Supply Chain Stress Negatively Impacts Patient Care

by Ruth Seeley

An online survey of more than 300 clinicians and hospital supply chain decision makers indicates two-thirds of clinical staff are frustrated by supply chain issues and that frustration can hurt both patient care and add to job dissatisfaction.

The Fourth Annual Cardinal Health Hospital Supply Chain Survey concluded that 20% of clinicians and 25% of those managing supply chains say supply chain tasks “stress them out.”

“The burden on clinicians of non-value-added supply chain tasks creates a host of other issues in healthcare organizations. Most critically, it pulls clinical focus away from patients and adds to existing stress on the staff when retention and satisfaction is already a concern,” said Lori Walker, vice president of Distribution Services at Cardinal Health. “Unfortunately, many doctors and nurses feel that solving these problems is outside of their span of control, which further affects job satisfaction.”

Two out of three (67%) respondents have observed clinical staff frustration caused by supply-related issues, including:

  • Missing supplies – three quarters (74%) of frontline providers say looking for supplies that should be at hand (but aren’t) has the most negative impact on their workplace productivity, and even more department managers (84%) say the same;
  • Manual tasks – 49% of frontline providers report manually counting and tracking supplies with nearly half (46%) of frontline providers saying this has a “very” or “somewhat” negative impact on their workplace productivity;
  • Utilization – 70% of respondents noted wasting and overutilization of supplies as a significant or somewhat significant problem within the organization, with a higher percentage among department managers (81%);
  • An overwhelming 94% of those surveyed recognize supply chain management’s strong correlation to financial success, but expectations of medical and surgical distributors are increasing. Respondents are looking to their distributor to play a bigger role in ensuring the organization’s seamless operational performance, with 88% saying this capability is “very” or “somewhat” important. This is especially true among those closest to the supply chain process, with 71% of supply chain personnel describing this as “very” important.

Another important factor according to the majority of respondents (85%) is that they prefer to work with a distributor that makes recommendations for their organization that puts patient care front and center.     

Source: Cardinal Health

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