Covid-19 healthcare supply chain innovations with NSHA: decision-making for agility and responsiveness
The ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has greatly stressed healthcare systems and their supply chains in Canada and around the world. Measures have been taken to reduce contamination and slow the spread of the disease until effective treatments and vaccines can be found. These physical distancing measures have reduced production and distribution capacities for critical medical and protective goods such as ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers. Massive quantities of these products must be distributed from sourcing points (airports, ports and strategic reserves) to hospitals and nursing homes through a complex network comprised of provincial, regional and local health authorities, warehouses and depots. Health providers are responding with major changes to their supply chain. These changes include adding new COVID‑19 related equipment and supply SKUs, streamlining the distribution of materials and equipment, accepting and managing donated supplies, adding facilities and vehicles to distribution fleets, and a variety of other measures. Due to the rapidly changing current hospital environment and needs, these changes are occurring at unprecedented speed. Best practices, experience, and ad-hoc decision-making is being used to ensure, as much as possible, a seamless integration of these changes. There is an opportunity for researchers to support this process through expert advising and quantitative modelling of the supply chain to ensure agility and responsiveness. Agility and responsiveness will ensure proper distribution of these scarce, overpriced, and critical supplies so that they can reach regions, communities, and hospitals that need them most in a timely fashion.