Future of Health Care: How Supply Chain Challenges Are Impacting the Top Issues Facing CEOs in 2022


Our health care and logistics business development team recently authored this article, which was featured on WTOP.com in March.

A ‘new normal’ is taking shape as we approach the two-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic here in the United States.

CEOs in healthcare expect to adapt to COVID-19 and unstable supply chains. Recently, WHO noted a new variant combining Delta and Omicron genes. Hospitals shift from JIT to “just-in-case” purchasing.

In 2022, COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions are expected to further strain hospitals and their staff.. More CEOs seek to fortify hospitals for future crises, aiming to transform healthcare delivery systems into resilient entities.

Healthcare Executives Annual Survey

The American College of Healthcare Executives’ 2021 survey of 310 CEOs highlighted their top three challenges facing hospitals:

  • Personnel shortages (e.g., registered nurses, technicians, physicians, etc.)
  • Financial challenges (e.g., increasing costs for staff and supplies, etc.)
  • Patient safety and quality (e.g.. engaging physicians in improving the culture of quality/safety)

During the pandemic, healthcare systems struggled with supply chain shortages, including N95 masks, gloves, gowns, ventilators, and medical equipment.

Top 3 Challenges

Hospital CEOs are concerned about how these issues affect their top three challenges identified for 2022:

  • Personnel shortages – Severe shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) forced health care workers to reuse gowns, gloves and N95 masks several times. Even though this equipment was designed for single use. Reusing unclean equipment during the pandemic heightened stress and anxiety for healthcare workers, adding to the toll. These already stressful jobs contributed to employee burnout and the subsequent departure of experienced health care workers during the pandemic.
  • Financial challenges – Before the pandemic, hospitals favored lean, just-in-time inventories to meet immediate needs and cut supply chain costs. Moreover, the pandemic boosted global demand for PPE, disrupting the supply chain and raising raw material and finished goods prices.. These additional costs, along with the additional costs incurred to acquire these supplies, cascaded to health care providers and added to existing margin pressures during the pandemic. 
  • Patient safety and quality – Global supply chain disruptions resulting from COVID-related manufacturing disruptions in overseas countries, the backlog of cargo ships waiting to be unloaded on the West Coast and the nationwide shortage of truck drivers lengthened the normal time to source some supplies by as much as three times the normal delivery interval and put an enormous strain on the health care system, threatening to adversely impact patient care, safety and quality.

Shifts in Operations

Hospitals and health systems are experiencing a shift in operations as the health care sector moves toward a more resilient post-pandemic posture. In this example cited by the American Hospital Association, hospitals and health care facilities are doubling their on-hand quantities of isolation gowns and exam gloves, and have increased their supply of N95 respirator masks by ten-fold, bringing the average supply on hand up from the pre-pandemic 23-day supply to 200 days.  Just-in-time and lean inventory management strategies are being reevaluated to better predict and prepare for daily operations and demand surges. Lastly, health systems collaborate with third-party logistics providers to outsource distribution, warehousing, and delivery services, reducing supply chain risks.


CEOs of companies in the health care sector will undoubtedly consider and apply the lessons of the past two years as they look to transform their hospitals and health care facilities into more resilient health care delivery systems capable of withstanding future public health crises.

Contact James Boyd at Interstate Moving | Relocation | Logistics at 703.499.6171 or at James.Boyd@invan.com to find out how Interstate’s relocation and supply chain management solutions can make your health care delivery system more resilient.

Or visit our healthcare logistics page at MoveInterstate.com/Healthcare.

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