As discussed in the previous section, the ability to increase capacity is limited by several factors including the availability of space and critical supplies. To better understand how the practice performed, these provisions can be thought of in several large categories Facility – space, beds, and equipment
- Facility – space, beds, and equipment
- Supplies – ordinary medical supplies, sanitation supplies, and PPE
- Medication – prescription drugs
- Testing – test kits or testing supplies
When creating future plans for emergency readiness, the practice should evaluate how these provisions were sourced and managed at three different timeframes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thinking about how provisions were planned for prior to the event, in response to the event, and for a future event is essential. Many organizations purchased supplies in advance to increase what they foresaw as critical provisions.
As the volume of supplies was consumed exponentially due to safety protocols and anticipation of higher than expected case counts, these supplies likely ran low or failed. From an organizational planning perspective, understanding these shortages is not about finding fault. It is critical to understand what shortages were created and what were contributing factors.
As provisions were consumed and new provisions were needed, how the organization was able to source and resupply is another critical area for review. It is also important to know and understand how provision consumption was minimized to protect supply.
The final consideration for healthcare organizations to evaluate provisions is how new information and lessons learned can enable future planning and preparedness. This planning does not only include future crisis readiness, but the more immediate continued supply chain issues that can be anticipated. Healthy organizations more quickly emerge from the reactive mode and swiftly move into proactively sourcing provisions. This enables them to be at the front of the line and thus less likely to be impacted in the future. Taking the long-term approach to future planning for disaster readiness means establishing an emergency plan that determines the organization’s strategy for provision stockpiles, reorder points, supplier redundancy, preferred contractual terms with vendors, and emergency protocols to better manage and disperse provisions.
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