents and summaries of federal guidance on alternative practices such as PPE decontamination. A Supply Disruption Task Force, led by John Young, M.D., MBA, became the next iteration of that work, where transparency among our members, suppliers and distributors informs our strategy to achieve a more agile and resilient approach to current and future critical supply disruptions.
I’m pleased to announce the launch of a new feature within our secure member portal dedicated to providing members real-time updates to category disruptions. The site will offer detailed information such as reasons for and potential timelines to recovery; alternative product options—both traditional alternatives and the feasibility of innovative products to solve a given challenge; and clinical education and guidance, including conservation and alternative approaches. Members will have the opportunity to follow and track a particular product of interest, with push notifications informing them of key updates regarding availability and/or continued delays.
This proactive approach to faster knowledge and connected resources offers a level of transparency that enables decision-making for members by aggregating data from our supplier and distributor partners as well as from HealthTrust’s Strategic Sourcing, Clinical Operations and Account Management teams.
We stand firm in our commitment to proactively providing the HealthTrust membership with actionable information and alternative products and approaches related to these ongoing challenges. As always, please do not hesitate to let us know how we can best serve you.
Publisher, The Source magazine