We’ve all heard of the effect that a shortage of something can have on the market, but this is something else entirely. We’re talking about life and death. Recently the world has been experiencing a significant chip shortage. This chip shortage is expected to last for at least another year and could affect millions of people around the globe. It will also significantly affect the medical industry, particularly regarding medical devices and advanced healthcare systems.
Chips are the key to all modern electronics, from computers and smartphones to medical equipment. They are tiny electronic components (semiconductors) that conduct electricity and amplify signals. They’re also tiny — just microns big (a micron is 1/1000th of a millimeter). Millions of transistors form an integrated circuit (IC) or microchip.
In a nutshell, chips are the brains of today’s technology. They process information and perform calculations on computers, smartphones, and other devices, and they also control motors and other functions. Without them, our world would be quite different — and not as advanced or connected as it is today.
The global chip shortage began in 2016 and has lasted until now, causing major issues for manufacturers of medical devices and systems. The shortage has affected everything from pacemakers to MRI machines, causing problems for patients and creating delays in production for companies that rely on these chips to produce their products.
The global chip shortage has been attributed to several factors, including decreased demand for semiconductors in PCs and smartphones and increased demand from data centers and IoT devices. There is also concern about tariffs on China-based chips, further exacerbating the situation.
The chip shortage affects many industries and products, but healthcare needs should be at the top of any list. As a result of this shortage, medical equipment manufacturers are having trouble getting their hands on parts needed to produce medical equipment like pacemakers, defibrillators, and other life-saving devices.
The global chip shortage has disrupted life-saving medical device manufacturers across the board. This includes cardiac devices like pacemakers and defibrillators used in emergencies or during surgery; neurostimulation systems that treat chronic pain or Parkinson’s disease symptoms; neurosurgery tools like microdebriders used to remove tumors; and many more life-saving devices that are critical.
The shortage of chips will affect hospitals by making them less efficient at providing care to patients. This is because many hospitals are now digitizing their operations using computers and other technologies requiring more of these chips.
In addition, many hospitals have invested in technology that allows them to monitor patients remotely to monitor their conditions after they leave the hospital or even while they’re still there. This means that hospitals need more chips than ever before just to keep operating at full capacity, much less improve services or invest in new ones.
Aside from the supply chain issues affecting durable medical equipment, disposable medical supply chains have also experienced numerous issues as well. And when we speak of healthcare becoming more digitized, the old, antiquated healthcare systems need to be left in the past. The issues outlined above amongst many more is reason why upstarts like the Seattle-based online medical supply store bttn were founded over the past couple of years and are growing incredibly fast due to the immense value they offer to healthcare organizations big and small.
By providing incredible insights into medical supply products, supply chain issues, and more, they are helping healthcare procurement teams stay ahead of the challenges and purchase their most high demand medical supplies from only premium brand suppliers in advance, while ensuring their supply is in stock – all while saving them 20-40% off their medical supply bills over the course of a year.
No one knows if and/or when the next black swan event will hit, let alone ongoing geo-political conflicts, port closures, or anything else that will disrupt the supply chains like chip shortages, yet embracing technology, AI, and big data will only help healthcare stay ahead of these issues.