New Communications Tool Helps Standardize Shortage Communications

April 2020

HIDA Government Affairs Update

By David Forbes
HIDA Director of Healthcare Supply Chain Collaborative

New shortages and backorders report is based on a successful model already widely used by healthcare providers and the military

Supply chain executives have partnered to create a new Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation report designed for manufacturers to communicate key information about product shortages and backorders. By sharing this critical information, distributors and provider organizations can better partner with each other and manufacturers by standardizing communications about shortages – or potential shortages.

HIDA’s Collaborative and the Strategic Marketplace Initiative (SMI) jointly released the SBAR Report On Shortage/Backorder Event to help better manage a current or expected backorder or shortage. The report is designed to facilitate communication between providers and distributors. It was developed with input from GPOs, manufacturers, distributors, and providers, capturing key perspectives from a broad cross-section of industry leaders.

“It’s a huge step toward standardizing communication channels during product disruptions,” said Chaun Powell, Group VP at Premier. “We applaud the effort by the teams at HIDA and SMI to bring this to reality.”

An SBAR communications tool already has been widely embraced throughout healthcare provider settings to achieve clear and concise transfer of patient clinical information from one healthcare provider or professional to another during patient handoff. Just like communication failure in a healthcare setting could lead to medical errors, lack of continuity in the supply chain could lead to weaknesses in product availability – and ultimately impact patient care.

Example of the SBAR Report in a Supply Chain Setting

Situation: Manufactura Inc.’s disposable non-sterile apparel products are experiencing a product backorder. The event impacts all catalog numbers and lots.

Background: Products are experiencing constriction in supply due to production labor constraints and foreign government supply sequestration. There is also a significant increase in demand, impacting existing inventory. Both supply and demand pressures are a direct result of COVID-19.

Assessment: There will be limited product availability as domestic production is increased. The estimated duration of this disruption is 4-6 months.

Recommendation: Visit the Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s website for recommendations for healthcare providers specific to proper use of PPE during this event. At this time there are no known alternative therapies or products.

The SBAR Report On Shortage/Backorder Event is a free PDF download available to HIDA members and non-members. It’s available at


SBAR originally was developed by the U.S. Navy as a communications technique to be used on nuclear submarines. In the late 1990s, it was adopted by the healthcare industry. The World Health Organization and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality are just two of the healthcare stakeholder groups that recognize SBAR as a reliable and validated communications tool.

To learn more about HIDA’s efforts to increase supply chain visibility, connect with David Forbes at HIDA:.


Manpreet Kaur Sandhu

Manpreet Kaur Sandhu»
Program Manager, Healthcare Supply Chain Collaborative