The COVID-19 pandemic brought widespread awareness to the fragility of the medical supply chain. The pandemic did not break the medical supply chain, but was just the latest failure of a fragile system. Medication and medical supply shortages were frequent and common before the pandemic and will continue to occur. These shortages threaten the safety and quality of patient care by causing delays in care, rationing and denial of care, use of substandard products, and errors caused by use of unfamiliar medications and products.

With the knowledge that shortages are inevitable, clinicians and clinical practices should embrace a proactive approach by developing a plan for mitigating the safety threats from shortages before they occur. Clinical practices should consider designating a supply chain “officer.” This clinician should establish a direct line of communication with the personnel in charge of the acquisition and distribution of supplies within your health system to anticipate...

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