HHS gauges industry’s appetite for sharing data on medical supply availability

The information would flow to a "supply chain IT control tower" allowing for real-time visibility across the Strategic National Stockpile, according to a new RFI.
(Getty Images)

The Department of Health and Human Services wants to know if industry can feasibly share information through a “supply chain IT control tower” to allow for real-time visibility across the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) of medical supplies.

DSNS is a division of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), which supplements state and local medical supplies when they are low during emergencies.

In a wide-ranging request for information (RFI) on May 15, ASPR said it needs technology to track inventory and predict where it will be needed in response the coronavirus pandemic. According to the RFI, the stockpile currently lacks a reserve of personal protective equipment like face masks and gloves, as well as the necessary ventilators, pharmaceuticals and testing supplies.

Industry partners are needed for storing and managing inventory, ramping up production when needed, and providing logistics for rapid distribution. And the data they collect on those operations would flow back to the supply chain IT control tower, per this graphic from the document:


In addition to asking industry the benefits and risks of such a “tower,” the RFI inquires about emerging 3D printing, blockchain, and warehouse and delivery automation tech it might leverage. HHS wants to know where it might invest and what incentives government can provide to improve the availability of coronavirus medical supplies and reduce reliance on foreign markets.

The department gave industry until 2 p.m. ET on May 29 to respond.


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