Nurses Face Severe Challenges With Supply Chain Issues

A new survey conducted by Sage Growth Partners revealed that a vast majority of nurses feel overwhelmed with supply management tasks and are looking for better software tools to help alleviate the burden. The survey reached out to over 100 nurses – 50 nurse leaders and 50 front-line nurses – and asked them a series of question to find out how supply chain issues are affecting their performance and the quality of their department.

The survey asked respondents to give insights into several challenges they face with supply chain issues, and what effects these issues are having, from morale to patient safety to profitability. As this article by Carol Davis at HealthLeaders explains:

“Of 100 nurses surveyed—50 nurse leaders and 50 frontline nurses—in February, 86% said they leave procedures to hunt for supplies at least occasionally, according to the report.

Some 25% said they don’t always check product expiration or recall information, which increases risk of patient safety issues; 48% attributed this to lack of time.

Frontline nurses were more likely than nurse leaders to report frequent supply shortages, with nearly 10% more of them saying they occur often or occasionally, according to survey results.

The report also revealed a disconnect between nurse leaders and frontline nurses regarding how often nurses check product expiration and recall information prior to opening an item. While 84% of nurse leaders said their teams always check this information, only 66% of frontline nurses said they always check.

Other findings from the survey include:

Nurses encounter significant supply chain documentation problems

  • 80% of nurses said they want more supply chain automation tools
  • 95% said inaccurate physician preference cards decrease their efficiency
  • 65% said their current supply documentation system is too time consuming

Supply chain problems take a significant toll on nurse stress and burnout

  • 86% said their supply chain documentation system causes them stress
  • 33% said hospital leadership is not working hard to reduce OR nurse stress
  • 18% said they have considered leaving their current role due to supply chain problems

Supply chain problems result in excess waste and lower margins

  • 76% of nurses said supply shortages are common, and 23% said that the greatest impact of this is reduced revenue

  • 33% lack access to waste-reduction tools such as barcode scanning

  • 12% said their OR wastes supplies in more than 25% of cases”

Read the article at: New Survey Reveals How Hospital Supply Chains Affect Nurses, Patient Safety, and Margins

As the article states, nurses are typically facing major issues with their hospital’s supply chain, leading to negative effects on job satisfaction, patient safety and profitability. One way healthcare providers can improve their nurses’ experience with the supply chain is to give them access to some of the more cutting-edge systems that are taking on inventory management challenges in hospitals. For example, RFID-based systems such as iRISupply supply and implant tracking software, can provide high quality data by integrating RFID data capture technology into the supply chain. This reduces the manual effort required to perform supply chain-related tasks, such as documenting usage, checking for expirations and re-ordering inventory. This also drastically cuts down on stock-outs and increases transparency of product location, reducing many headaches for nurses. With nurses playing such a vital role in today’s healthcare delivery model, it’s extremely important for hospital executives to provide them with the right tools to succeed in their jobs.