Healthcare inventory management can be particularly challenging when excess materials are ordered and hospitals have limited storage space. A recent article for CFO magazine stated these issues can lead decision-makers to shift their focus away from important business issues and be a source of constant stress for these professionals. Below is a list of common errors healthcare facilities make when trying to solve these problems, which can end up creating more havoc.
Invest in additional storage space
While excess inventory may be kept at a different facility, it doesn't change the fact that the organization failed to order the right amount of equipment and materials, such as bandages, medical supplies, etc., that need to be inventoried. Furthermore, storage space can vary in price and, in some instances, can drain the healthcare firm of backup funding. Instead of leasing more space to store excess materials, decision-makers at healthcare centers should focus on how inventory problems occur and save money on storage facilities. Throwing away more money after already purchasing excess inventory can dramatically affect how budgets are impacted in the future.
Failing to train employees to use software
Many healthcare organizations track and manage their inventory with software solutions that can help employees understand who placed orders and which doctors requested certain equipment. Healthcare firms shouldn't stop after they invest in their inventory management software; they should also pay for training to ensure those working with the technology know how to properly use them. An article for Material Handling & Logistics magazine revealed leaving staff members to try to learn how to use software themselves can be a huge mistake, and compound on the error made when ordering excess materials.
Tracking inventory on a yearly basis
Sometimes, healthcare organizations won't even know they have made an inventory mistake until they do their annual physical tracking at the end of the year. The magazine stated these strategies are not only less effective than doing smaller cycle counting and reconciling, but may also lead to facilities ordering an excess or deficit of equipment, which jeopardizes physicians' abilities to properly care for their patients. By integrating software and more regular checks of inventory, health care firms can cut down on the amount of times orders are placed and inventory errors occur.