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Shifting COVID-related supply shortages

January 19, 2021

2021 is bringing about a new set of challenges for the healthcare supply chain. Vaccinations are beginning to rollout, and at the same time, COVID-19 cases are increasing.

Premier, Inc. has just released analysis of both historic and predictive data from its supply chain forecasting technology. In their analysis, they identify the current healthcare supply categories at risk- shortages are shifting from personal protective equipment (PPE) to supplies for COVID-19 diagnostics, testing and treatment.

The report shows that since May 2020, the volume of open purchase orders in healthcare facilities has tripled. The average daily usage of sterile water has increased 350%, while inventories have fallen 50% - leaving facilities with an average of three days’ worth of supplies on hand. Daily usage for surgical masks, N95 respirators, exam gloves, isolation gowns and other vital PPE is currently at an all-time high.

Other key points in the report include:

  • Exam glove usage has doubled since June 2020 – this now exceeds existing production capacity by 37%
    • A recent Premier member survey revealed that nitrile exam gloves were the second greatest challenge to care for COVID-19 patients  (following difficulty with clinical staffing)
  • Surgical mask usage has increased 250% since June 2020
  • N95 respirator usage has increased 500% since July 2020
  • Isolation gown usage has doubled from September 2020 to January 2021

Premier's analysis identifies the healthcare supply categories at risk during COVID-19, and depicts how the challenges with sourcing has changed the economic landscape for different types of PPE and medical supplies.

Read the full report from Premier, Inc. here.