The healthcare supply chain as I know it has changed in the last few weeks.  What once was a meticulous process of evaluating medical supplies before they were brought into the hospital is now something that needs to be done quickly, but effectively.  We have been faced with shortages basically overnight. 

In healthcare, before you bring in a new medical supply it goes through a value analysis committee to make sure it is the best product with the best price for the organization.  It’s compared with other products that are similar.  It’s put through tests and trials.  Once decided on the best product, its anticipated usage is calculated so the manufacturer knows how much to make and the distributor knows how much to stock.  This process can take months. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing backorders and shortages of medical supplies that we typically use, we don’t have months to compare and trial products before bringing them in.  We have weeks, maybe even days.  It’s important to be innovative and in a timely manner. That is why we at Windom Area Health are very thankful and grateful for local MN companies switching from what they typically make to making something that can be used during this COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few companies that we have been working with:

  • Tattersall, a distillery out of Minneapolis, is making hand sanitizer.  It has a website called where they have chosen to “prioritize organizations that comprise of and serve people most at risk of spreading the coronavirus.”  Tattersall delivered some samples of their hand sanitizer to our Infection Prevention nurse (who is also owner of Forbidden Barrel Brewing of Worthington) for use in our hospital. They thought of us during this time, thinking we may be short on hand sanitizer.
  • Bedford, a company out of Worthington that usually makes twist ties and bendable components, is now making face shields.  They graciously donated some masks for us to quickly use on a trial run.  An order was then placed and we will have these this week.
  • UCU Inc out of New Ulm, a wholesale company that usually makes padded seat cushions, is now making reusable isolation gowns.  Our order should be in next week.
  • Our Emergency Preparedness Director, Greg Holt, also used his time and talent to develop a fiberglass guard at the reception desk and ER desk to help protect staff and patients.

Windom Area Health’s number one goal is to take care of and protect our patients.  In order to do that, we must protect our frontline staff and give them the needed and very important personal protective equipment so that they can continue serving safely through this pandemic. 

By Jeanna Lacanne

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