IRVING, Texas, April 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The I.V. Solutions shortage plagues the majority of hospitals across the United States. Based on the latest information, Novation continues to drive industry focus on the shortage of I.V. Solutions that it believes will remain a critical issue for hospitals at least through the second quarter and possibly for the foreseeable future.
At the start of shortages late last year, Novation implemented an I.V. Solutions response team to help the member hospitals it serves triage product issues and provide clinical protocol strategies. The team has been working with industry leaders, suppliers and health care organizations to find solutions and keep hospitals informed of the latest developments. Throughout the I.V. Solution shortages, Novation has been providing regular updates to the 100,000 members and affiliates of VHA, Inc., UHC, Children's Hospital Association and Provista.
"No one likes this situation, but we need to take a forward-looking view to manage through this difficult time," said Jody Hatcher, president and CEO, Novation. "The issue needs leadership across all parties. That includes a measured approach in providing the guidance and protocols necessary to help hospitals successfully navigate through the ongoing shortage, especially as any further disruption in availability could potentially put patient safety at risk."
Novation's I.V. Solutions member response team has been working on a daily basis with suppliers and monitoring trends from hospitals. For example, in a member survey of not-for-profit hospitals and academic medical centers that was just completed, respondents said they were adopting several strategies to manage the current I.V. Solutions shortage within their facilities. The top three practice changes include using available alternatives, adjusting patient doses, and allocating supply based on the clinical status and vulnerability of the patient. For alternative options, there appears to be a growing trend to encourage oral hydration.
"At the start of the I.V. Solutions shortage, as we have with other critical drug shortages facing our industry, we have been on the front end of taking every step possible to help reduce the impact on the members we serve," said Cathy Denning, RN, Senior Vice President, Sourcing Operations, Novation. "For I.V. Solutions, we think it's critically important for our industry to remain focused on the issue which is increasing costs and affecting patient care, especially in the ER, inpatient care and surgery areas."
The Latest Clinical Conservation Strategies
For clinical strategies, Novation has been working through its partnership with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the University of Utah's Drug Information Services. The latest information on intravenous solution conservation strategies can be found at the following address: http://www.ashp.org/DocLibrary/Policy/Conservation-Strategies-for-IV-Fluids.pdf
"The shortage of I.V. Solutions is incredibly difficult for clinicians because these essential products are both a supply and a treatment," stated Erin Fox, a clinical pharmacist and director of the University of Utah Drug Information Service. "Of the 305 active drug shortages we are following, the I.V. Solutions shortage is one of the most concerning because it impacts almost every patient, and there is no end in sight. We can use alternatives to manage many drug shortages, however, there are few good alternatives for I.V. Solutions that don't critically impact patient safety. I applaud Novation's unique response to this critical situation especially as they demonstrate excellence in ensuring hospital members receive the best and most up-to-date communications possible."
Current Supply Chain Guidance for Hospitals
Novation continues to work with the domestic suppliers in this space, as well as explore other industry alternatives. For example, Novation recently added new imported I.V. Solutions products from Fresenius Kabi to its pharmacy agreement. Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Fresenius Kabi USA to import additional supply of normal saline products produced in its Norway facility.
For best practices, Novation recommends that hospitals fully understand the true I.V. Solutions needs across all facilities and departments, including pharmacy managers, material managers and internal pharmacies. For ordering purposes, Novation also recommends that hospitals communicate regularly with clinicians to get feedback on what is needed based on the current status of products used throughout the hospital.
Specifically, Novation encourages members to review the latest allocation procedures currently available from the following acute care awarded suppliers.
- Baxter changed their allocation process from monthly to weekly. The weekly allocation is calculated by dividing a hospital's current monthly allocation equally into each week. If hospitals order less than the week's allocation, the remaining allocation will roll into the following week. Hospitals who order more than the week's allocation will have those orders cancelled. Baxter recommends customers continue ordering product through the same channels, either direct from Baxter, dealer, distributor or wholesales. Baxter has requested that distributors and wholesalers allocate inventory using the same methodology.
- Hospira is advising customers to prearrange their orders by planning orders two to three business days before their facility requires the delivery of products. Hospira also is encouraging hospitals with backorder issues to contact their local representative as early as possible so they can respond. Hospitals should also place orders for I.V. fluids on separate purchase orders. This will minimize disruptions if any items are on backorder.
- Hospitals experiencing the most critical shortages can also contact Novation's national response team by sending an email to IV_questions@novationco.com
About Novation, Winner of the Ethics Inside® Certification
Founded in 1998, Novation is the leading health care supply chain expertise, analytics and contracting company for the more than 100,000 members and affiliates of VHA Inc. and UHC, two national health care alliances, Children's Hospital Association, an alliance of the nation's leading pediatric facilities, and Provista, LLC. Novation provides alliance members with sourcing services, as well as information and data services. Based in Irving, Texas, Novation develops and manages competitive contracts with more than 800 suppliers. Members of VHA, UHC, Children's Hospital Association and Provista used Novation contracts to purchase approximately $49 billion in 2013. Novation has earned the coveted Ethics Inside® Certification from Ethisphere Institute, a leading international think tank dedicated to the research and promotion of best practices in corporate ethics and compliance. Novation was also named on Ethisphere's World's Most Ethical Companies list and is the only company in the health care industry to earn both distinctions for three consecutive years. To learn more about Novation, please visit http://www.novationco.com and follow @NovationNews.