Best Practices for Healthcare Inventory Management
Among the many truths highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic is that healthcare organizations need precise and reliable inventory management practices. As PPE and masks dwindled and demand outran inventory, a new awareness of inventory management practices took hold. While many supply chain impacts of the pandemic were not avoidable, getting specific about inventory management at health facilities can help keep supplies appropriately stocked in the future. Following a few best practices can prevent unexpected stockouts as well as costly unnecessary overflow in the stock room.
1. Track Inventory in Real Time
Medical organizations can stay ahead of their ordering needs by tracking their inventory in real time. Medical supplies move quickly, and each item comes with its own set of specific details: some items have expiration dates or strict controls due to regulated ingredients, and items are sourced from multiple suppliers. These details make accurate tracking of inventory particularly complicated.
Especially due to staffing shortages across industries, many healthcare organizations now struggle to find the manpower to keep track of inventory in real time. Staff are needed elsewhere in order to provide a positive patient experience, and inventory management quickly falls to the wayside. Unfortunately, inventory management is bound to draw attention again when supplies begin falling short of an organization’s needs and the lead time to replenish them is longer than expected. Tracking each of these details as well as overall supply levels in real time is vital in order to ensure the highest quality of patient care.
Fortunately, there are solutions such as eTurns TrackStock software that allow for real-time tracking, while reducing overall demand on labor. With user-friendly barcode-scanning phone apps and weight sensors, this medical inventory management software tracks inventory in real time, ensuring that you save money by mitigating “just in case” inventory while also optimizing patient care by keeping you fully stocked.
2. Mitigate Human Error Opportunities
In addition to worsening labor shortage issues, relying on staff to complete all tracking of medical supplies manually also opens the door to human error. Even the best-trained team is bound to make mistakes now and again, and busy medical professionals trying to close gaps due to short staffing have plenty of other things on their plate to worry about. At the same time, human error in healthcare inventory management can lead to costly supply surpluses or dangerous shortages.
Mitigating opportunities for human error by delegating inventory tracking to a reliable app or software can save healthcare organizations both time and money, as long as the right medical inventory management solution is selected. Switching to more automated inventory management can also help decrease the amount of human touch points each product sees, thus reducing the risk of spreading viruses.
Instead of dedicating countless staff hours to keeping up with inventory only to still experience the downfalls of human error, many healthcare organizations are making the switch to a completely hands-off approach. With eTurns SensorBins, internet-connected sensors monitor on-hand quantity levels using the weight of an item in a bin. When the weight measures below a user-defined minimum, this signals to the system that it’s time to replenish. This order is automatically placed straight to the distributor and stockouts become a thing of the past.
Most medical facilities utilize multiple suppliers. This usage-based replenishment system works regardless of the supplier, and provides physical inventory counts of quantity on hand anytime a user wants it. Streamlining these touchpoints ultimately saves time and money for medical providers.
3. Automate Inventory Replenishment Workflows
From manually completing price comparisons to counting inventory by hand, the processes involved in tracking inventory levels and ordering replenishment in a timely manner can consume extensive amounts of employee time. These workflows lose healthcare organizations both time and money, impacting every facet of daily operations as materials and budget remain out of sync.
Medical inventory management software from eTurns can automate and streamline these workflows so that employee time is better spent, unnecessary errors are minimized, and inventory levels remain optimized. This software also allows for powerful analytics and reporting so that organizations can stay up to date on inventory use and transaction data. With streamlined and automated processes in place, medical facilities can cut costs while reducing stockouts.
With eTurns, you can implement efficient and cost-effective automation to save resources.
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