Supply Chain Management During a Medical Surge: How Hospitals Can Work Together

by | Aug 11, 2020


An earlier version of this post was published April 1, 2020.

Whether your health system is experience a rising or falling number of COVID-19 patients, most health systems face higher patient volumes with the addition of seasonal illness. Fall 2020, expected to stack the usual influenza cases on top of COVID-19 uncertainty, will require the utmost coordination, preparedness and response to ensure sufficient inventory of protective equipment (PPE), test kits, medications, equipment and other medical supplies.

In addition to manufacturers working to ramp up production, hospitals need efficient ways of working with other hospitals, community partners and other care facilities to reallocate supplies as necessary so they are available when and where needed.

Monitor closely and redistribute supplies regionally

Many of our customers closely track supply shortages by using the LiveProcess system to document and share information across their health systems, regional coalitions, public health agencies and community partners.

An east coast health system emergency management team is using a LiveProcess event log to share critical information from the barrage of daily and weekly announcements that impact the medical supply chain, such as state guidance on COVID-19; FDA emergency use authorizations for medical equipment, PPE, tests and treatments, and drug shortage responses; and critical updates from community partners. Within the health system, each hospital posts its own inventory, including any reallocations from the corporate office, and keeps a running log of items needed and items in stock at each facility.

A California emergency healthcare coalition uses LiveProcess to track inventory throughout its county, filling gaps in supplies by reallocating them to the area of greatest need. As PPE and medical surge equipment is allocated from the coalition warehouse to a participating healthcare facility, all items are logged into the LiveProcess system to ensure a current count of what is sent to the facility and what inventory remains available for reallocation.

With LiveProcess, health systems have instant access to critical information about current inventory levels and urgent demand for supplies — and can coordinate distribution of supplies to other facilities.

Manage locally and share across health systems, coalitions, agencies and partners

LiveProcess scales to manage situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, because an all-in-one virtual command center allows healthcare facilities to manage any situation locally and share information globally across health systems and with coalitions, public agencies and regional partners.

“This is an area where LiveProcess really sings — in a large-scale crisis and subsequent patient surge,” said a LiveProcess customer in Texas.

Push out the latest guidance, such how to manage hospital supply chain shortfalls

The use of LiveProcess to work closely with local or regional health coalitions, public health officials, and other emergency response agencies could help reduce the need for crisis measures — and keep both patients and healthcare staff safer.

Unite clinical, operational and environmental staff in and beyond your health system

LiveProcess Aware enables health systems to connect, coordinate and collaborate across departmental, organizational and geographic boundaries — consistently and in real time for proactive situation management. Health systems are able to aggregate information across departments and facilities to gain high-level, centralized situational awareness for effective decision-making that serves the entire enterprise. Accessible from any device, Aware allows users to understand what’s going on at every moment and use that information to mitigate risk, transforming how health systems respond to diverse events.

To learn more about LiveProcess Aware, please visit

Resources for hospital supply chain management in pandemics

20 stories on how coronavirus has affected the healthcare supply chain (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Latest news and in-depth articles on the healthcare supply chain (Healthcare Finance)

Supply Chain Creativity During COVID-19 (SupplyChain Management Review)

How Providers, Suppliers Aim to Shore Up the Healthcare Supply Chain (RevCycle Intelligence)

What COVID-19 has changed for hospital supply chains (Ohio State University)

Evolving U.S. healthcare Needs and Attitudes During COVID-19, Survey Results (Health IT Outcomes)

Hospital leaders have options to help their supply chains during the coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus Pushes More Hospitals to Share Data About Inventories of Protective Gear (NPR)

Next steps

Explore more resources for emergency preparedness:

Explore the COVID-19 resource center.

Get a CMS emergency preparedness checklist for healthcare facilities.

Read a customer story about collaboration in a regional healthcare coalition.

Read a customer story about a health system preparing for the Ebola epidemic.

Learn about updates to the CMS emergency preparedness rule, including emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) and pandemics.

terry-zysk-100x100Terry Zysk, CEO of LiveProcess, has more than two decades of experience in leading organizations that provide innovative solutions to the healthcare industry.

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