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Role of Efficient Inventory Management In the HealthCare Industry

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Hospitals are one place where maintaining a stable and stocked inventory is very crucial as the life of many individuals depend on it. Therefore the operations in a hospital cannot be hindered by irregular inventory. Hence the importance of inventory management in the healthcare care Industry is of paramount importance. Sudden requirements and that too of a macro nature inside a hospital can only be fulfilled by having an effective hospital inventory management system in place.

What is an inventory management system?

What is an inventory management system

For any organization, the importance of an inventory management system can simply be deduced from the fact that allocating and utilizing resources properly is one of the main requirements for ensuring operational efficiency. Knowing what is the status of inventory, how it is stacked up and where to utilize each and every resource, is the main feature of having an inventory management system. The role of the inventory management system is to do exactly this i.e., track, manage, evaluate and present the status of inventory to an organization so that the organization can make better decisions and streamline its actions properly.

Types of Inventory Management Systems

Types of Inventory Management Systems

There are 3 most prominent types of inventory management systems that take care of all the inventory details, they are:

Manual Inventory Management System – This is the oldest and most common type of hospital inventory management system. Tracking of inventories was done by counting them manually and therefore it was more prone to errors and shortcomings. This system of tracking inventory involves manual calculations, record keeping via spreadsheets and decision-making based on it.

Perpetual Inventory Management System –This is opposite to manual inventory management software because the calculations here are done digitally with real-time transaction-to-transaction tracking of data. The inventory changes are regularly updated and orders for depleting items are made timely. This system is good for organizations looking to automate and streamline their operations.

Periodic Inventory Management System –This combines elements from both manual and perpetual inventory management systems allowing employees to adopt changes at their own convenience. This system suits best for organizations maintaining small inventories because large inventories can be maintained accurately only when transaction-by-transaction and item-by-item automated inventory management system is deployed.

Hospital Inventory Management Best Practices

Having a proper medical inventory management system in place would ensure that the patients are always taken care of and all their requirements are met in time. The inventory consists of all the medical equipment, medicines, surgical equipment, and prescriptions. These are mainly of low value yet their availability is something that cannot be hindered.

Further, the role of inventory management is also to take care of higher-value equipment which accounts for a major the portion of the hospital’s budget, tracking, and administration. Therefore the job of an effective medical inventory management system would be to keep track of this high-value equipment as they are crucial for maintaining the financial health of the hospital.

Below are the best practices of Hospital inventory management:

  1. The most important aspect of an inventory is organization. An inventory where every item is not arranged properly and symmetrically would be considered unstable. A disorganized inventory would lead to poor resource allocation and wrong decision-making affecting the operational efficiency of any conglomerate.

  1. Resource allocation is one of the key functions of a good hospital inventory management system because what to use an item and who will use that item is a key problem for any management and a stable inventory management system in a hospital would solve that issue via the presence of an organized and comprehensive inventory.

  1. Barcodes, tags and stickers are one of the best practices to track the inventory inside a hospital. These small little symbols when combined with digital tracking software would enable the hospital management to get real-time data on each and every item in the inventory which would greatly impact how operations are performed.

  1. Collecting data and evaluating them is one of the major practices of a good inventory management system as after operations have been performed tracking what items need to be restocked again would be a key requirement for future operations and also prepare the hospital to stay ahead of the demand curve.

Challenges to efficient inventory management in the medical industry

One of the most common challenges faced by the medical industry in terms of inventory management is that of manual management. The manual methodology of tracking and managing inventory can be very inefficient and time-consuming as gaining a detailed overview of stock levels, maintenance schedules, and expiration dates cannot be done based on assumptions. In the medical industry, where people’s lives are on the line, the importance of inventory billing software cannot be ruled out as incorrect inventory information can prove to be disastrous.

Below are the most common challenges occurring in the healthcare industry due to manual inventory management:

  1. Inaccuracy –The most common issue with manual inventory management is the inaccuracy of data. The medical industry is one where assumptions do not work as the lives of many patients are at stake. Manual tracking of inventory would only make the situation worse as there is a high chance of error in the way the information is created and this can lead to disastrous outcomes where the requirements of the patients might not be met on time, leading to chaos all around. Hence, the importance of inventory management in a hospital is to literally be the backbone of the entire operation by providing accurate information about the inventory all the time.

  1. Delayed tracking of inventory –In manual inventory creation and tracking, the probability of delays is high. Time is a crucial factor and real-time tracking of inventory would enable the hospital to function properly. So, the role of inventory management software is to always be online and make any changes then and there. Hospitals can enable themselves to function smoothly because a delayed tracking of inventory would also affect the reliability of the data, which would further lead to ambiguity and hamper the day-to-day work of the hospital.

  1. Lost or Missing Inventory –Tracking inventories manually can give rise to situations where properly creating reports about any missing, lost, or stolen items can become a critical issue. Therefore, having an effective medical inventory management system can make sure that reports are generated as and when required that can give out information regarding each and every discrepancy in the inventory.

Hospital inventory management benefits

Hospital inventory management benefits

The benefits of proper inventory management are for the entire hospital staff, including cleaning personnel, administrative bodies, doctors, nurses, and also patients. The benefits of having an accurate, automated, and portable inventory management system that can assist every medical practitioner and institution are:

  1. Interoperability across Organizations

Traditional inventory tracking systems such as Excel sheets are often accessible to one person and are not cloud-capable, which makes it difficult for other concerned users to access the data. Various important staff members must have access to the inventory system across multiple devices in real time for inventory management software to be effective. This enables the team to not only manage information while on the move but also make informed decisions when required.

  1. User-Friendly

When deploying a new and advanced hospital inventory management software, it is critical to examine how easy to learn and use the system is on a regular basis. If the system is too complex then employees might feel uneasy to use the software and can get discouraged from using it completely, leading to an additional operational issue.

  1. Reduce Costs & Efforts

Employees spend less time on complex and boring inventory-related duties if the hospital brings into action an effective inventory management system that keeps track of all the supplies and equipment. Therefore the productivity of staff members can be utilized in other operational departments leading to a better quality of service and effectiveness. The reason to employ medical inventory management software is that there are inventories that are expensive, and losing or misplacing them can be a costly affair. Hence the hospital inventory management software will track where all equipment is and where it would be utilized, this would enable one to know the status of inventories exactly and alert the concerned authority when it’s time to re-order. Therefore inventory management not only knows what’s in your inventory but also where it’s stored.

  1. Staying Compliant

Being always compliant is a key requirement in the medical industry because many healthcare professionals have access to a number of prohibited and dangerous substances. So, hospitals must meet regulatory and compliance standards. Care providers, medical clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies are obligated by law to report any regulated medications that have either been lost, misplaced, or stolen. Medical organizations that do not have an accurate, up-to-date inventory system may face potential dangers due to legal penalties in case of any mishap and if records are ever demanded by a government entity.

Conclusion

The role of inventory management software in the medical industry is quite paramount. Having a customizable hospital inventory management system is one of the key necessities to ensure a stable and proper medical inventory supply chain that works for all participants and can deal with the complicated and unpredictable healthcare sector. Healthcare inventory management requires a product that can satisfy its complicated needs, optimize inventory levels based on actual need, and considerably minimize loss, waste, and costs which would improve the overall operational the output of the hospital

FAQs

  1. Need of inventory management in the hospital?

Hospitals is not profit-making venture, rather it’s a place where the lives of many people are at stake. They deal in critical chemicals and equipment that can prove to be harmful if used incorrectly. Therefore, an inventory management system would help the hospital in tracking all the items properly and making informed operational decisions to generate favourable outcomes.

  1. How inventory management affects doctors?

Doctors are at the front of most important operational activities i.e., to treat the patients correctly. If they are not provided with adequate resources then it can severely affect the lives of many patients leading to disastrous outcomes. A good hospital inventory management system would give doctors the confidence to approach each and every patient with ease and treat them properly without worrying about any resource crunch.

  1. Which inventory type is best for hospital, manual or perpetual?

For a hospital their area of operation is often large and critical. A minor error can also lead to disastrous outcomes. Therefore a perpetual inventory management system is the aptest type of hospital inventory management system.

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