The Hospital Supply Chain and Infection Prevention


Everyone appreciates the impact the supply chain has on quality of care, cost management and patient experience, but they may not know how to make a change for improvement. Frontline clinicians prioritize the patient's experience, seeing everything they do as a means to providing care, while
service line leaders understand the real-life impact of the supply chain on both patient care and managing costs. Supply chain leaders prioritize savings and investments in value and perceive current supply chain processes positively. By understanding what each stakeholder values most, hospital staff can work together to make improvements that could increase efficiencies and give everyone time back to do what they do best.

Shaden Marzouk, MD, MBA, chief medical officer at Cardinal Health, discusses how infection preventionists (IPs) and clinicians can become a more informed stakeholder in the purchasing process.

Q: Many hospital-based IPs and clinicians have firm preferences about certain products used to combat HAIs, but they may not sit on the institution’s product evaluation and purchasing committee – how can facilities ensure that their opinions are heard and heeded?

A: It’s important that clinicians and the product evaluation and purchasing committee work closely from the beginning to understand the needs and align on key decisions and shared goals. Supply chain data help both clinicians and the institution’s product evaluation and purchasing committee understand how individual product choices can significantly impact the total cost of care delivery. Better data empowers more in-formed decisions when choosing supplies.
Q: How can IPs and clinicians better educate themselves about the hospital supply chain and how it impacts the delivery of patient care?

A: An effective supply chain benefits everyone by allowing frontline clinicians more time to focus on patient care, reducing waste, and providing greater visibility and insight to help drive more informed decisions. To understand how the current supply chain system may impact the delivery of quality care, infection preventionists and clinicians should track how much time physicians and nurses spend manually counting inventory each week, how often expired and recalled product are left on the shelf, how often clinicians don’t have the right supplies on-hand, and when a patient is harmed due to a lack of necessary supplies. There are also resources available, such as the Inventory Management IQ quiz found at, to help hospital staff assess the state of their supply chain.
Q: Outbreaks and pandemics can have a significant impact on the hospital supply chain and affect key commodities such as PPE, Vaccines, etc. – what do IPs and clinicians need to know about working with their hospital purchasing managers and maintaining proper inventory levels?

A: Most hospitals today rely on manual supply chain processes that require intensive staffing to handle multiple, redundant systems. These systems typically lack the data sharing and transparency necessary to provide hospital staff with vital information. Automated technology can deliver supply chain data and analytics to help hospital purchasing managers have real-time visibility into inventory levels at all times. For example, RFID smart cabinets and smart wands automatically count inventory in real-time and then transmit the data to a cloud-based online dash-board that analyzes inventory usage trends over time.
Q: What can IPs and clinicians do to help support an institution-wide effort at watching costs while having access to the best products for exceptional patient care outcomes? And how can they help the C-suite understand their concerns about HAIs and getting the products they want?

A: The best supply chain supports clinicians and infection preventionists in delivering the best patient care while also reducing waste. Today many physicians want to know their own cost per case, how their supply chains compare to peers with similar case types and the potential for safe, effective and less expensive alternatives. Of course, the product leading to the best clinical outcome for the patient should be the consideration, but when there is equivalency in outcomes, price may be a consideration.


Related Videos
Jill Holdsworth, MS, CIC, FAPIC, CRCST, NREMT, CHL
Jill Holdsworth, MS, CIC, FAPIC, CRCSR, NREMT, CHL, and Katie Belski, BSHCA, CRCST, CHL, CIS
Baby visiting a pediatric facility  (Adobe Stock 448959249 by
Antimicrobial Resistance (Adobe Stock unknown)
Anne Meneghetti, MD, speaking with Infection Control Today
Patient Safety: Infection Control Today's Trending Topic for March
Infection Control Today® (ICT®) talks with John Kimsey, vice president of processing optimization and customer success for Steris.
Picture at AORN’s International Surgical Conference & Expo 2024
Infection Control Today and Contagion are collaborating for Rare Disease Month.
Related Content