Supply chain resilience has become a key concept in healthcare today. This is because the pandemic (and the post-pandemic) realities of securing necessary supplies have proven to be problematic. More and more often, electrophysiology lab managers are seeing backorders or limited availability for key devices used in electrophysiology procedures.

Such disruptions are devastating to the EP lab: If a key mapping catheter is missing, the procedure either has to be cancelled, or the physician has to use a different device, possibly a device s/he is not as familiar with. In summary, sources of supply chain vulnerability in US healthcare today include:

  • Broken international supply channels: Shipments from, for example China, are delayed.
  • Ports backed up: Devices may have arrived in the port but have not made it to the healthcare facility.
  • Supply shortage: A limited number of devices are available.
  • Backorders: Devices are unavailable for an unspecified amount of time.
  • Component shortages: Domestic manufacturers cannot deliver because they are missing key components, such as microchips.
  • Product recalls: Manufacturers recall sold products due to an identified problem.

How did healthcare end up in such a terrible spot? And how can the situation be repaired? For years, healthcare facilities have been under cost pressure, as suppliers have increased prices and introduced new technologies, often of proprietary designs that do not allow switching to other suppliers’ products. Efforts to improve delivery models through staff reductions and cost efficiency changes have proven to be insufficient to offset these. Many healthcare facilities have been successful in reducing costs in the supply chain, but it has come at a significant cost in terms of the sustainability and resilience of the supply chain. . .

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