Saluting the resilience of COVID-19 Changemakers

June 25, 2020
Providers, suppliers push through pandemic-related logistics clogs and voids

The rapid spread of COVID-19 may have depleted the availability of disinfection products, PPE and testing products more quickly than anticipated in any crisis/disaster plan for pandemic response, but that hasn’t dampened the resolve of healthcare Supply Chain professionals or the suppliers that fulfill device, equipment and service contracts.

Because Supply Chain touches everyone and everything (in some way or another) the function and profession have endured heavy criticism for the shortages and otherwise lack of availability of certain products needed to cope and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ongoing debate simmers on whether COVID-19-ignited supply chain problems originated in Supply Chain or perhaps emerged from somewhere else – for example, whoever maintains oversight of the demand chain. Since March, healthcare organizations have come to realize and accept that logistical planning for demand during a pandemic now proves to be way more complicated and intricate than planning for demand after a weather-driven or terrorist-caused crisis/disaster.

It’s no secret that products designed to diagnose COVID-19 (e.g., tests and test kits, etc.), and those designed to protect the healthy from the sick while helping the sick heal (e.g., gloves, masks, respirators and ventilators, etc.) have been depleted by a demand surge from outside the healthcare industry – namely, the consumers who binge-bought pallets of disinfectants, hand sanitizers, gloves, masks, toilet paper, etc.

Going forward, it’s conceivable to expect that binge-buying by a panicked public will be incorporated centrally into any crisis and disaster planning protocols going forward.

Even before the Defense Production Act recruited corporations in other industries to switch their production methods to make a variety of out-of-stock items, a fresh option emerged that apparently hadn’t resonated on anyone’s radar. A growing number of colleges and high schools, awards/trophy retail outlets and others, armed with 3-D printers, started crafting such products as face shields and respirator masks. Others have been sewing and stitching cloth masks. Even breweries and distilleries leapt into action by producing hand santizer, sometimes in clever packaging like cans and kegs. Despite the pressure and tension, Supply Chain remains a resilient bunch.

A growing number of supply chain teams creatively have pushed forward through these challenges with innovative ideas and partnerships that have helped clinicians to deliver the care needed for patients to heal, whether it involves evaluating, ordering, storing, distributing, reprocessing or otherwise contributing to the identification, selection, acquisition and efficient usage of products.

Such ideas and partnerships include working with local organizations to make PPE or joining online exchanges to trade for supplies in real-time. Healthcare Purchasing News (HPN) sought to collect as many of these innovative ideas and partnerships to highlight as examples of ingenuity in action in real time. HPN reached out to more than 50 provider and supplier organizations, which added another 25 provider organizations, to share anecdotes, examples or stories in their own words about providers or suppliers finding success and defying defeat. Here are their triumphs highlighted in four ways: Challenge(s) faced; Solution(s) derived; Influential, instrumental leaders; and Prepped for tomorrow.

Ramping up supply tech to amp up clinical delivery

Organization: BD
Nominator: Thomas Utech, Vice President Integrated Solutions and Global Marketing, BD

Many hospitals have been forced to expand rapidly to care for COVID-19 patients, and BD has been there to help. Never has the BD mission to advance the world of health been so critical, as many of our associates are on the front lines helping hospitals and health systems deliver care to the patients and communities they serve.

BD teams are going the extra mile to bring critical products to frontline providers. This is not business as usual, and BD associates are answering the call, standing up new facilities in days rather than weeks or months.

Challenge(s) faced, solution(s) delivered:

  • After New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked hospitals to increase capacity by 50 percent, BD helped one of Brooklyn’s largest medical centers and others install instruments for their expanded ICUs.
  • In Chicago, BD supplied BD Pyxis MedStation systems to McCormick Place, the nation’s largest convention center, which the Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois National Guard transformed into an alternate hospital.
  • In Perth, Australia, BD helped a state government hospital set up, test and train staff on BD Pyxis MedStation systems and BD Pyxis Anesthesia Stations. BD is also relocating BD Pyxis towers, fridge monitors and auxiliary units to the new clinics.
  • In the UK, BD supported an urgent installation of BD Pyxis MedStation systems for new wards in Birmingham to accommodate the influx of new COVID-19 patients. This work was critical to prepare for the safety of the patients who were expected to become sick.
  • These team efforts have produced incredible results. For the McCormick Place COVID-19 field hospital, contracts were negotiated, and BD Pyxis MedStation systems manufactured, shipped and installed in a week.
  • In Los Angeles, BD provided necessary equipment to support a surge hospital at the recently closed St. Vincent Medical Center.
  • That time was matched for a 250-bed field hospital in Novi, MI, ensuring the facility would have all BD Pyxis MedStation systems ready on April 24 for their first patients.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Many BD associates have worked days, nights, and weekends to complete these projects. They have been helping customers make face shields at home to protect frontline, distribution center and manufacturing site associates from the virus, and performing countless other tasks—large and small—to get these urgently needed facilities up and running.

Regardless of the city or region where these pop-up ICUs and hospital expansions are launching, BD teams have succeeded with determination, innovative thinking and positive attitudes.

BD associates have collaborated closely to provide an unbroken chain of support. Sales and global customer service teams are identifying customer needs and scheduling installations. Product assembly lines are ramping up production to meet demand. Contract teams are developing new processes to reduce complexity, expedite approvals and accelerate shipping.

From there, transportation and logistics teams are pulling all-nighters to plan, pack and transport BD products around the nation. Many trucks are being staffed with multiple drivers to keep them on the road and get these critical supplies to their destinations as quickly as possible.

At the end of the chain, clinical care groups are developing product set-up protocols, and integration engineering and field service teams are overseeing testing, troubleshooting and installation.

Prepped for tomorrow

“Our teams are rapidly implementing new projects – without complaint – with just a few hours’ notice. Despite these challenges, they have maintained the highest standards, ensuring all BD technologies are working when patients need them most,” said Mike Garrison, BD Worldwide President, Medication Management Solutions. “Regardless of where these pop-up hospitals are located, cross-team efforts ensured their timely launch. Their can-do attitude – inspired by the frontline healthcare workers they are supporting – is helping ramp up the COVID-19 response across the nation.”

Demand swell drives manufacturing, production surge

Organization: Clorox Professional Products Co.
Nominator: Chris Tucker, Vice President and General Manager, Clorox

Challenge(s) faced

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we faced an unprecedented surge in demand for our essential disinfecting products. In fact, almost overnight, demand surged to 500 percent for some of our disinfecting products.

Solution(s) derived

To meet the unprecedented demand amidst COVID-19, we took the following measures to increase capacity:
  • Running our cleaning and disinfecting product plants 24/7
  • Re-focusing our plants on manufacturing disinfecting products that can be supplied most quickly
  • Accessing additional third-party supply

In addition to these efforts, we prioritized increasing our hospital-grade bleach supply by four times for healthcare facilities in order to serve the critical need among the healthcare community as well as created a new 55-gallon bleach-drum that we delivered to some of the largest healthcare facilities in the U.S. Each 55-gallon drum cleans up to 14,000 hospital rooms.

As a result of these efforts, we have increased our supply of disinfectants by 40 million units, an increase of more than 40 percent versus the same period last year. We are also continuing to identify efforts such as partnering with retailers and making considerable investments to increase capacity for a future surge in demand.

Influential, instrumental leaders

We could not have done this without our global workforce of 8,800 people who make and ship [and support] our essential disinfecting products. We could not be more grateful for their dedication.

Prepped for tomorrow

As a company, we are focused on doing everything feasible to maximize the supply of disinfecting products to serve consumers, healthcare workers and our communities in the face of demand like we have never before seen. We are applying what we’ve learned from this crisis to be prepared for a surge in demand in the future including considerable investments to increase capacity for the mid-term and beyond.

Deploying 3-D Printing to make essential PPE

Organization: Geisinger
Nominator: Kate Polczynski, Interim Vice President, Enterprise Supply Chain, Geisinger; Joel Lincoln, Senior Regional Director, Premier

Challenge(s) faced

As the crisis created disruption in the market, traditional supply chain channels were strained, and hospitals needed to deploy innovative strategies to meet the new needs COVID-19 presented.

Solution(s) derived

With access to talented minds and innovative technology both at Geisinger and at several prestigious universities nearby, a 3D printing “Maker” community emerged looking for opportunities to help develop creative solutions. These 3D-printed devices, such as masks, face shields and more will be incorporated into the stock available to healthcare providers as traditionally manufactured products are depleted. Some products created through this innovation solved problems we didn’t know existed before COVID-19. For example, this community was able to make things like mask straps created to avoid ear irritation due to extended PPE wear immediately available to caregivers.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Led by Dr. Aalpen Patel, Geisinger’s system director of radiology, internal staff such as Sarah A. Flora, RT (R)(MR)(ARRT), Program Director, 3D Lab, as well Bucknell University and Bloomsburg University, collaborated to procure raw materials, design solutions, and test developed products with input from Infection Control and the Safety & Industrial Hygiene team.

Prepped for tomorrow

Geisinger has already invested in 3D printing, and our capabilities have only grown during this crisis. The creative solutions this technology can present are endless, and this is a program expected to continue.

Developing a central intake process for community donations received

Organization: Geisinger
Nominator: Kate Polczynski, Interim Vice President, Enterprise Supply Chain, Geisinger; Joel Lincoln, Senior Regional Director, Premier

Challenge(s) faced

As Geisinger received an outpouring of generous support from members of the local community, businesses and national supporters, the supplies needed to be received, cataloged and prepared for distribution to our front-line caregivers.

Solution(s) derived

Geisinger Supply Chain developed a streamlined and efficient process to ensure all required documentation took place and supplies quickly progressed from donation through disposition to ensure speed to impact. The specific product details were critical to ensure all donated product was appropriate for use in the health system. Some donations may not have been medical-grade equipment, and in these instances the product was cataloged and evaluated for further donation to community entities who could better utilize the product.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Geisinger deployed the skillsets of the existing Medical Equipment and Recovery program, led by Joe Goyne, Senior Director, Logistics, and Karen Oncay, to develop a centralized intake and distribution process for these donations to ensure each was accounted for, and ultimately able to make a difference for our staff and the community.

Prepped for tomorrow

The use of a centralized distribution center for supplies is a strategy Geisinger has adopted and plans to continue. This allows the Logistics teams to more efficiently leverage economies of scale to meet the supply demands of our system that spans dozens of counties across Pennsylvania.

Redeploying internal staff to support scrub marking, distribution efforts

Organization: Geisinger
Nominator: Kate Polczynski, Interim Vice President, Enterprise Supply Chain, Geisinger; Joel Lincoln, Senior Regional Director, Premier

Challenge(s) faced

To protect its caregivers from potentially exposing their loved ones while returning to home in owned scrubs, Geisinger invested in an expanded laundered scrub program. The infusion of 16,000-plus scrubs required each article be labeled with a unique account number prior to the program, to ensure the scrubs were returned to Geisinger from the laundry service provider.

Solution(s) derived

To assist in the immediate human resource need to manually label this large amount of scrubs, Geisinger utilized its redeployment pool to reassign staff to assist in this important work. The staff redeployed were from various departments across the organization, and each came willing to help complete the task so the caregivers could quickly transition to this new process.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Andrea Wary, Geisinger’s associate vice president of emergency medicine, partnered with Supply Chain logistics to operationalize this new scrub need. Human Resources partner, Julianne Brown, Geisinger’s associate vice president of development and learning, assisted in coordinating the human resources, and the staff completed the project. These scrubs were then distributed by the Central Logistics and Materials team, led by Joe Goyne, Senior Director, Logistics.

Prepped for tomorrow

Geisinger consistently maintains a Caring attitude, which means helping any department that may need it. This practice of workload balancing during the pandemic allowed Geisinger to complete critical tasks, but also allowed workers whose work volume may have decreased to continue to contribute to the mission of the organization.

Shifting into supply chain high gear

Organization: Center for Dialysis Care
Nominator: Jeffery Marusic, Vice President, Supply Chain and Facility Management, Center for Dialysis Care; Jim Cogan, Regional Director, Premier

Challenge(s) faced:

  • Many companies are not currently adding new customers.
  • Increased use of surgical masks, hand sanitizer, bleach, disinfection wipes and products.
  • Understanding China was a major supplier of PPE and that supply could be cut off as the pandemic developed worldwide.
  • Suppliers instituted allocations at a time when we are using more PPE. The allocation is based on “normal usage patterns;” however in a pandemic, normal is not sufficient to meet demand levels.

Solution(s) derived

  • Understanding the world supply chain and how a break in that link could affect our vendors’ inventory levels as the pandemic spread throughout the world. China is a major link in the PPE supply chain, so we quickly developed a strategic plan to increase supply levels prior to the pandemic spreading rapidly in the U.S.
  • Leadership delegated decision making to purchasing, in order to expedite sourcing of PPE from vendors that met the required organizational specifications for PPE.
  • Grouped COVID-positive patients to consolidate usage of certain PPE, such as N95 masks.
  • Used federal and local government agencies as guidelines for reusing N95 mask including use of the government’s strategic stockpile.
  • The Purchasing department worked with clinical leaders to emphasize appropriate use of PPE and cleaning agents, to control inventory usage. Developed alternatives for using surgical masks to be used by patients in order to control usage.
  • All other sources for supplies were exhausted in order to stay ahead of demand. Working with our partners like Premier and others helped us identify and procure necessary items from trusted suppliers.

Influential, instrumental leaders:

  • Vice President of Supply Chain and Facilities Management, Vice President of Clinical Services, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Strategic Planning, Chief Operating Officer and President/CEO.
    CDC Purchasing team, including our logistics coordinators, delivery and warehouse personnel.

Prepped for tomorrow

  • Further diversification of suppliers is essential.
  • Better understanding of the world supply chain and how it affects our suppliers’ inventory levels when interruptions occur.
  • Partnering with our GPO and others provides another layer of support that will continue to be utilized going forward.

Unique partnerships infuse product development, including hand sanitizer in kegs

Organization: Banner Health
Nominator: Mike Halmrast, Executive Director, Supply Chain Contracts, Banner Health; Nancy Neff, Regional Program Director, Public Relations & Marketing, Banner Health; Premier

Challenge(s) faced

The primary challenging product categories for Banner have been hand sanitizer, isolation gowns and N95 masks.

Solution(s) derived

Banner partnered with a local distillery in Arizona to make hand sanitizer for our facilities. In the isolation gown area, Banner has purchased fabric to make reusable gowns. We then partnered with sewing companies in the region to complete these gowns for Banner. This will give us a more sustainable, long-term option that we can utilize as a backup to the disposable gowns.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Supply Chain and our clinical teams were involved in this work as is typical with our process. We had a unique partnership as well with the Banner Innovation Group, which assisted in finding alternative products and sources during these challenging times.

Prepped for tomorrow

The solutions give us various alternatives to have in place for future pandemic situations. We have also been able to establish some new supplier relationships that can be utilized in the future.

Ingenuity drives internal mass production in 3D

Organization: St. Luke’s University Healthcare Network
Nominator: Kevin Hines, Vice President, Network Materials Management, St. Luke’s University Healthcare Network; Joel Lincoln, Senior Regional Director, Premier

Challenge(s) faced

One of the early challenges is when distributors and manufacturers placed PPE on allocation based on historical usage, which did not account for the drastic increase in demand. This left us in short supply at a critical time when we needed to protect our staff and patients.

Solution(s) derived

Our solutions were driven by sourcing, innovation, donations and teamwork. The PPE Purchasing Team immediately began to source PPE with alternative suppliers and took risks in placing huge orders with new suppliers who were bringing in PPE from China. It was unsettling to be spending significant amount of money with an unknown supplier bringing in unknown quality of products. These risks paid off as we were able to buy early and buy big to give us enough products to get by. But still it was barely enough as the virus began to spread, and more patients needed medical care.

So we embraced innovation with 3D printing. Our team began printing N95 masks, PAPR hoods, stethoscopes and other products. We increased our supply by partnering with local universities and other local companies that used 3D technology to be able to produce an additional volume of much needed supplies.

But we still needed a way to extend the life of our N95 masks. The “Bug Zapper” was a team effort between physicians, biomed techs, and sterile processing along with a Lehigh University professor to design and fabricate the first of its kind machine to disinfect N95 masks using UV-C light. To date the unit has disinfected 12,000 masks for the network as well as local EMTs, police, nursing homes and other health partners.

The local community support was fantastic as individuals and companies stepped up with donations of gloves, cleaning supplies and gowns. Our PPE team even organized local seamstresses to sew fabric masks to give additional protection to the staff as surgical masks were getting harder to find. This dedicated group of women and men worked tirelessly to provide hand-sewn masks not only to St. Luke’s, but also to other hospitals and facilities in Lehigh Valley. They provided more than 18,000 fabric masks to St Luke’s. In addition to helping us with product, this initiative gave the local community a sense of purpose by contributing to the fight against COVID-19.

The teamwork in coming together to protect our patients and front-line nurses, doctors, and other clinicians was seamless. It is not unusual for the St Luke’s family to join hands together to solve problems and generate creative solutions all with a generous spirit of camaraderie and purpose.

Influential, instrumental leaders

The list is endless. Purchasing, Distribution, Couriers, SPD, Simulation Lab, IT, Security, Bio-Med and many more.

Prepped for tomorrow

We have learned many lessons during this pandemic. It has given us a new perspective on how we can use 3D printing going forward to help reduce supply costs. It has shown us the value of partnering with local universities and other community leaders to create new and different solutions for the supply chain. And using technology such as Microsoft Teams to quickly come together and make critical decisions in real time.

Foresight motivates IDN to “C” results

Organization: Hartford HealthCare
Nominator: Milrose Mercado, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain, Hartford HealthCare; Premier

Challenge(s) faced

Due to COVID-19, sourcing has become increasingly challenging. Health systems across the U.S. and globally continue to be challenged with access to reliable supply lines and are subject to distributor allocations, backorders and shortages.

Solution(s) derived

Hartford HealthCare Supply Chain Hartford HealthCare Supply Chain – led by Milrose Mercado, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain; Dan Pak, Vice President, Procure to Pay; Sharon Fried, Vice President, Supply Chain Operations – proactively increased pandemic inventory in January after identifying early market compression through demand planning. [Editor’s Note: Hartford HealthCare was named one of 11 Supply Chain Operations Worth Watching in 2019. See December 2019 HPN.] Supply Chain was quickly able to pivot and build a direct international sourcing model with factories in China, Korea and Vietnam. Supply Chain established boots on the ground to ensure quality standards, and background checks with factory partners were conducted. International sourcing is not a traditional strategy in healthcare due to required talent and infrastructure. To execute this, Supply Chain had strong executive leadership alignment and support that helped to remove barriers, provide resources and guidance: Jeff Flaks, CEO, Charlie Johnson, CFO, Mike Daglio, COO, and Ajay Kumar, Chief Clinical Officer, all played a critical role in successful execution across the system. The level of trust and support in Supply Chain is what helped to drive program success. Supply Chain is working to continue to establish relationships in other countries to further diversify its supplier base. Additionally, Supply Chain established numerous partnerships with local businesses to make face masks, face shields and other PPE.

Influential, instrumental leaders

The partnership with clinical teams was also critical. Together, we worked collaboratively to drive a robust conservation strategy including reporting on mask utilization down to the unit level, which helped to prevent spikes in use. The culmination of this work allowed Hartford HealthCare to be the first in the state of Connecticut to provide masks to all employees.

Prepped for tomorrow

If this crisis has taught us anything it is that we can execute faster than we think. What we believe will take months can actually be done in weeks and sometimes days if we push ourselves to think differently. This thinking is what will help drive our strategy, process development and thinking beyond the pandemic.

Producing healthcare-grade disinfectant on-site

Organization: CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System
Nominator: Liz Shelton, Administrative Director, Hospital Operations, CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System; R-Water

Challenge(s) faced

Like most healthcare facilities, we faced a shortage of disinfectants, disinfecting wipes, and elevated pricing on the products that were available.

Solution(s) derived

In December 2018, we implemented a technology that enables us to daily produce 300 gallons of TK60, a one-step healthcare-grade disinfectant on-site. Before the pandemic, we installed a second unit that allowed us to double our daily production of TK60. Having this available on demand allowed us to provide an uninterrupted supply of disinfectant to multiple satellite clinics without incurring additional costs. It also enabled us to significantly reduce the use of expensive Purple Top Wipes.

Influential, instrumental leaders

It was a team effort between Nursing, Infection Prevention, Supply Chain, Environmental Services and Administration. It just made sense, and we have been extremely pleased with our decision.

Prepped for tomorrow

We use TK60 throughout our facilities. TK60 eliminates our two-step disinfection process for C-diff rooms. It has replaced our previous daily disinfectant and C-diff products, and it has significantly reduced the use of expensive Purple Top Wipes. The decrease of products used for disinfection, along with TK60’s one-minute contact time has significantly decreased patient room and operation room turn times. During a time when reliability and capacity are so important, and supply and distribution networks are closely monitored, it has been comforting to know we can perform crucial tasks quickly and safely without the possibility of a back-ordered product.

Breaking out of the pandemic box

Organization: M Health Fairview
Nominator: LeAnn Born, Vice President, Supply Chain, M Health Fairview; Premier

M Health Fairview is a 10-hospital, 60-clinic healthcare system in Minnesota that includes University of Minnesota Medical Center and University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. M Health Fairview is optimizing the value we can access as a result of being a health system partnered with a university. Unique needs have popped up due to COVID-19. These needs have been shared with different colleges within the University of Minnesota and resulted in design and production of needed products either by the University or through partnerships with local manufacturers. [Editor’s Note: M Health Fairview earned HPN’s 2017 Supply Chain Department of the Year Award and 2020 SPD Department of the Year Award. See August 2017 and May 2020 editions, respectively.]

Challenge(s) faced

Though we are working hard to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for all the care providers within our system, ongoing nationwide shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic make it difficult for healthcare systems to meet demand with standard supply channels. Many products required to care for patients are in short supply and in high demand.

Solution(s) derived

To help us conserve and reuse these vital PPE supplies, M Health Fairview has turned to new innovations, including a glass-enclosed COVID-19 testing boothandN95 mask decontamination via ultraviolet light. These technologies – plus broad community support – have helped us adapt and bridge the gap between supply and demand. Professors and students in the College of Design, College of Science and Engineering, and the Medical School met with stakeholders in M Health Fairview to learn about the short supply item, researched options, designed plans, met with local manufacturers and facilitated the production of products for use in our system.
  • N95 masks: Huy Nguyen, one of our infection preventionists, now Nurse Manager in the NICU, went to extraordinary lengths to reach out to Clorox and 3M, and then partnered with the College of Science and Engineering to set up and validate our UV decontamination process for N95s [https://www.mhealth.org/blog/2020/april-2020/m-health-fairview-rolls-out-new-uv-decontamination-process-for-n95-masks]. To help conserve our respirator supply further, we implemented a five-day mask rotation process for N95 masks. This process means each healthcare worker receives five masks over the course of a 10-day rotation period, with each mask being worn twice.
  • Isolation Gowns: Currently, disposable isolation gowns are our greatest PPE need. Our system typically employs both disposable and reusable gowns, and right now our care providers are using approximately 15,000 disposable isolation gowns a day. We are exploring a complete transition to reusable gowns that can be laundered, but to meet our current needs, we continue to track traditional and non-traditional sources of manufacturing for disposable gowns. That’s why efforts like the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering’s “Gown for U” project are so important. In two weeks, the biomedical engineering students and local manufacturers involved in the project created a new, local source for disposable isolation gowns. Hearing about the nationwide need for disposable isolation gowns, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering engaged his students to design, plan and secure local manufacturers to produce a supply that will allow us to bridge the gap we expected for disposable gowns while we are converting to reusable gowns. This resulted in new business for two manufacturers in our local community. Our Chief Quality Officer, Dr. Abe Jacob, personally visited a local manufacturer to try on a plastic disposable gown on their factory floor to see if this would meet our specifications for gowns. We have also partnered with Minneapolis-based business Love Your Melon, which has committed to producing 250,000 additional gowns for our system.
  • Testing Booths: The College of Science and Engineering invented a negative air pressure box (https://www.mhealth.org/blog/2020/may-2020/testing-booth-increases-covid-19-testing-capacity-while-conserving-ppe) that caregivers can stand in to collect specimens from patients being tested for COVID-19. This has dramatically reduced the burn rate for PPE.
  • Intubation Box: An Intensivist resident invented a box [https://cse.umn.edu/me/news/new-protective-device-healthcare-professionals] that could be used to protect healthcare workers from aerosols generated during intubation. She partnered with a professor in the College of Science and Engineering who is an expert on aerosols.
  • Face Shields: One of our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit physicians led efforts to make face shields and ear protection for air purifying respirators.

Influential, instrumental leaders

All of these examples had input from participants on the front line, health system leaders, professors, students and the local business community. The collective innovation and commitment to support and protect our frontline healthcare staff has been impressive and inspiring.

Prepped for tomorrow

These urgent needs brought about action that will benefit us with future, less urgent problems we need to solve.These experiences allowed people with differentbackgrounds and areas of expertise to learn about each other and collaborate in ways that quickly delivered meaningful results – actual products that are now in use with patients and caregivers.

Delivering groceries to senior citizens

Organization: Northwestern Medicine
Nominator: Adam Biernacki, Senior General Manager Illinois, MedSpeed

Challenge(s) faced

As the number of people experiencing food insecurity is increasing, there is also a need for communities to shelter in place and limit exposure to COVID-19. Senior citizens are particularly at risk during this pandemic. In order to meet the food needs of this vulnerable population while also fostering safe social distancing, a solution was needed that would ensure access to food without exposure to large populations at food pantries.

Solution(s) derived

Northwestern Medicine coordinated with Our Lady of Angels Food Pantry to prepare grocery deliveries for senior citizens and with its logistics partner MedSpeed to conduct the deliveries. Each week the three organizations work together to deliver food to at-risk seniors. Since the program began in April, it has grown to include 150 senior citizens in the community. Each senior receives fresh produce and grocery staples, enabling them to stay home and reduce their exposure to COVID-19.

Influential, instrumental leaders

North­- western Medicine, Our Lady of Angels Food Pantry, MedSpeed

Prepped for tomorrow

Northwestern Medicine is committed to improving the health of the communities it serves with a focus on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable populations. Together with community-based partners, such as Our Lady of the Angels and MedSpeed, Northwestern will continue to collaborate and implement targeted programs that respond to community needs, including the social determinants of health. 

Partnering to produce face shields

Organization: Mayo Clinic
Nominator: Erik Frich, Senior General Manager Minnesota, MedSpeed

Challenge(s) faced

Mayo Clinic needed additional plastic face shields in order to protect its team from COVID-19.

Solution(s) derived

Mayo Clinic partnered with a local manufacturing company, Pepin Manufacturing Inc., to produce 300,000 face shields [https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/press-room/partnership-to-produce-face-shields] A large group of Mayo volunteers took the manufactured shields and assembled them for their peers. Mayo Clinic’s logistics partner, MedSpeed, transported the shields from Pepin Manufacturing to the volunteers and then delivered them to the points of care for clinical use.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Mayo Clinic, Pepin Manufacturing Inc., MedSpeed

Maintaining temporary PPE warehouse

Organization: Advocate Aurora Health
Nominator: Jared Simon, Senior General Manager Wisconsin, MedSpeed

Challenge(s) faced

Advocate Aurora Health’s supply chain distribution center quickly reached capacity during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Solution(s) derived

In less than a week, the Advocate Aurora Health team worked around the clock to set up a temporary warehouse outside of Milwaukee to house all of its PPE, including sterilized N95 masks. The new 60,000-square foot warehouse allowed Advocate Aurora Health to centralize PPE distribution, donations, kitting operations, emergency equipment, as well as N95 Re-sterilization support activities. Advocate Aurora Health collaborated with MedSpeed to transport product from the new warehouse to MedSpeed’s Wisconsin and Illinois hubs so that the PPE could be consolidated with normal supply deliveries and transported to all 28 of its hospitals. Using this new facility, the Supply Chain team was able to keep up with the amplified PPE needs of its team in support of care delivery.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Advocate Aurora Health’s Supply Chain team and MedSpeed.

Prepped for tomorrow

As the situation changes during this health crisis and any others that follow, Advocate Aurora Health has the playbook to quickly scale to meet the needs of its team and patients.

Creative thinking fulfilled a supply need

Organization: MultiCare Health System
Nominator: Libby Gaspar, Senior General Manager Northwest, MedSpeed

Challenge(s) faced

Washington State was the first U.S. epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the MultiCare Health System team quickly recognized the need to secure as many ventilators as possible to provide care to patients in the community.

Solution(s) derived

MultiCare worked with a veterinary hospital to borrow its stock of ventilators for the duration of the pandemic. MultiCare’s logistics partner, MedSpeed, drove hundreds of miles to locations throughout Washington and Oregon to collect the ventilators and transport them to the main hospital, where they were stored and deployed as needed.

Influential, instrumental leaders

MultiCare and MedSpeed

Prepped for tomorrow

By thinking creatively, MultiCare’s team will be able to quickly respond during future crises.

Ramping up infection prevention, disinfection

Organization: Nanosonics
Nominator: Ken Shaw, President of Americas, Nanosonics

Challenge(s) faced:

  1. Infection prevention within hospitals is more important than ever, and the proper reprocessing of reusable medical devices helps prevent the risk of cross-contamination.  This includes ultrasound probes. Ultrasound is being relied upon heavily in the management and monitoring of COVID-19 patients, as well as being used in almost every healthcare department. Many hospitals have experienced the extra challenge of having dedicated equipment being used in isolation wards, requiring extra resources. Hospitals also have limited capital budgets to purchase all of the equipment needed to address the pandemic on top of everyday care.
  2. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-services, product training and education had been conducted on site, providing hands-on instruction. With hospital access restrictions in place, alternative training solutions needed to be provided so that hospital staff can be properly trained on medical equipment and best reprocessing practices.

Solution(s) derived

  1. Nanosonics provided hospitals the ability to quickly ramp their high-level disinfection efforts with a trophon2 loaner program. This program enabled front line and SPD departments to obtain trophons without incurring any capital budget expense. trophons were provided for three months at no cost, after which they could decide to rent, buy or return them. The only costs for healthcare providers were the related consumables and accessories they used. This program enabled facilities across the globe to help mitigate the risk of ultrasound probe cross-contamination.
    • Examples Include:
    • A major hospital system in Alberta, Canada, utilized the loaner program to install trophon2 in their clinics and MDRD (Medical Device Reprocessing Department) to address the additional needs presented by COVID-19.
    • The largest teaching hospital on the Northside of Dublin City, Ireland, installed trophon2 to prepare for patients admitted with complications of COVID-19 infections. Currently, it is caring for the highest number of patients infected with COVID-19 in Ireland.
    • A women’s healthcare provider in France stepped up their infection prevention efforts by utilizing the loaner program. By adding trophon2 to automatically HLD all ultrasound probes, they not only streamlined their workflow, but the added infection prevention measure is reassuring to their patients and staff.
  2. At Nanosonics we believe in education and training. Proper reprocessing of ultrasound probes per federal guidelines helps protect patients from the risk of cross-contamination. Consequently, ensuring that healthcare providers are properly trained on using trophon and how high-level disinfection can help with infection prevention efforts is a core business goal. Since we were unable to conduct on-site training and education, we moved virtual, hosting more than 80 virtual training sessions to educate more than 700 trophon users and industry professionals in the last couple of months and the count continues to grow.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Nanosonics partnered with Infection Preventionists and Department Directors on both initiatives, as well as procurement for the loaner program.

Prepped for tomorrow:

1. Proper reprocessing of reusable medical devices will always play an important infection prevention role. Standardizing ultrasound probe reprocessing across the hospital with an automated solution such as trophon2, improves workflow and helps prevent human error that can happen with manual reprocessing solutions that may compromise HLD efficacy. Providing healthcare organizations with flexible purchasing options will remain a way in which we help our partners standardize their high-level disinfection efforts. 

2. Virtual training and education will be a way we continue to support our healthcare partners, be that in-service, CME presentations, one-on-one video conferencing and webinars. As hospital restrictions ease, we look forward to supporting our partners in person with hands-on instruction as well.

Maintaining medication inventory visibility during COVID-19 crisis

Organization: Omnicell
Nominator: Sandy Fewkes, Manager, Public Relations, Omnicell; Betsy Martinelli, Senior Manager, Marketing Communications, Omnicell

Challenge(s) faced

There was an urgent need to efficiently track daily inventory levels for critical COVID-19 medications. In addition, hospitals needed to reduce stocking frequencies in isolation areas and efficiently prepare the right medications for new units.

Solution(s) derived

Omnicell researched the drugs used to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome and medications reported as being used to treat COVID-19 in other countries. The resulting medication list was validated by Omnicell customers, including those in known COVID-19 epicenters. Continual refinements are being made based on emerging information and additional customer feedback.

This information is available to Omnicell customers in the form of downloadable, ready-to-use reports. This data quickly gives hospitals a holistic view of their inventory levels and the forecasted burn rate of 75+ medications related to COVID-19. The reports will help hospitals make faster, more informed decisions:

  • Redeploy critical medication where it’s needed the most
  • Increase par levels in isolation/ICU areas to reduce stocking frequencies
  • Actively plan to safeguard COVID-19 medications and project a potential shortage situation
  • Easily forward top-line summary of needs to leadership

Influential, instrumental leaders

Omnicell worked with pharmacy leaders in pandemic hotspots, as well as industry associations, including the Society of Critical Care Medicine and ASHP, to develop a comprehensive list of the critical medications being used in COVID-19 treatment.

Prepped for tomorrow

We’re continuing to leverage this data to predict usage trends across regions to help health systems prepare and plan for future surge needs or new healthcare crises.

Providing the 411 free for IFUs

Organization: oneSOURCE
Nominator: Heather Thomas, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, oneSOURCE

Challenge(s) faced

Sterile processing is more important than ever to minimize spread and keep patients and staff safe. At the beginning of the pandemic, oneSource realized that instructions for use (IFU) and service manuals for critical equipment and reusable gowns being used on the frontlines would be imperative as client and non-client providers dealt with the COVID-19 cases. We all saw and heard the news, which inspired the company to create the COVID-19 Document Database (https://www.onesourcedocs.com/covid-19-resources/) and open it up free of charge to all healthcare providers including surgery centers whose beds may have been needed as backup to the main facility.

We continue to work diligently with our partners to help manage this global emergency through preventive measures and to facilitate the demands of our industry during this challenging time.

Solution(s) derived

The Free COVID-19 Document Database was launched as part of the oneSource COVID-19 Resource Center and is constantly updated and added to. Our overall goal was to have the specific IFU and service manuals available to healthcare workers worldwide to keep them and their patients as safe as possible 24/7. The database includes the IFU and service manuals for respirators, ventilators, bypass machines and reusable gowns. Free to all, subscribers of course would have easy access through their subscription but non-subscribers are provided free immediate access to assure that they can refer to the proper cleaning, decontamination and sterilization needed for COVID-19–related items.

The database will be available to subscribers and non-subscribers for the foreseeable future and is only one of the five databases oneSource offers. The other databases for surgical instruments and equipment, Biomedical, Tissue & Implants, Dental and Facilities Maintenance are available through subscriptions. This free e-library is constantly updated and supports those on the frontlines to get the information they need to manage any potential growth of the virus from equipment and protective gear as quickly as possible.

We recognized the severity and struggle our world was facing early on and felt it was our responsibility to arm those on the frontlines of this medical crisis with ways to effectively execute their duties in the safest way possible. As we continue to use our platform’s key benefits to address the concerns and needs of our industry, building a database that provides biomedical and sterile processing professionals with the materials necessary to do so was a top priority to our team.

Influential, instrumental leaders

The specifics of involvement included the oneSource Engineering Team, led by Ian Fisher, Director of Engineering; Heather Thomas, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President; and Lindsay Frkovich-Nelson, Director of Sales & Marketing, along with their marketing agency Hill Aevium. The database features had to be thought through first and then a sweep of all IFU and service manuals related to COVID-19 equipment and reusable gowns was performed and loaded into the new database. Getting the word out was as important as building the database. A marketing plan was developed and deployed that included public relations, direct and e-mail marketing, advertising, direct sales, social networking and website announcements.

Prepped for tomorrow

This database will live on our site ongoing in order to help those practitioners that continue to fight this pandemic on a daily basis and to keep the virus at bay. This database and entire experience has also helped lay the groundwork for other databases that we need to build out and how to prepare for any other pandemics, epidemics or disasters.

As providers begin to reopen for elective surgeries, oneSource realizes COVID-19 will be part of the duality that facilities will be facing for the foreseeable future. The pre-planning and preparedness will be ongoing and the safety of our healthcare workers and patients will continue to be paramount.

Lastly, oneSource also launched their Speakers Bureau (https://www.onesourcedocs.com/speakers-bureau/) during the pandemic as we saw that sterile processing departments wanted to keep themselves sharp during the pandemic, be reminded of best practices and, as a bonus, earn CE credits. Pioneered in collaboration with David Jagrosse, oneSource quickly moved from arranging speakers in person to virtual educational opportunities running weekly webinars on a variety of topics that included a .5 IAHCSMM CE credit. Experts involved with the Speakers Bureau include Damien Berg, Sharon Greene-Golden, David Jagrosse and many others from the industry. Complete bios and an overview of the speaker’s bureau can be found online, and the entire six-week webinar series is available online (https://www.onesourcedocs.com/knowledge-center/) through 2020. Webinars can be viewed and, once completed, CE credits are available by filling out the designated form.

Keeping data, technology front-of-mind during pandemic

Organization: PartsSource
Nominator: Mara Paré, Vice President, Client Solutions, PartsSource

Challenge(s) faced

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a lot of concern. Health systems did not know what to expect, and they often did not have the right data to prepare appropriately for the surge of COVID-19 patients or the demand those surges would put on their medical equipment. Customers were looking for accurate inventory and availability of critical equipment and parts. And they were looking for critical supplies like ventilator hoses and patient monitoring devices that were becoming harder and harder to source.

Solution(s) derived

First, as a technology-based healthcare services company, PartsSource developed an early warning system to monitor the supply chain across critical modalities. Our surge capacity and supplier surveillance analytics allowed us to monitor data in real-time and then take immediate action to pre-stock critical parts and equipment and increase access to secondary suppliers. We also processed all the data we were gathering and proactively provided it to our customers so they could make data-driven buying decisions based on the demand for the critical parts we were seeing. The data allowed health systems to actively manage their inventory for the most in-demand equipment. Our state-of-the-art digital command center provided insight across the entire supply chain to proactively identify and communicate alternative options to fill the increasing demand we saw in the market. We also mobilized our forces and implemented a bulk buy hotline and established a daily engagement plan between account management and customers.

Influential, instrumental leaders

The entire PartsSource team played a role in arming our healthcare customers with the data, parts, services, rentals and tools they needed to navigate the COVID-19 crisis successfully.  

  • During the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Long Island Community Hospital contacted their PartsSource product specialist in desperate need of ventilator hoses that they could not source from any other vendor. The PartsSource product specialist located a supplier with the appropriate tubing in a longer length and asked them to cut it to the proper length to fulfill the hospital’s urgent need.
  • A large West Coast IDN needed access to critical medical equipment and PartsSource’s sourcing team was successfully able to secure bulk purchases for hard to find products.
  • The Cleveland.com news story ( https://www.cleveland.com/business/2020/05/auroras-partssource-keeps-critical-hospital-equipment-running-during-coronavirus-crisis.html) highlights the critical role our command center played during the COVID-19 crisis. It was a game changer for managing the needs of health systems across the country.
  • PartsSource Pro client Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health Care used order data from their CMMS system and compared it to PartsSource data to flag gaps in their inventory for modalities critical to COVID-19 patient care. By analyzing their CMMS order data and comparing it to PartsSource data, Dartmouth-Hitchcock was able to get ahead of potential parts backlogs in the marketplace during the pandemic, ensure ample inventory, and maintain equipment uptime.

Prepped for tomorrow

Looking at data as a leading indicator and practicing active supply chain management continues to be a focus for PartsSource. It is something we educate our customers on every day. We are seeing that coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, our customers are shifting the way they manage healthcare supply chain and equipment maintenance. As hospitals must begin elective surgeries and outpatient procedures, this puts pressure on the healthcare technology management (HTM) departments. HTM departments are facing financial and staffing pressures, but they must increase capacity to service equipment that has been idle or had delayed preventative maintenance. We see HTM departments taking a preemptive stance and seeking out partners to help them practice proactive capacity planning and implement active supply chain management. They are looking for data by modality and asking how they can set up their own surveillance systems to manage their inventory better and prepare for what comes next. They are also looking for partners that can supplement staffing shortages by offering equipment maintenance and repair services. The good news for PartsSource is that all these requests, from the data to the active supply chain management, to the equipment service and maintenance support are all part of the PartsSource service offering, and we are ready to handle the increase in demand.

Exchanging information to combat pandemic

Organization: Resilinc
Nominator: Resilinc

Challenge(s) faced

Hospitals were facing a shortage of 9,000 individual items of PPE and other medical supplies across the nation.

Solution(s) derived

Resilinc invented for free the Exchange at Resilinc, a cloud-based platform created exclusively for hospitals to identify, locate and exchange critical medical supplies due to inventory imbalances. Hospitals list the items they need and trade with a hospital that has too much of those items. It solves imbalances in the supply chain.

For example, a hospital can list N95 masks they need and offer medical gowns they can spare in exchange. Using a single online platform, hospitals can locate and trade the items they need and have the packages shipped at the same time. This helps reduce inventory shortages of medical supplies that are critically needed in areas of the U.S. where patients are facing severe symptoms from the coronavirus.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Resilinc CEO Bindiya Vakil and Stanford Medicine’s Amanda Chawla were talking at a conference and discussed a solution: an online trading system to allow hospitals to exchange healthcare supplies. So, with the advice and testing from Stanford hospitals and the software development from Resilinc, as well as the hospital networks of Premier Inc. and Intalere, the Exchange at Resilinc was launched April 15.

Prepped for tomorrow

The Exchange at Resilinc is not an e-commerce site. There are no cash or credit card transactions involved in the trades. Resilinc employees, many of whom are software developers that create supply chain risk monitoring systems, were happy to give back to healthcare providers and help save lives.

Feeding the front-line virus fighters

Organization: UAB, the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Nominator: Janet Pate, JD, RN, Director, Environment of Care, Safety Officer, UAB; Noreen Costelloe, Director of Marketing, Ruhof Healthcare Corp.

Challenge(s) faced

UAB, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, an internationally renowned research university and academic medical center, and Ruhof Corp. customer, was challenged to feed healthcare providers and administrative staff at UAB hospitals and the remote COVID-19 testing site where hours-long shifts and busy schedules often left them no time to purchase food.

Solution(s) derived

A “Meals for Heroes” campaign raised $76,000 and served 16,000 meals to front-line healthcare workers fighting coronavirus.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Meals for Heroes, which launched April 1, was a collaboration between the service manuals Advancement office and the UAB Department of Food and Nutrition Services. It was created to help feed healthcare providers and administrative staff at UAB hospitals during the height of the pandemic.

“The donation of meals through Meals for Heroes provided meals to lab personnel on April 20, during National Lab Appreciation Week,” said Sherry Polhill, Associate Vice President for Hospital Laboratories, Respiratory Care and Pulmonary Function Services at UAB Medicine. “UAB Hospital Labs appreciate the Birmingham community for their generosity and acts of service.”

UAB Football Head Coach Bill Clark with his wife Jennifer Clark, along with The Heart of Alabama Chevy Dealers, gave $10,000 to the campaign, which used gifts to place orders with local restaurants and caterers in an effort to help support community partners and bolster Birmingham businesses — many of whom provided in-kind meal donations, including Milo’s Tea Co., Jimmy John’s, Newk’s and many other restaurants. UAB Food Services worked with businesses to ensure specific food safety guidelines were met, and also served more than 5,800 meals to compassionate caregivers.

“The outpouring of support from churches, synagogues, restaurants, businesses and individuals in our community has been amazing,” said Charlotte Beeker, Associate Vice President for Food, Nutrition and Guest Services at UAB Medicine. “The donations made by these groups and so many others to support the Meals for Heroes campaign just shows what a great community we live in. Our healthcare workers have been heroic in their efforts during this pandemic, and our community has been equally heroic in their flood of care and encouragement.”

Prepped for tomorrow

When the Meals for Heroes campaign closed in early May, the remaining gift balance was $21,000, which Beeker says will be used to continue feeding healthcare workers continuing to care for COVID-19 patients.

Launching a web-based crisis inventory management program

Organization: UPMC
Nominator: Jessica Daley, PharmD, Vice President, HC Pharmacy & Supply Chain Commercial Services; Katie St. Onge, Executive Director, Premier

Challenge(s) faced

COVID-19 rapidly stressed operational pharmacy and supply chain resources with a need to protect supply from disruptions in the global supply chain while also scaling up operations to meet the potential tsunami of critically ill COVID-19 patients. Very few health systems have access to a full-scale, perpetual inventory system, so these types of supply challenges can be difficult to manage when inventory counts are being manually entered into one-off excel based tools that are prone to error and difficult to manipulate for longitudinal trending. We needed to create a more sophisticated supply monitoring tool to capture on-hand inventory quantities from 40+ hospitals across a multistate integrated delivery and finance network to solve for the critical need to:
  • Monitory daily inventory health of both drugs and personal protective equipment
  • Model longitudinal supply trending
  • Respond quickly and accurately to a detailed, NDC-level inventory request from the state of Pennsylvania

Solution(s) derived

Within two weeks of development time, we designed, developed and launched a web-based crisis inventory management platform in partnership with software engineers, pharmacists and project managers. The platform includes the following features:
  • Single-sign-on capabilities for enhanced security
  • Mobile-enabled user interface for use in hospitals and inventory storage rooms without having to use a computer browser.
  • Configurable reminder notifications, drug and PPE lists
  • Integrated NDCs and drug database information
  • Business Insights powered data modeling, trending, and visualizations
  • Exportable data and reporting for sharing with government agencies
  • Influential, instrumental leaders
UPMC’s fully-owned commercial supply chain data analytics spinoff, Pensiamo Inc.; UPMC’s GPO and Wholesale organization, HC Pharmacy; UPMC Supply Chain and UPMC Hospitals, retail, long-term care, and repackaging pharmacies. [Editor’s Note: UPMC earned HPN’s 2012 Supply Chain Department of the Year Award. See August 2012 HPN]

Prepped for tomorrow

This process can now be configured to count and trend any shortage-impacted items, not just for COVID-19. We also provided the solution to other health systems so that they too could leverage the power of the web-based portal with integrated collaboration and reporting tools to monitor COVID-19 critical supply counts.

Distributing ideas, information to fortify virus offensive

Organization: Vizient
Nominator: Julie Cerese, Vizient Performance Management Solutions

Challenge(s) faced

Many of our members had concerns and questions about what to expect with the surge of COVID-19 patients. Information about the virus and rapidly changing practices were disseminated through multiple mechanisms as the care was evolving with each passing day.

Solution(s) derived

Vizient worked to compile vast amounts of information into weekly webinars and emerging practices in an organized and concise way providing resources to support a member’s planning and preparedness of their organizations. The webinars provided a forum to learn from some of the members in areas that were hardest hit from the beginning. Attendance each week on average exceeded 1,100 participants. Each week, members learned innovative practices related to testing, visitation, surge, managing critical supplies, clinical practices and staff impact. The sourcing and pharmacy teams presented updates at each of the weekly webinars. All learnings were captured into emerging practice documents, FAQs and top 10 learnings from each webinar and posted publicly on the Vizient website. Members were also polled on several issues related to COVID-19 using an online survey and the weekly webinars to obtain information. This data was then used to create an Emerging Practices Dashboard, which allows members to transparently see the polling results and filter it into useful information in support of their specific needs. We also developed a surge calculator so our members could predict and plan resource needs accordingly.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Vizient member executive leaders were utilized to provide guidance weekly as to the evolving needs. Cross-functional teams throughout Vizient worked together to provide answers to questions and provide solutions to meet the critical needs of members during the pandemic. The current work plan was postponed, and all resources shifted to support COVID-19 and how Vizient could support the members’ clinical and supply needs. In addition to documenting emerging practices, we hosted weekly member webinars to share their experience and to poll members on current patient volume and their supply utilization and clinical practices. This has, like no other time before, been an “all hands-on deck” approach.

Prepped for tomorrow

Moving forward the 2020 plan includes topics like reviving the revenue engine, ramping up elective surgery and supply resilience to help members to re-open services and prepare for the expectation of another surge later in the year. Utilizing what everyone has learned and will continue to learn will allow Vizient the opportunity to help members on topics that are critical to the environment in which we find ourselves today.

Adding agility to sourcing acrobatics

Organization: Vizient Inc.
Nominator: Cathy Denning, Group Senior Vice President, Sourcing, Analytics and Center of Excellence, Vizient Sourcing Solutions

Challenge(s) faced

Vizient was challenged to respond to our members’ need for sourcing assistance in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the sudden impact this had on the healthcare supply chain, our members turned to their trusted partners to secure personal protective equipment, ventilators, pharmaceuticals, IV products, lab products and any other products needed to treat their patients and protect their staff.

Solution(s) derived

Vizient had to be agile in its approach. In the early phase, Vizient had success in leveraging our partnerships with contracted suppliers to transfer, allocate and/or expedite desired product. As the market became more constrained, transparency and innovation became paramount to our approach. Where there was not product available, Vizient provided alternative product suggestions from other suppliers or distributors, including some that weren’t on contract. Where alternatives weren’t available, Vizient suggested use of the FDA and CDC recommended conservation efforts such as reuse, extended use, sterilization and reprocessing of masks and face shields, and the appropriate use of reusable gowns and assorted apparel. When conservation wasn’t applicable, we provided a voice to our end-users ensuring that we would continue to support them with information until a solution came available.

Influential, instrumental leaders

While Vizient initially responded to this crisis by standing up a “war room” concept and a disaster response mailbox, we quickly realized the need for cross-functional work across multiple business units. While the medical/surgical team was the first impacted, we quickly determined that lab, pharmacy and capital would all play critical sourcing roles. Additionally, we sought support from other teams to assist with daily engagements ranging from internal and external communication to building databases and input repositories for communication such as emails and product shortage reports. Within a couple of weeks, the War Room team had grown to over 60 people working across 14 different teams to aid and assist our members and field teammates. In addition, when secondary market suppliers began to petition our member hospitals with products of questionable provenance, Vizient’s quality assurance/regulatory affairs team assembled to vet the manufacturers. To date, this team has handled more than 1,500 submissions.

Prepped for tomorrow

This nationwide pandemic has challenged our providers and suppliers like no other time. It’s challenged us all to think differently and boldly to serve our members. Whether it be new conservation efforts, unique supply partners, or non-traditional logistical models — all of these concepts will be evaluated as we prepare for an unknown recovery timeline and future related events. Vizient is uniquely situated in a triad with the provider and supplier. We will build on this unique relationship to help all of our partners in this journey. Going forward, a resilient, transparent and diverse supply chain is necessary to everyone’s joint success.

Tracking pharmacy fill rates

Organization: Vizient
Nominator: Dan Kistner, Group Senior Vice President, Pharmacy Solutions, Vizient

Challenge(s) faced

Fill-rate tracking for drugs used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients: There were significant delays between when demand for essential drugs took place and when these drugs would be recognized as shortages.

Solution(s) derived

We created a fill-rate tracker that tracks demand, supply and fill rate daily. This provides visibility into potential shortages in real time. For example, with this tool, Vizient was able to anticipate the increased demand and shortage many of the drugs used in treatment of COVID-19 patients, including the anti-malarial and ventilation medications.

Influential, instrumental leaders

The Vizient COVID-19 pharmacy task force, which includes representatives from our sourcing, analytics, member services, consulting and clinical teams, supported this effort.

Prepped for tomorrow

The daily fill-rate tracker provides us visibility into potential shortages, extra time to inform members and develop key mitigation strategies and insights to provide to suppliers in order to support increased production. This data has been utilized to provide real-time insights to key government agencies including the FDA, FEMA, DEA and the NGA (National Governors Association). This tracking tool can be applied to the “second wave” of COVID-19, and even beyond the pandemic to track other potential disruptions (including supplier shifts) that could impact meeting demand.

Keeping track of essential medications

Organization: Vizient
Nominator: Dan Kistner, Group Senior Vice President, Pharmacy Solutions, Vizient

Challenge(s) faced

Essential medication supplier survey: Transparency downstream in the supply chain is as critical as upstream. Visibility into raw material locations and finished-dose manufacturing yields important data in anticipating and managing potential supply disruptions. This became critical as both Asian and European countries began to shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. Until now, suppliers often viewed this information as proprietary.

Solution(s) derived

Vizient targeted suppliers of the 200 medications identified by Vizient as essential to the operations of a hospital. In addition, Vizient requested API (active pharmaceutical ingredient), manufacturing location, finished-dose location, insight into current supply, as well as projected supply for the next six-to-nine months.

Influential, instrumental leaders

The Vizient COVID-19 pharmacy task force and our supplier partners who manufacturer these essential 200 medications collaborated in this process.

Prepped for tomorrow

This solution gives us increased transparency that allows us to understand and react better to potential supply chain disruptions. Additionally, the database of information will be useful as additional interruptions occur whether that be a COVID-19 resurgence or another disaster that impacts countries (including the U.S.) that manufacturer pharmaceuticals.

Managing demand for ventilator meds

Organization: Vizient
Nominator: Dan Kistner, Group Senior Vice President, Pharmacy Solutions, Vizient

Challenge(s) faced

Ventilator medications are essential for supporting critically ill COVID-19 patients. The high demand of ventilators in treating these patients increased the demand for these drugs. One of the most important categories of these ventilator medications are sedatives.

Solution(s) derived

Key sedatives are accessible to Vizient members through our Novaplus Enhanced Supply (NES) program, an extension of our Novaplus private label program. Through NES, our supplier-built additional supply beyond the standard run rate is part of the requirement to participate in this program.

Influential, instrumental leaders

The Vizient pharmacy contracting team led this process along with our supplier partners who participate in Novaplus Enhanced Supply.

Prepped for tomorrow

Because of this built-up supply, the supplier was able to keep up with demand more readily and provided more than 670,000 additional vials of product for patients in our country. These actions increase not only the on-hand supply, but the availability of crucial and essential medications for our members.

Unclogging the PPE pipeline

Organization: INTEGRIS Health
Nominator: Micah Parker, Vice President, Supply Chain, INTEGRIS Health

Challenge(s) faced

The limited availability of personal protective equipment has been our biggest challenge, and we are still working to meet the demand as many facilities are reopening elective procedures and trying to ramp up operations. CDC’s infection prevention guidelines have changed since prior to COVID-19, requiring many caregivers to wear more PPE with increased protection. In addition, some organizations are requiring universal masking for all caregivers, patients and visitors. So, the demand for PPE really peaked at the onset of COVID-19 and has continued to be a significant challenge.

Solution(s) derived

Vizient reached out to businesses that manufacture and supply for other industries — companies we would typically never work with. One example is a local distillery we contracted to make hand sanitizer. They were able to distill their “brew” to the alcohol content needed for hand sanitizer but couldn’t offer a bottling solution. That led the team to the state’s largest dairy farm, which donated hundreds of empty half gallon milk jugs. Initially, we started recycling bottles in the hospitals, but ultimately, we found a manufacturer in eye health care that could supply bottles. The warehouse team then had to set up a “filling line” to fill the bottles. They obtained pumps from a local hardware store that allowed them to measure out the quantity so the bottles could be filled by the team.

Other PPE items were scarce. Hospitals required face shields, face masks and N95 covers. We quickly realized that these were either not available or had huge lead times. Healthcare organization volunteers offered to help make these items if we could supply the materials, so we sought the services of a large craft store that had been shut down. The agreement allowed the company to keep some employees working. They provided vinyl, foam, contact tape, fabric and elastic to produce the required protective gear. We also acquired surgical wrap from ORs among other sources. Efforts have expanded into making bouffant hair covers and continue as of late May, allowing every caregiver in the organization to receive a face shield. Volunteers have made 19,920 face shields to date.

Isolation gowns were another product in short supply. We found a local business that makes boat covers and boat seat covers and was on the verge of shutting down. Instead, after contracting with Vizient, they turned their manufacturing line around to provide over 20,000 isolation gowns keeping their staff employed.

Supplying enough disposable face masks so that every patient and visitor could wear one, along with non-clinical caregivers, proved to be another challenge, so we looked at washable options. This led us to a company that typically manufactures sewing lines for backpacks, shirts, etc., and after a handful of prototype reviews, the company started manufacturing washable cloth masks for the organization, providing around 20,000 masks a week. This effort has made a very significant impact in protecting the caregivers, patients and visitors.

The obvious big challenge has been the N95 mask. Once regulatory authorities allowed the use of non-medical grade masks, INTEGRIS went to the community to set up donation sites at every facility and the community responded with vigor. The number of donated masks was overwhelming and essential in the success of keeping caregivers safe.

Influential, instrumental leaders

From the onset of the crisis, the entire supply chain team worked around the clock, every day of the week to find creative ways to find and deliver PPE. Interdepartmental relationships strengthened through it all as we relied on each other while working in ways we never imagined. The community was instrumental. This included the volunteers, businesses struggling to stay afloat and even booming businesses looking to expand or simply lend a hand. Hands down, the community coming together is the saving grace here; they were instrumental in flattening this hospital’s curve and keeping our caregivers safe.

Prepped for tomorrow

A resilient supply chain requires the ability to pivot quickly to nontraditional sources to ensure seamless delivery of life-saving equipment. The pandemic has challenged us to think outside the box and serves as a warning never to get too comfortable. A few broken links in the supply chain make a tremendous impact. The crisis has taught us the importance of human and supply resiliency, a key to future success. Vizient continues to call for transparency along the entire length of the chain, so we can know how to adjust ahead of time when the next crisis comes. How we adjust will be key. We now know how important community and non-health care businesses are to help us stay nimble and to respond to supply chain disruption.

Statewide partnerships link provider, supplier efforts

Organization: The University of Vermont Health Network
Nominator: Charles Miceli, C.P.M., Chief Supply Chain Officer and Network Vice President, University of Vermont Health Network, and Board Member, Patient Safety Movement Foundation

Challenge(s) faced

The challenges grew quickly as the pandemic took hold around the world. Our supply chains, which previously operated smoothly and substantially characterized as indirect procurement, were suddenly breaking down as demand for PPE and other supplies grew exponentially – seemingly overnight. Additionally, frequent regulatory changes on shore, near shore and offshore made securing and establishing logistics for supplies difficult and timely. For example, one shipment arriving from China had to have “Hong Kong” redacted on each box by hand in order to clear Chinese customs.

Solution(s) derived

The UVM Health Network and Dartmouth-Hitchcock are aligned on supplier resiliency efforts in using Resilinc and serving on the board of the Health Care Transaparency Initiative with providers, GPOs and suppliers. On Jan. 21, 2020, we both realized early on that supply chain disruptions were on the horizon. We joined forces to source and procure PPE and other operational supplies. Surgeons gowns were our first joint purchase. In March 2020, a tripartite supply chain pursuit included the State of Vermont.

Influential, instrumental leaders

We worked with the State of Vermont, the Vermont National Guard and companies like Medique USA, Trans-Border Global Freight Systems, STERIS, Medline and others to re-establish supply lines and secure the supplies needed by our frontline workers.

Prepped for tomorrow

Our experience responding to UVM Health Network’s supply chain needs during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of leveraging our internal resources and the skills of all of our staff. Additionally, by partnering with others, we were able to divide and conquer the ever-growing list of tasks. These partnerships we established will continue as we move beyond the pandemic.

Shields raised to combat COVID-19

Organization: Summit Medical
Nominator: Kevin McIntosh, President, Summit Medical

Challenge(s) faced

With the decline of elective surgeries due to COVID-19, Kevin McIntosh, President, Summit Medical, initiated a new product brainstorm. Given the urgent demand for quality PPE — and recognizing a need to pivot our business to prevent layoffs — McIntosh tapped the company’s engineering expertise and vendor network to develop face shields for both healthcare workers and employees returning to the workplace.

Solution(s) derived

With the expertise of Summit Medical’s experience manufacturing surgical equipment, the team set out to quickly design and manufacture the highest quality face shields – with FDA compliance and all materials sourced and manufactured in the U.S. The team adjusted an open-source design from Maker Space at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to develop a prototype that met requirements for Summit Medical’s Face Shields to be registered and sold as a medical device. More importantly, the team quickly conducted extensive research and testing of materials to ensure Summit Medical was providing the highest quality. Fortunately, Summit Medical was able to tap its vendor relationships – critical, time-sensitive suppliers — to meet the urgent manufacturing schedule. In May, Summit Medical met its first milestone to deliver more than one million FDA-compliant face shields — designed, engineered and manufactured in the U.S. — in just eight weeks.

Influential, instrumental leaders

With production plans finalized and materials on-site, Summit Medical cross-trained every staff member – including administrative staff — to assist with face shield assembly efforts. Staff worked overtime, including weekends to maximize production speed.

Prepped for tomorrow

As a medical device manufacturer, face shields are a natural fit within our existing product lines and customer base. Unlike others selling unregulated face shields during this limited period of relaxed standards, Summit Medical is an FDA-registered medical manufacturer that will sustain its capabilities to meet the continued demand. The company also coordinated supply networks for production of its face shields at Summit Medical’s sister companies under the Innovia Medical umbrella at Eagle Labs in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Innovia also leveraged Summit Medical’s face shield design for production at Innovia’s facilities in the United Kingdom, where they are producing more 1.3 million Innovia Face Visors to protect front-line healthcare workers in UK’s National Health System. Summit Medical’s Quality and Regulatory team is currently pursuing a CE for the face shields, which will allow the company to support customer demand in Europe and beyond.

Stepping up sourcing, supply, training expertise

Organization: Ecolab Healthcare
Nominator: Hank Carbone, Marketing Director – Ecolab Healthcare

Challenge(s) faced

Ecolab offers several EPA-registered surface disinfectants approved for use against SARS-CoV-2 and several alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use when soap and water are not available. Demand for these products has increased three to 15 times over normal volumes.

Solution(s) derived

Throughout the pandemic, Ecolab has provided infection prevention expertise, solutions, protocols and training to help combat the spread of COVID-19. Ecolab has taken extensive measures throughout our global manufacturing footprint to ensure continuity of supply, and our manufacturing plants are running at full capacity to help meet demand.

Ecolab has significantly increased production of its disinfectants, including a more than threefold increase in OxyCide Daily Disinfectant Cleaner, an EPA-registered, one-step concentrate disinfectant, and a more than fivefold increase for Virasept, an EPA-registered, ready-to-use disinfectant, to meet customer need. We also have significantly increased production of hand sanitizers.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Ecolab marshalled our entire organization to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our procurement and supply chain organizations ensured we had adequate raw material supply and optimized production of key products to combat coronavirus. Our RD&E and manufacturing teams also transitioned production lines within several of our Nalco Water manufacturing plants to produce WHO-formula hand sanitizer to increase our ability to meet customer demand. A focused operations room of cross-functional associates coordinated the entire process to ensure alignment across the organization.

Prepped for tomorrow

Our global supply chain and procurement teams have set up a response center to manage all aspects of our manufacturing in response to the pandemic – from sourcing raw materials to where the products are manufactured to how we get products to our customers. This proactive response has enabled Ecolab to provide customers with a reliable source for hand sanitizer and surface disinfectants throughout this pandemic, and demonstrated our organization’s ability to meet spikes in demand that may arise in the future.

Meeting N95 demand at the stroke of UV light

Organization: United Hospital Center
Nominator: Melinda Hart, Director, Media Relations, Xenex Disinfection Services Inc.

Challenge(s) faced

As COVID-19 threatened his region and the safety of their staff and surrounding hospitals and emergency responders, Dr. Mark Povroznik, Vice President, Quality, United Hospital Center (UHC), operationalized an N95 mask disinfection system locally and regionally with capacity to expand effortlessly beyond the immediate need. While policies, plans and preparations were exploding, members of UHC’s team supported each other and the successful and flawless operations. With inventory of the N95 masks in short supply across the country, UHC began decontaminating masks with their LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots. The N95s are vital to healthcare workers, helping to filter out 95 percent of airborne particles. The LightStrike robots were proven (by Texas Biomedical Research Institute) to achieve a 99.99 percent level of disinfection against SARS-CoV-2 (the actual virus, not a surrogate) on N-95 masks in a five-minute disinfection cycle. 

Solution(s) derived

The Xenex LightStrike robots use intense bursts of broad-spectrum UV light to destroy quickly bacteria, viruses, fungi and bacterial spores. The portable disinfection system is effective against even the most dangerous pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), C. diff, norovirus, influenza and MRSA. UHC, which has the largest fleet of LightStrike robots in West Virginia, utilizes the same LightStrike robots that disinfect rooms and surgical suites at its hospital to disinfect the N95 masks for reuse at UHC. The 10-minute disinfecting process allowed UHC healthcare workers to wear their masks for up to a week longer; therefore, decreasing usage of new ones.

“Research supports the use of the UV light system in destroying harmful bacteria and viruses,” Povroznik said. “UHC has long been recognized as a leader in medical technology and highly-specialized care. The investment in UV light robots is not only important, but it also underscores UHC’s commitment to patient care and the communities we serve in North Central West Virginia, especially now.”

Influential, instrumental leaders

The N95 mask decontamination project was led by Povroznik, who also leads the infection prevention and quality management aspects of the hospital, but he says the UHC team is one with vision and teamwork at their hearts. He commended the following, recognizing the gratitude and passion in each person’s service:

  • Libery Kincaid, surgical technician, who transformed the dispatched surgical scrub team into a disinfection processing team.
  • John Fernandez, Vice President, Operations, who supported the community expansion and mask disinfection/return scheduling.
  • Stephanie Smart, Vice President, Nursing, for her passion to keep the highest level of PPE available to staff.
  • Annetta Payne, Infection Preventionist, for support in developing the final protocol and oversight of safe operations.
  • Brenda Conch, Director, Nursing Education, for orchestrating mask distribution, labeling and education
  • Karla Tucker, Director, Nursing Resources, for supporting the process.

Prepped for tomorrow

UHC has been using UV light disinfection technology for room decontamination since the hospital opened its Bridgeport campus in 2010. When the LightStrike robot is no longer needed to decontaminate masks, it will return to the fleet of robots that are used daily to disinfect patient rooms and surgical suites in the hospital. 

Zapping N95 masks for effective reuse

Organization: Baptist Health
Nominator: Melinda Hart, Director, Media Relations, Xenex Disinfection Services Inc.

Challenge(s) faced

In response to the nationwide shortage of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic, Baptist Health expanded its use of robotic disinfecting technology to decontaminate N95 masks. The health system was one of the first in its region to use this approach, an innovative response to a shortage that has impacted hospitals across the U.S.

Solution(s) derived

Baptist Health was already using Xenex’s LightStrike robots to disinfect patient and operating rooms, so they assigned one robot at each hospital to decontaminate N95 masks. Each facility has a room dedicated to disinfecting the masks, which are strung along wire shelving (resembling clothes on a clothesline). After a five-minute disinfection cycle, the masks are rotated and then exposed for five minutes on the other side, allowing both their exterior and interior to be decontaminated. Units with high N95 use, such as the COVID-19 units and the emergency departments, are among the first to have their masks cleaned.

Influential, instrumental leaders

Kyal Rector, RN, Senior Strategic Sourcing Agent – Value Analysis;  Katherine Dorsey, RN, NEA-BC, Nursing Director; and Sara Hubbard, LSSBB, SHRM-SCP, CPT, Senior Consultant, Operational Performance Improvement; developed and led the project. Rick Tresmond, Vice President, Supply Chain, Baptist Health, was the executive champion.

Prepped for tomorrow

“During an ongoing crisis like the one we are facing now, our health system is applying innovative ideas that are shown to be effective,” said David Rice, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer, Baptist Health. “The use of Xenex robots to disinfect our masks is just one of the ways we are rethinking how we do things so that we can benefit our patients and team members alike.”

Lending a needed hand to PPE production

Organization: hand2mind
Nominators: Rick Woldenberg, Chairman and CEO, hand2mind; Amazon Business
 
Challenge(s) faced

At hand2mind, we have been leaders in hands-on learning materials since 1965. When the COVID-19 crisis erupted, we wanted to be part of the solution. We realized we had the skills and resources to make a difference, and quickly pivoted to manufacture crucial PPE for hospitals and other first responders. While we were responding to events as they happened, our business was changing by the minute. Shelter-in-place orders caused many of our customers to close and orders to slow markedly. Creating a new product range on the fly was very challenging, especially given we were suddenly all working from home. We had to build an effective new supply chain despite being located half a globe away and dealing with the impairment of the Chinese manufacturing base from COVID-19.

Solution(s) derived

 We acted quickly and formed a small team to focus on making urgently needed PPE. We also worked hard to find hospitals that needed help, establish trusted relationships and rapidly build products to meet their most critical, unmet needs. We found ways around obstacles and were able to start shipping product immediately. It was a pandemic; there was no time to lose.

Influential, instrumental leaders

 It takes a huge team effort to completely disrupt your operations and turn new products around in days or weeks. We pulled from all parts of the company to make this effort work: Supply chain management, sales, finance, product development, quality control. We were excited to partner with Amazon Business to bring our newly manufactured PPE to a much wider audience through COVID-19 Supplies. Through our long working relationship with Amazon Business on school products, the company knows us well and was ready to expand into new categories with us during this critical time. 

Prepped for tomorrow

 We’re a mission-driven education company, and we work hard to make the world a better place as our business strategy. We are proud to have built strong relationships with hospitals that were facing a crisis and required support. We are still working to be helpful as the COVID challenge morphs and evolves. We have much left to accomplish and intend to find new ways to add value to Amazon Business and its customers as demand for product range broadens.

Helping healthcare workers breathe easier

Organization: Lincoln Electric
Nominators: Chase Rutti, Product Manager, Personal Protective Equipment, Lincoln Electric; Amazon Business

Challenge(s) faced

The outbreak of COVID-19 brought about a rapid increase in the demand for Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) in healthcare. As a leading global manufacturer of NIOSH-approved PAPRs, Lincoln Electric had to work quickly but effectively to meet that urgent demand. We encountered two challenges along the way, the main one being a shortage of certain components needed to build our Viking 3250D FGS Powered Air Purifying Respirator, which we assemble at our global headquarters in Cleveland. The second challenge we faced was the need to increase our daily production capacity by over 100 percent.

 Solution(s) derived

 We first focused on our component shortages as we worked with our international manufacturing locations to reduce component manufacturing lead time by 75 percent. Then we worked with Amazon to solve our transportation challenge. Amazon Global Logistics offered space for 42 pallets of components on one of their aircrafts free of charge and coordinated the arrival airport to be as geographically close to Cleveland as possible to save valuable time. Concurrently, our manufacturing team increased the size of the PAPR production site, trained additional employees on the manufacturing and assembly processes and scheduled three daily shifts to meet the increased demand.

 Influential, instrumental leaders

 This was an excellent example of cross-functional coordination and execution between various stakeholders at Amazon Business and Lincoln Electric – from logistics, to product management, to manufacturing. 

Prepped for tomorrow

 In the short term this partnership allowed us to bridge the initial component shortage and increase daily production to manufacture and deliver essential personal protective equipment to those in need. Now, four months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked to increase our component manufacturing and inventory levels to meet daily demand.

Moving PPE to the proper places

Organization: PlastCare USA
Nominators: Jason Javaherian, Owner, PlastCare USA; Amazon Business

 Challenge(s) faced

 As a strong, trusted medical products brand based out of Los Angeles, PlastCare USA was approached by customers from around the world to meet their PPE needs during COVID-19. The question was, were they vetted customers? I knew with Amazon Business that they would be, with many of them on the frontlines, versus brokers that popped up to take advantage of the PPE shortages sparked by the pandemic. Amazon Business serving as my distributor gave me a sense of confidence in the transactions we were conducting and a level of trust that I do not have with other distributors.

Influential, instrumental leaders

 The Amazon Business team was instrumental in this process of delivering PPE. My contact was with me every step of the way to help bring the right buyers in need of my products. The constant dialogue and communication was essential in making these large transactions happen online in a world that prohibited in-person transactions for safety reasons.

Prepped for tomorrow

Amazon Business put the health of its customers and associates first, just like we at PlastCare USA do. Their COVID-19 Supplies store was the first of its kind by giving businesses like mine access to vetted PPE buyers from hospitals, universities, and companies around the world. The added benefit is that Amazon Business did not charge us any seller fees in this time of need and allowed transactions to occur at scale with 100 percent confidence. I love Amazon as a consumer, and even more as a business owner. I could not have asked for a better partner.

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