Blog Posts

Greening the Healthcare Supply Chain

May 26, 2021

Healthcare pollutes and supply chain is the primary driver. Reducing emissions fits squarely within health systems’ social mission of improving the wellbeing of the communities they serve and within the global fight against climate change. Accurate measurement of emissions at the facility-level is the crucial first step to decarbonizing the healthcare sector. Hospitals can then set quantifiable targets for emissions reduction. Within the hospital supply chain, the key methods of decarbonization are:

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Conversation: The UDI System and Global Regulatory Harmonization

February 10, 2021

The conversation below is a moderated discussion between Rich Kucera, CEO of Symmetric Health Solutions, and Terrie Reed, Director of Partner Relationships. It covers how problems in medical device identification gave rise to the UDI System in the US, what issues remained after its introduction, and why a global UDI system will be most effective if regulations are in harmony around the world.

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Uighur Forced Labor & Xinjiang-based Medical Device Manufacturers

January 28, 2021

China’s internment of Uighur Muslims, an ethnic minority in Xinjiang province, continues to present an alarming violation of human rights. Reports of Uighur “re-education” camps have turned into signs of forced labor, and companies with manufacturing ties to Xinjiang must ask themselves if there is forced labor occuring in their supply chain. Medical device manufacturers must do so as well, particularly as demand for many medical supplies skyrockets amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Further, it is incumbent on governments to work to identify instances of forced labor in products arriving on their shores. For the awareness of manufacturers and distributors sourcing from China, we compiled a list of companies whose FDA registration and listing shows that they operate in Xinjiang.

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Realizing the Full Potential of Medical Device Registries

October 30, 2020

Registries serve a unique role in public health. However, there remain key hurdles to fully realizing the potential of registries to improve medical device research and safety.

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Scanning and the Medical Supply Chain

September 25, 2020

Grocery stores use their barcodes. Items are scanned at each step as they make their way to customers. Scanning simplifies inventory management for grocers, because everything is tracked. And ultimately, shoppers benefit. When there is a food recall, manufacturers notify distributors within hours, and because items were scanned, retailers can pull items from shelves within hours by scanning items’ UPC barcodes and determining whether the lot is affected by the recall.

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List of Medical Supplies at Risk of Shortage During COVID-19

July 13, 2020

As the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, emerged as a major threat to global health, we began compiling a list of critical supplies that would face high risk of shortage. The list was generated organically as we received requests from health systems asking us to provide data on different categories of affected medical supplies. In addition to data on US medical supplies, the list also includes items approved in Canada and Italy. The original list was published in April, and we have since updated it continuously.

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A Roadmap for UDI Adoption

July 8, 2020

Barriers to providers' adopting unique device identifiers (UDIs) as a key in hospital product data are rapidly falling away. Many health systems choose to adopt UDI (GTINs are the most common type of UDI) during an ERP migration -- for example, while moving to Lawson Infor CloudSuite, Workday or Meditech Expanse. As a natural period of transition, migrations are a good time to cleanse current item master data with UDI information prior to upload into the new ERP.

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How can UDI help the COVID-19 response

July 2, 2020

COVID-19 has highlighted challenges in supply chains across the world, and none more so than in healthcare supply chains. Hospitals needed to quickly track their current inventory and react to changes in the availability of the medical supplies they purchase. But understanding hospital inventory in detail and making purchasing decisions informed by data are longstanding challenges that pre-date the pandemic. The surge in product demand for COVID-19 related supplies exacerbated these problems. Health systems that are using Unique Device Identifiers (UDIs) as part of their COVID response strategy can better understand the items they are purchasing, track them and thus react quickly to disruptions.

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What is a unique device identifier (UDI)?

June 30, 2020

Unique device identifiers (UDIs) were established by the FDA "to adequately identify medical devices sold in the United States from manufacturing through distribution to patient use.” Some hospitals might know UDIs by the organizations that issue them: GS1 (GTINs), HIBCC (UPNs), and ICCBBA (ISBT-128).

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Terrie Reed, Former Senior Advisor to FDA, Joins Symmetric

June 8, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Terrie Reed, the former Associate Director of Informatics at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will be joining the Symmetric team as Director of Partner Relationships.

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A Process for Vetting New Suppliers

May 19, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unique procurement challenges that require vetting new suppliers fast. Hospitals are negotiating shortages in product categories ranging from PPE to ventilators and bronchoscopes. There is also competition from other hospitals, and from local, state and federal authorities trying to secure similar products.

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High-Risk Medical Devices Part III: UDI Usage in Implant Recall Events

December 27, 2019

This blog post is the third in a series where we’ll be sharing statistics around medical device recalls, adverse events, and reported product problems to explore what kinds of analysis one can do by linking different medical device data sources.

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Symmetric Health Solutions Wins SCAN Health Design Competition

October 22, 2019

BATON ROUGE -- Symmetric Health Solutions was awarded first place in the 2019 design competition held by the Supply Chain Advancement Network in Health (SCAN Health) in partnership with the Healthcare Transformation Group and sponsored by Intalere on Tuesday. The competition was dedicated to finding a “single source of truth” for product data.

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High-Risk Medical Devices Part II: Top 20 Medical Device Recalls by Type

May 1, 2019

This blog post is the second in a series where we’ll be sharing some statistics around medical device recalls, adverse events, and reported product problems to explore what kinds of analysis one can do by linking different medical device data sources.

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High-Risk Medical Devices: Top 20 Device Adverse Event Categories

April 10, 2019

This blog post is the first in a series where we’ll be sharing some statistics around medical device recalls, adverse events, and reported product problems to explore what kinds of analysis one can do by linking different medical device data sources.

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