GPOs Taking Steps to Help Hospitals, Healthcare Providers Combat Ebola Virus

The Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA) recently released the findings of a membership survey detailing the actions that healthcare group purchasing organizations (GPOs) are taking to help hospitals, healthcare providers and suppliers prepare to treat the Ebola virus. All GPOs surveyed, including the five largest GPOs, reported taking action to help increase hospital and healthcare provider preparedness.

“GPOs are the sourcing and purchasing partners to virtually all American hospitals, and HSCA-member GPOs are each taking innovative, proactive steps to ensure that hospitals are fully equipped to handle Ebola-related issues,” said HSCA President Curtis Rooney. “From disseminating information on product availability and alternate product sourcing to governmental agency collaboration and 24/7 emergency support, GPOs are committed to enhancing supply chain preparedness so that hospitals can focus on treating and preventing the spread of this disease.”

Specific steps taken by GPOs to respond to hospital need and to help address the Ebola virus have included:

  • Increased communication with members and suppliers to identify product availability and any potential shortages of supplies;
  • Establishment of 24/7 emergency command center;
  • Development of an Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Clinical Resource Guide, which includes guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO);
  • Around-the-clock monitoring of national situation;
  • Collaboration with relevant government agencies at the Federal, state and municipal levels.
In addition, all or multiple GPOs surveyed reported taking the following steps to help address the public health threat of Ebola:

  • Creating a centralized response system;
  • Conducting full-scale exercises of emergency management programs;
  • Working to ensures access to “just-in-time” supply chain products and services;
  • Working with suppliers to identify product shortages or delays and with wholesalers and distributors to identify products in warehouses and potential shortfalls;
  • Keeping members and customers updated on current CDC guidelines;
  • Assessing and augmenting existing preparedness programs;
  • Serving as a clearinghouse of product information, educational programs and treatment protocols.
“Emergency situations such as the recent Ebola crisis and the surge in demand for personal protective equipment following the change in the CDC’s baseline protection recommendations highlight the important role that GPOs play in helping to ensure access to critical products and services for healthcare workers,” added Rooney.

To learn more about HSCA and its GPO members, click here