By Keri Forsythe-Stephens

Today it’s infant formula; in 2021, it was semiconductor chips. Supply chain shortages are nothing new, but they’ve certainly worsened in recent years—due, in large part, to the aftershocks of COVID-19. But is the problem as dire as the media would like us to believe? And what can be done to combat such shortages, particularly as they relate to the healthcare technology management (HTM) sector?

It’s a question Chace Torres, aka: the “Bearded Biomed, and I grappled with in the May 9th episode of the MEDQOR Podcast Network, titled “HTM’s Supply Chain and Labor Shortages.” Put simply, Chace said, “Everyone is feeling the burden of supply chain issues.” But they’re not just impacting medical device parts or accessories, he asserted. “It’s a lot deeper than that.”

Keri Forsythe-Stephens, Chief Editor

During the podcast, Chace recounted how he had to wait five months for a fan motor kit used in a blanket warmer. Certainly, this device was much less critical than, say, the CT tube that was down at his facility for two weeks, but Chace said it highlights the shortages witnessed throughout the industry.

Unfortunately, medical equipment parts aren’t the only supply chain shortage the HTM sector is facing. Personnel is another key issue, Chace explained during the podcast.

“The biomed field, in general, has always had issues with retention,” Chace said. “But more so it’s been a continuous thing that we don’t have the bodies coming into the field to meet that labor shortage. I’ve heard talk of, ‘Well, that’s 10,15 years down the line.’ No, this is an issue now, which is why so many people are bringing it up year after year at conferences, on podcasts, and at biomed society meetings.”

That’s not to say that such concerns fell on deaf ears. AAMI is currently addressing the labor shortage—and seeking to bring new blood to the field—via its BMET Apprenticeship Program.

Speaking of AAMI, 24×7 is very excited to be onsite at the AAMI eXchange 2022, which takes place from June 3-6 in San Antonio. After a three-year pause on in-person events, it will be so wonderful to meet with you, my dear readers, and learn how the last few years have impacted you. Come visit me at booth 305 and introduce yourself to 24×7’s new publisher, Seth Golbe.

We have no shortage (pun semi intended) of questions to ask you.

Keri Forsythe-Stephens is chief editor of 24×7. Questions and comments can be directed to [email protected].