Hospital inventory management is tough business. It involves constant scrutiny by hospital administrators and staff to ensure that products aren’t understocked so that they’re unable to meet demands or overstocked which causes storage issue and financial burden. Hospitals often struggle with inventory management because it’s composed of mostly medical supplies like swabs, needles, syringes, bandages etc., and managing it entails a lot of effort and resources.
In today’s day and age, there are a lot of ways to ensure effective hospital inventory management doesn’t become a burden on company finances. From using hospital management software to better organising practices, the list of ways in which cost-effective stock management can be performed is pretty diverse.
Let’s dig in.
Implement Viable Organising & Labelling Practices
The biggest challenge to inventory management in hospitals arises from bad organising practices. Faulty practices like haphazard organising, putting things in the wrong places, mismanagement, wrong labelling of items etc. can hamper a hospital’s operations and inadvertently, affecting their bottom line.
In light of this, hospitals should implement organising practices that minimise inventory mismanagement. Employing common practices like designating space in your closets and supply room for each type of product is an effective way to keep your inventory well organised. For example, designate a space in your hospital premises for injections which contains needles and syringes, a separate space for IVs and other related paraphernalia, and so on. Additionally, hospitals can also improve their inventory management by stocking products, which are about to expire, towards the front so that they are used first. This practice minimises loss of inventory, waste of resources and consequently, financial loss.
Wrong labelling of products has a significant impact on inventory management as it leads to wrongful assessment and reporting of products in stock. A hospital is severely affected when
products are labelled incorrectly. That’s because wrong labelling gives the idea that the volume of a certain product, in stock, is more or less than it actually is. This leads to either excess purchase or no purchase at all. Such problems can be solved by training your staff in proper labelling practices and setting regulatory standards that help in the prevention of mislabelling. This includes, implementing a barcode tagging system for products, double-checking labels and so on.
Speaking of training staff,
Train your Staff in Inventory Management
Your hospital’s staff are the ones who access the inventory on a regular basis. This includes managing and keeping a track of where medical equipment are kept and how to get them. Inventory mismanagement by staff takes place when they aren’t aware of common practices such as taking things from assigned places and keeping the unused products back in the same place. Or, when they fail to check the shelf-life of products to determine which products need to be used immediately.
Your best bet to reduce inventory management cost is to train your staff in handling medical supplies. Explain, in detail, the impact of poor inventory handling as well as the effect it has on the business side of the hospital. Train them in checking the shelf-life of products to maximise utility and minimise loss. Clarify their roles and responsibilities in managing inventory and the do’s and don’ts that need to be adhered to. Training them in proper inventory management practices would help in maintaining accountability of your inventory.
Implement Advanced Technology
It’s a no brainer that technological advancements have propelled businesses all over the world, to be better and more efficient. The same applies to hospitals where hospital management software has helped hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in streamlining their operations and making it more efficient.
Your hospital would benefit from various verticals of hospital management like OPD management, pharmacy management, OT management etc. A hospital management software like Med-E-Nova provides solutions for all financial, clinical and operational activities in a hospital. It has separate modules that can handle the various activities pertaining to front desk, OPD, pharmacy, inpatient management, operation theatre activities, delivery room activities, laundry, HR management, accounting, store & purchase, MIS report generation, etc. It’s a great hospital management software for hospitals of all scale and sizes, who are looking for a reliable and all-inclusive solution.
Leverage Supply Chain Reports
The supply chain process of your hospital has a lot to offer when it comes to inventory management. Supply chain reports outline the details of a consignment, stock valuation, the volume of stock received and consumed by the hospital, items used in patient care, etc. Hospitals can use this data to assess their inventory and identify areas where improvements can be made. For example, a hospital could use the data about the volume of injections and related products received and then judge if their procurement is over or below their requirement. In either case, they can then deploy measures to check over/under stocking.
Good inventory practices will not only help hospitals decrease operational cost but will also improve their operations by leaps and bounds. Employ the tips above to better manage your hospital’s inventory and reduce overall cost incurred.