ECRI Blog

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

Use a Predictive Replacement Plan to Create a Better Capital Replacement Process—and Include these 6 Questions

We all know the adage, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. It can even apply to your hospital’s capital budget planning exercise.

Capital requests include both replacement items for existing equipment and new or additional purchases, and the process tends to move quickly. Unfortunately, the loudest voices usually get the bulk of the available capital dollars, and smaller departments often are left out.

A Predictive Replacement Plan, or PRP, can streamline this process and provide objective recommendations regarding the replacement of capital equipment in a systemic manner.

A PRP is a deep dive into the capital medical inventory of a health care institution which is then used to develop and coordinate an unbiased 5 or 10-year replacement schedule, based on multiple objective factors, including organizational goals and patient needs. It is not based solely on the age of the equipment or the subjective desire or influence of a department director or physician. A PRP is based on multiple objective factors including device recall data, OEM support, part availability from OEM and aftermarket sources, changing technologies, device utilization, and clinical needs of the clinician.

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Topics: Supply Chain

PPE Mask Checklist for Better Omicron Protection: Wear This, Not That

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

In the halls of government, school board meetings, and neighborhood shopping centers across the world, debates continue about the value of masking for protection against COVID-19 infections. But ECRI experts and other healthcare leaders stress that now is no time to let our guard down nor shed our PPE masks.

Rather, let’s take what we’ve learned about PPE during this pandemic, and use it to better protect ourselves against COVID-19’s omicron variant, which is estimated to be two to four times more contagious than earlier strains of the virus. We know that masks work, wearing a mask reduces the speed of virus transmission, and not all masks are created equal.

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Topics: Supply Chain

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