While COVID-19 has waned, it has not yet disappeared. Schools, community leaders, and healthcare providers continue to closely “watch the numbers” to ascertain local infection rates and take actions and precautions accordingly. While they do that, business leaders, especially those in the healthcare industry, continue to watch another indicator—the supply chain and its disruptions.
In addition to the pandemic, several other forces have continued to disrupt the supply chain. Recent labor strikes, worker shortages, production slow-downs or stoppages, and war continue to impact the supply chain. To date, the healthcare industry and general public have experienced shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE), baby formula, and now surgical staplers.
Ethicon-Johnson & Johnson Surgical Technologies, a source for surgical staplers, recently identified unprecedented disruptions due to raw materials, packaging, and labor shortages. The company is said to be prioritizing procedure-critical devices, but cautioned that there could be delayed delivery times for items from their endomechanical portfolio. The company also noted that there is currently no quality issue with their surgical staplers, only a supply chain issue.
Functional equivalents list
As supply chains continue to struggle to meet demands, ECRI has provided information and functional equivalents lists to facilitate strategic supply management, global sourcing information and general guidance regarding pricing, quality, functionality, and availability of medical devices, PPE, and other industry-used items. ECRI, as it has in other instances, assists clients and the industry by providing a list of functional equivalents (FEs) for the Ethicon products.
ECRI has significant expertise about surgical staplers in general. ECRI has noted in the past that surgical staplers (in general, not manufacturer-specific models) are among items that can harm patients when used incorrectly. ECRI listed surgical staplers as its #1 Hazard in the 2020 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list and has provided additional guidance about precautions and best practices.
Get prepared for supply chain issues
In addition to FEs lists, ECRI experts are available to assist clients with guidance related to this and other supply chain issues. The team is particularly skilled at helping clients fortify their supply chains in preparation for disruptions—before they happen.
For more information about how ECRI can help you manage supply chain issues, visit www.ecri.org/supply-chain-disruption-in-healthcare.