medical-supply-management

The “Necessary Evil” of Medical Inventory Management: Is There a Better Way?

Spread the love

A recent study found many hospitals struggle with medical inventory management, and such work as a frustrating but “necessary evil.” This is understandable given the size and complexities of the typical facility. Are there strategies for bringing this challenge under control to better serve patients?

The Knowledge Problem

Everyone wants to track their supply usage and anticipate shortages. But the reality is the typical busy day makes it hard to accurately monitor item movement in and out of the supply room. Some providers may try to use simple software or even Excel to record item movement. This becomes unworkable as your operation grows and you utilize more inventory.

In contrast, barcode scanning has opened a new frontier for medical inventory management. Scanning items in and out let you keep track of supply levels in real-time. Advanced barcodes even capture item details and other useful information. Coupled with good inventory management software, you can anticipate shortages and know when to order, and how much to order.

A good system will also use the minimum and maximum stock levels and alert you when levels are too low or too high. Many facilities over excessive amounts of product that then expires on the shelf, costing you money. Combined with expiration date tracking, stock level control avoids this problem and lets you keep the exact amount of inventory you need. This reduces waste and lets you control your spending.

The System Problem

For many hospitals, the problem lies in their system, or lack of one, for managing inventory. Technology has advanced so that software is available that is both powerful and affordable. Modern systems can track thousands of items and also provide data reporting that lets you pinpoint trouble spots or high-spend areas. Cloud-based technology also lets hospitals avoid the burden of maintenance and trouble-shooting. Used correctly, a good medical inventory management program can quickly pay for itself and be an asset for the long-term health of your facility.

In a difficult healthcare industry environment, facilities will need to find new ways to both reduce costs and provide excellent care. Effective inventory management is an easy win that is both long overdue and now more attainable than ever. With the right tools, you can be sure to make great strides in this important area.