ECRI Blog

4 Ways to Manage the Tracheostomy Tube Shortage

In one of the latest challenges for the embattled healthcare supply chain, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reported that there is now a shortage of tracheostomy tubes, especially pediatric tracheostomy tubes.

"This supply chain disruption disproportionally affects the pediatric population due to the already limited number of products available for this patient population and the spike in cases of respiratory illnesses in children," says Jillian Hillman, ECRI's senior manager, Functional Equivalents - Device Evaluation.

To help reduce the burden on healthcare providers and promote patient safety, ECRI has issued this functional equivalents report. ECRI will offer updated guidance as this situation unfolds.

The shortage includes the Bivona® tracheostomy tubes manufactured by ICU Medical. The shortage may be related to difficulties in getting the raw materials needed to make the tracheostomy tubes. 

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Topics: Supply Chain

How to Prepare for and Manage Supply Chain Disruptions in Healthcare

Healthcare organizations are some of the most complex and critical in the world. Supply chain disruptions in healthcare can have a ripple effect on patients, staff, and the community at large. So, whether you are running a health system, hospital network, aging services facility, or ambulatory care center, supply chain disruptions are crucial to understanding your organization as a whole. 

A supply chain is a complex network of individuals and companies that design, manufacture, distribute, and consume healthcare products. Because supply chains are so complex, it's easy for disruptions to occur. Some disruptions are due to labor strikes, transportation issues such as weather-related traffic jams or port closures, supplier bankruptcies, and product recalls. Other reasons could be that a company is sourcing products from a region that's experiencing political instability or if they rely on a limited number of suppliers. 

This can leave you without the necessary supplies or medications that you need to provide the level of care your patients deserve. That being said, there are ways that providers and healthcare facilities can prepare for these disruptions. If you're looking to navigate supply chain changes more effectively, keep reading for tips on preparedness and management strategies you can employ.

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Topics: Supply Chain

Functional Equivalents for Surgical Staplers: See ECRI's List Here

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.

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Topics: Supply Chain

The Role of Supply Chain in Healthcare

Posted by Edward Nuber, Director of Marketing, ECRI on Aug 30, 2022

Supply chains are frequently discussed, but what is their role in delivering safe and effective care across hospitals, aging care services, and ambulatory care facilities? Awareness of supply chains increased during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the fact that lockdowns were being implemented globally, slowing down the manufacturing of new products, and interrupting the import and export of goods. Supply chains play a role in every industry, but those in healthcare might not have the in-depth understanding of supply chains that they should. No matter what type of health facilities you operate or healthcare services you offer, let's take a closer look at what roles the healthcare supply chain plays in your organization.

What is a healthcare supply chain?

A healthcare supply chain refers to the network of systems, companies, and individuals involved in the healthcare industry and health services. From the raw production of ingredients necessary to make medications to the prescription drugs actually given to patients, everyone plays a role in the healthcare supply chain. Supply chains feature a range of global players, and planning plays a major role in ensuring that everything is operating smoothly. This is why, when faced with a serious illness like COVID-19 that prevented healthcare products from being produced or delivered, the supply chain was able to be impacted so easily. Without the supply chain, the healthcare industry would simply not function.

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Topics: Supply Chain

RECALL: Palindrome and Mahurkar Hemodialysis Catheters and How to Find Alternative Products

Recently, Covidien, LLC, a subsidiary of Medtronic, recalled Palindrome and Mahurkar hemodialysis catheters due to a catheter hub defect. Once again, we are reminded that patient safety and supply chain are not separate parts of healthcare that should function independently of each other. Rather, their interdependence is vital to increasing patient safety and optimizing clinical outcomes; creating efficient, safe, and successful working environments; and maintaining the fiscal viability of healthcare facilities, be they large or small, private or public.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought this simmering issue to the surface, and healthcare provider organizations are getting smarter about preparing for the unexpected and strengthening their supply chains. ECRI has long offered such advice and support, and we continue to expand and strengthen our guidance, specifically in the area of providing trustworthy, independent functional equivalent information and  vendor information that is available quickly, easily, and cost-effectively—most importantly, it’s reliable information.

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Topics: Supply Chain

ECRI Experts Support Healthcare Supply Chain Professionals at the Upcoming AHRMM Conference

In today’s challenging healthcare market, it’s important to take opportunities to learn all you can to advance patient care, outcomes, and financial stability in your organization.

ECRI is proud to be an in-person exhibitor (booth 421) at the Association for Health Care Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM) conference August 7 to 10 in Anaheim, CA. to support healthcare supply chain professionals.

ECRI’s own Reggie Jackson will be a featured speaker on the topic: How Inconclusive Clinical Evidence Creates Opportunity For Physician Engagement.

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Topics: Supply Chain

3 Ways ECRI’s New Functional Equivalents Report Will Help YOU Master Supply Chain Disruptions

The supply chain issues of the last couple years show little signs of improving. Production slowdowns or stoppages, worker shortages, escalating costs, transportation issues, war, weather and other difficulties will continue. But what is improving is the ability of those in the healthcare sector to better plan for expected and unexpected challenges.

Buzz words such as cross functional integration in supply chain management and equipment equivalency guidelines or functional equivalence examples, are now part of the vernacular. And that’s a good thing; it means we’ve learned from the challenging experiences of the pandemic, and we are now better prepared to continue to navigate COVID-19, Monkey-pox, natural disasters, or whatever other hardships come our way.

A key trait shared by the healthcare facilities that have best learned how to navigate today’s supply chain is a willingness to do things differently, to partner with supply chain leaders, such as ECRI, or with “sister facilities” and even competitors. These partnerships have led to greater knowledge, insights, resource sharing, and support than ever before. And, organizations are refining and formalizing guidance.

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Topics: Supply Chain

ECRI Helps You Manage GE Healthcare Omnipaque Contrast Dye Shortages

Posted by Edward Nuber, Director of Marketing, ECRI on May 24, 2022

As with personal protective equipment (PPE), infant formula, and toilet paper, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause supply chain disruptions—this time causing an Omnipaque shortage. The contrast dye shortage has resulted in reduction and/or delays of the availability of Omnipaque (Iohexol) and Visipague (Idixonal).

These contrast dyes are needed for some imaging tests, including computed tomography (CT scans), which are often used to help diagnose tumors, investigate internal bleeding, or check for other internal injuries or damage and computed tomography angiography (CTA scans), often used in emergency cases, including diagnosis of strokes, aneurysms, and for cardiovascular procedures. During imaging tests, the dyes create contrast in body parts and fluids, making it easier to read scans and diagnose illness and conditions.

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Topics: Supply Chain

Abbott Infant Formula Shortage: 3 ECRI Recommendations

Posted by Edward Nuber, Director of Marketing, ECRI on May 18, 2022

Infant formula shortage is all over the news. The White House is taking emergency actions, while mothers, fathers and families are feeling the brunt of the shortage.  

On February 17, 2022, Abbott initiated a proactive, voluntary recall of powder formulas, including Similac, Alimentum and EleCare manufactured in Sturgis, Michigan, because of possible Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella Newport contamination.

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Topics: Supply Chain

Five Ways Value Analysis and Supply Chain Leaders Can Improve Transparency

Today’s value analysis leaders face tall orders. They need to focus on process improvements, utilize and embrace digital advancements, and provide greater transparency and visibility during new product evaluation and product standardization requests. Having access to the right combination of tools and information can empower them to accomplish these objectives as they work to balance cost, quality, and outcome goals.

Many of ECRI’s value analysis members confirm the need to support and drive greater transparency in their own value analysis programs. Adding greater visibility can make others feel connected and more actively involved and responsible during the decision-making process. It also provides an opportunity to shape a more integrated clinical support system–one that helps drive evidence-based decisions on new products, technology, and capital projects. Finally, greater visibility can break down silos and alleviate communication barriers, most often common when working across multiple, diverse departments.

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Topics: Supply Chain

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