- The White House Supply Chain Task Force is requesting your help.
- Government and HHS visibility into data on personal protective equipment shortages is critical to solving this issue.
- Only 55% of hospital/health system data is going into the U.S. Healthcare COVID-19 (TeleTracking) portal.
- Hospitals and healthcare systems have a critical role to play in providing data.
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to talk with leaders of the White House Supply Chain Task Force. It was an open and genuine discussion centered on collaboration, logistics and a sincere desire to make things better.
I am proud of the work these folks are doing, although admittedly at one point I felt like the attendee list was the opening line of a joke: “An admiral, a general and a former CFO get on a conference call … .” But solving these problems is no joke and these folks take their jobs very, very seriously.
I had the opportunity to speak with Navy Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, lead of the White House Supply Chain Task Force, and Air Force Brig. Gen. David J. Sanford, deputy director of the supply chain task force, after they read my blog post from last week on shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line healthcare workers. The blog also discussed the need for creative and collaborative solutions to make the situation better.
One of the key issues we discussed was related to the long-term nature of solving these issues. We agreed, as my blog of Aug. 4 suggested, that solving these challenges is not as simple as just throwing a light switch. Instead, it will take a multi-pronged, tiered approach that is refined over time. And it takes data, and it takes cooperation.
Key discussion items
The discussion focused on some key areas:
- Hospitals and health systems must submit data into the U.S. Healthcare COVID-19 (TeleTracking) portal on a daily basis. According to recent data given to Polowczyk and Sanford, only 55% of hospitals and health systems are reporting data.
- The response to the COVID-19 crisis is following a data-driven approach. If data isn’t reported on a daily basis, the government effort cannot adjust tactically to assist.
- The U.S. Healthcare COVID-19 portal is the single source of truth for the national coordinated effort and response. If hospitals and health systems are not reporting into this portal, their data may not be informing the national effort to combat the shortage.
- The national effort is being coordinated with state and local efforts; it is constantly evolving, and federal, state and local agencies are learning from each other to find best possible solutions.
- The national coordinated effort has included sourcing of additional raw materials, increased distribution efforts, data analysis and long-term increases of supplies within the pipeline.
- In addition to the broad-based and long-term efforts, the supply chain task force is also acting strategically when a specific shortage is identified to get PPE to hotspots right away, down to the individual hospital level.
- If the supply chain task force is made aware that a specific organization is having an issue with PPE, they reach out in a coordinated manner to gather data and provide PPE.
The shortage of PPE is not going to get better if we don’t do our part. And yes, they are requesting a significant amount of data, but the reason it is needed is for trending patterns, using predictive analytics to project future shortage areas and for taking a coordinated and targeted approach to direct resources.
Considerations for healthcare executives
A few considerations for healthcare executives:
- I may sound like a broken record, but I can’t emphasize this enough: The U.S. Healthcare COVID-19 (TeleTracking) portal is the single source of truth for the national coordinated effort and response. If you are not reporting into this portal, your data may not be informing the national effort to combat the shortage.
- Making data collection and submission a daily priority will help inform and direct efforts to ensure an adequate supply of PPE is distributed to those in need.
- If you have an immediate COVID-19 supply chain issue or need help filling your organization’s PPE, you can send an email to: Covid.Supplychain@hhs.gov and use: ATTN: Supply Chain PPE Team at the beginning of your email subject line.
Make no mistake, the White House Supply Chain Task Force is a group of compassionate and committed leaders who know how to get things done. They are experts in sourcing, distribution and logistics and are a non-partisan group. Their job, plain and simple, is to get things done and ensure front-line caregivers have the supplies needed, and they are working tirelessly at doing just that.
After speaking with Polowczyk and Sanford, and hearing what they are doing already and have planned for the future — and then how they immediately took action based on some specific organizational concerns I shared, I certainly feel like we are in good hands with them leading the effort.