How Hospitals Are Preparing for PPE Needs this Fall

How Hospitals Are Preparing for PPE Needs this Fall

Due to COVID-19, PPEs are in high demand across the globe. The WHO has estimated that the world will need around 89 million face masks, 76 million examination gloves, and 1.6 million goggles and visors per month.

While supply chains are probably in a better state now compared to the strain it felt around mid-March, it is still quite certain that there is still work that needs to be done.

For the longest time, the US and the rest of the world have relied on China to produce these crucial PPEs (masks, gowns, gloves, etc.). However, they too are dealing with the same disease now and the government has prompted to impose strict export bans. The Chinese government intends to use its manufactured PPEs for domestic consumption. This has put a huge strain in the overall supply chain which left governments and various healthcare institutions to scramble for an alternative.

Several companies have stepped up to fill some of the demand. Companies such as BMW have pledged to produce face masks to protect their staff and other people against the virus. Several entrepreneurs are also planning to try their luck in producing their version of PPEs but countries such as the US, the Netherlands, Spain, and even Turkey have rejected the importation of the same due to quality grounds.

It’s a good thing that the CDC has released a statement saying that people can now opt to use face masks made of cloth when going out. While cloth masks are not as effective as N95 respirators in preventing transmission of the coronavirus, it is a better option than not wearing one at all. The goal also is to make sure the limited supply of N95 is directed to those who need it the most, the medical workers working in the front lines.

How Hospitals Can Better Manage PPE Supply

Moving forward, it would do healthcare facilities some good to be less reactive and be more assertive instead.

Whereas before, they normally wouldn’t have a problem getting supplies from their trusted distributor, healthcare facilities now find that they’re running out of PPEs faster than their suppliers could deliver their orders.

In line with this, if you’re the one in charge of procurement, actively seek out distributors while you still have a lot of supply in hand. There are dozens of companies stateside who have stepped up to take care bridging this supply gap.
Kara Supply is one of those distributors and they have already proven themselves to be a reliable distributor of crucial PPE. They also have a dedicated sales advisor to guide you throughout the process so that you won’t find yourself lost. Above all, they’re offering their services for a very competitive price.

It is also quite important to check the quality of PPE from your distributor. Counterfeits are common nowadays and some can be bought for a fraction of the average price nowadays. Take note that buying counterfeits is counterproductive if you’re planning to protect yourself, your family, and your entire facility as these are substandard and do not offer protection at all. Don’t hesitate to ask for the necessary FDA/CDC approvals when sourcing out PPEs from your supplier and distributor.

Some procurements specialists have suggested preparing a stockpile good for the next 2 to 3 months. It may seem quite over the top but one can never really be too prepared for a pandemic, right? If the worse indeed happens and the second wave of COVID infections will show up, then at least you’ve already prepared for that.

As supply chains from China are a bit challenging right now, it might also be a good idea to look into domestic PPE manufacturers. While these companies might not be as cheap, you would have peace of mind knowing that the PPEs they produce are on par with FDA/CDC standards. Since they’re also located in the country, logistics problems might also be absent or at least kept to a minimum.

A regional supply chain will not only help you, but it will also help these local producers to gain more of the market share. As their business grows, they will be able to scale up and thus help more similar healthcare institutions meet their PPE needs.

Another avenue that healthcare facilities can look at to better manage their PPE utilization is to take a closer inspection of their existing protocols.

Some medical procedures require gowns, masks, and gloves. These are non-negotiables and no changes could ever be done that would cause an impact with PPE usage however, there might be some existing protocols where you can explore. There might be some instances where one just must wear the same mask for just a bit longer.

Also, if they had not done this yet, healthcare institutions can set up a triage area for suspected COVID-19 patients where you can direct most of your PPEs (gowns, masks, face shields, etc.). This way, the rest of the hospital can be isolated thus there will be less need for everyone to don gowns and PPEs.

This chaotic time is not an excuse to turn a blind eye on your facility’s PPE usage. It’s times like this you have to closely monitor your supplies as these come in a limited number. While your patient’s and staff’s safety are still your priority, it is also quite important to periodically review your facility’s protocols, find areas you can tweak, and ultimately optimizing PPE usage.

It is important to note that COVID-19 is not just a phase. It might be but if no vaccine is ever found, COVID-19 is here to stay, and it is wise to embrace the fact that healthcare institutions will be dealing with it for the years to come. Thus, managing whatever is left of the PPE supply requires a longer time horizon than just looking at it on a temporary demand.