Solve healthcare inventory management with technology

Think for a second about ordering pizza with a group of friends. You’ve got one person who loves sausage but hates olives, another who has to have peppers and doesn’t eat meat, and a third who insists on pineapple for reasons beyond anyone’s understanding. Nobody can agree on toppings, so you order a pizza for everyone. Each person eats from their personal pie and throws out what they can’t finish.

It’s a ridiculously wasteful idea, right? And yet something similar happens every day in hospital supply chain. According to a report from Navigant, lack of supply chain standardization costs hospitals an estimated $24 billion each year, and the problem is only amplified in operating rooms, where the inventory is more expensive, and where physicians often have preferred items they want on hand for each procedure.

It doesn’t have to be that way. An effective hospital inventory management system provides clear data about the items physicians actually use. This allows hospitals to establish a standard set of supplies based on actual use – in other words, the pizza everyone can eat – and waste less. That same Navigant report finds that standardization can help hospitals reduce cost by as much as 18 percent.

There are other benefits, too. Automating hospital supply chain helps ensure inventory is on hand when it’s needed. When you consider studies that show as many as 40 percent of physicians have cancelled surgeries and 69 percent have rescheduled procedures because they didn’t have the necessary supplies in stock, the importance of this becomes very clear. Not only do shortages increase costs for hospitals, they disrupt patient care and can negatively influence patient satisfaction.

Operating rooms, in particular, can be challenging places to manage inventory. Clinicians have to move quickly and efficiently, which leaves little time for tracking changes in supply utilization. And it’s not uncommon that supplies or devices are used that weren’t on the preference card to begin with -- such is the case with trunk stock. As a result, as much as 30 percent of charge capture is missed in the OR setting.

Inventory management and standardization of supplies in the OR can deliver savings and improve patient care, which is something everyone can agree on. Read more about this topic, including insights from Jump Technologies CEO John Freund in this recent Healthcare Purchasing News article.