Hospitals across the world are dealing with the problem of understaffing, rising costs, volatile customer demand, and complicated payment mechanisms. Battling these huge issues, most healthcare firms tend to view inventory management as less than mission critical, and thereby relegate it to an ancillary function.
But most healthcare organizations need to order, store, and use a large stack of specialized equipment and materials. In this context, poor inventory management practices have a noticeably adverse impact on the working of a hospital – the staff ends up spending inordinate amount of time trying to find, track, and organize inventory.
Biggest Challenges of Inventory Management in Healthcare
There are lot of obsolete expenses, a large portion of inventory remains unutilized, a sizeable portion of goods expire on shelves and a large chunk of nursing time is spent locating and managing inventory. Lack of standard practices for forecasting inventory is also a real problem.
Legacy IT systems or even semi-manual inventory management, multiple storage locations with unreliable distribution mechanisms, lack of collaboration between different departments and branches, and lack of inventory visibility leads to artificial scarcity on one side and expiring inventory on the other.
Dig Deeper into How IT Helps Healthcare Tackle Inventory Problems:
As can be seen, inefficient or outdated inventory management practices decrease the efficiency of healthcare organizations. However, most hospitals and clinics tend to focus on reducing costs and increasing output by improving revenue cycles and nurse productivity. The question that comes to fore is: how to improve inventory management without diverting too much time and effort to it.
The answer in short is: inventory management software. Using a customized inventory management solution, healthcare organization can get:
Needless to say, all these things become possible only when the system is customized to suit the specific needs of the organization. Once such a system is customized and integrated with your processes and IT systems, the benefits are enormous:
With the shift from manual or semi-manual processes to automated processes of recording inventory-related information, the major portion of manual errors are eliminated. By using RFID, barcodes and other methods, the data is automatically gathered and recorded at different stages of the supply chain, which also reduces the need for human effort.
Many medical instruments costs thousands of dollars, while some may even cost hundreds of thousands. Whereas the loss or misuse of small instruments is not that big an issue, the wrong use or loss of costly equipment is not tolerable. Using inventory management software, not only can you track the location of medical instruments and machines, but you can also track how often they are used and whether guidelines for use are followed on each use.
Inventory loss due to stolen, misplaced or expired supplies is minimized when you integrate an inventory management software with existing systems. Better planning ensures that there is not a big gap between actual requirements and orders, while efficient tracking at every stage reduces chances of theft or misplacement. The data from the system also helps improve demand forecasting at every stage – so the benefits are incremental.
This is just a glimpse at how implementing and integrating an inventory management software can help any organization in the hospitality industry.
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