Buying from domestic producers of medical supplies can build more resilient medical supply chains if healthcare takes steps including responding to offers of help in a coordinated way, identifying alternative suppliers before they’re needed, and holding disaster-preparation drills that test supply availability, reports Harvard Business Review.

These distributed producers—linked by digital platforms and operating in their own communities—represent a fundamentally different model than the traditional, centralized manufacturing paradigm on which the U.S. health care system has depended. They may never achieve the low costs of large overseas factories, but they do offer much needed strengths, including rapid response times and accessibility in times of crisis. If we put to work what we learned about distributed domestic production during the pandemic, we can create stronger and more resilient health care supply chains before the next inevitable black swan event occurs.

I’ve been studying how supply chains broke down during the early days of the pandemic, and how communities across the country stepped up to keep health care facilities operational in the face of unprecedented supply shortages. Based on months of archival research and dozens of interviews with engineers, doctors, and health care executives, I’ve come up with some steps we can take now to put in place a more resilient health care supply infrastructure and avoid a repeat of what happened in 2020:

Read more in the Harvard Business Review.