How UPMC responded to global supply shortages early in the pandemic

Creating a "COVID-19 Cart" is among the ways UPMC responded to the global supply shortages experienced during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pittsburgh-based health system revealed in a May 14 blog post.

UPMC said the COVID-19 Cart is a traveling station designed to distribute the correct amounts of medical supplies to each of its hospitals. Each facility was given an allocation of personal protective equipment from the cart, ensuring they all had enough PPE to provide patient care while managing the supply for the entire health system. 

UPMC got an early start to preparing for supply shortages, as it started analyzing the PPE market in December 2019, assessing regional suppliers and production in Asia, the health system wrote in the blog post. Supply chain leaders began meeting each day in February to discuss how to handle the unprecedented global PPE shortages. 

When China shut down PPE exports in March 2020, UPMC was in the process of supplementing its inventory with additional products, the health system said. One N95 mask supplier gave UPMC 200 percent of its historic allocation, but the health system found that it surpassed 600 percent of its historic use in the first month alone. 

UPMC said that the strength of its supply team's connections with their suppliers was key to ensuring the health system received the supplies it needed, as well as working with diverse vendors. 

Read UPMC's full blog post here

 

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