The importance of the relationship between infection prevention and supply chain
Supply chain is often the first link in the infection prevention chain, and IP and supply chain should acknowledge that they are operating under the same goals and purpose.
It's imperative for infection prevention and supply chain to collaborate in order to meet the needs of a health care facility and maintain low levels of infection risks. The relationship is a two-way street—both departments need to communicate effectively and deliver on their goals and objectives.
Consider these strategies with working together in your facility:
- Communicate your needs. Are you low on disinfection wipes? Is a manufacturer out of stock on an item needed? Regular correspondence and timely responsiveness will allow each department to better understand the current landscape and make adjustments as necessary as well as convey delays or setbacks as needed.
- Set expectation and manage inventory outlooks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw many of our hospital partners scramble to find surgical masks, disinfection wipes and even UVC disinfection technology because inventory was backed up or slowed due to demand. Those facilities that set realistic expectations for delivery as well as managed inventory outlook saw the greatest success.
- IP should approach supply chain early and often. Although not always recognized as such, supply chain is often the first link in the infection prevention chain. If IP leads the charge and takes ownership of the relationship, then supply chain can be better prepared to meet their needs.
Potential cost savings
Health care facilities can look for ways to improve cost-effectiveness by being creative with purchasing, such as buying items as a bundle with other approved products or in bulk to save on price. Facilities can also consider being part of a group purchasing organization to leverage lower prices. Also, consider the techniques and products used for infection prevention—is what you’re using effective? Is there a better alternative? Perhaps paying a higher price for one item could save money in other areas. As we saw during the pandemic, supply chain and IP both play a critical role in ensuring the best possible patient outcomes, and a collaborative relationship will go a long way in reaching both department’s goals.
If infection and prevention and supply chain cannot work together and maintain a balance relationship, patient outcomes could potentially become compromised. Regardless of which department initiates the relationship, it is imperative that the two work together to ensure the highest levels of cleanliness and disinfection to help curb the spread of infections.
Do you have thoughts on the collaboration between IP and supply chain? Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.