Case Study

Helping hospitals mitigate drug shortages     

The Challenge

U.S. hospitals increasingly face shortages of therapeutic drugs as a result of manufacturing problems, access to raw materials, logistical and regulatory issues, and other variables. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought this problem sharply into focus. To better manage inventories, hospital pharmacies need to understand not only the many factors leading their managers and others to order and dispense drugs, but also how those decisions impact the pharmaceutical supply chain.

With Mass General’s data and OrbitalRx’s software, we can build data-driven decision-aiding tools. We’ll all learn from each other.

Jacqueline Griffin

Associate Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

The Partnership

Northeastern researchers aim to collect those details, then build tools to help pharmacy managers make strategic, real-time decisions and plan ahead. Led by Jacqueline Griffin, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, they have teamed up with Massachusetts General Hospital and OrbitalRx, a startup with a software platform for tracking and managing pharmaceutical drug inventories.

Aided by Mass General’s OrbitalRx platform, Griffin and colleagues will collect and analyze data about the hospital pharmacy’s supply flows as staff anticipate and address shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Science Foundation is funding the collaboration.

The Goal

The partners will refine decision-support models and methods to help hospital pharmacy units mitigate drug shortages and reshape hospital policies. Mass General’s real-time data should also illuminate trends across national and global pharmaceutical supply chains, Griffin says. Their work should enable hospitals to better prepare for and respond to shortages and make supply chains more resilient.

If you can dream it, we can help you build it.

To solve a challenge—or turn an idea into reality—contact us. Our expertise is broad, ranging from experiential AI, nanoscience, and coastal sustainability to supply chain management. We can help you develop new technologies and even launch new ventures.