8 Ways Medical Inventory Software Helps Healthcare Workers
In the healthcare industry, maintaining a well-stocked inventory is crucial. Swabs, syringes, medication, tools, equipment—there is so much to keep track of, and even one small error can significantly impact the quality of care provided to patients.
Optimizing healthcare inventory is in the best interests of all facilities. However, the cost of maintaining medical and surgical supplies can be remarkably high. As per 2020 data, most hospitals with 25 beds or less spent an average of $2.5 million on medical supplies. Facilities with more than 250 beds easily spent an average of $62.2 million just to maintain their inventory.
Hospital inventory costs a fortune, and unfortunately, not all healthcare providers get the most out of their investments. Often, stock is damaged, expired, or mishandled before use.
A smart solution to this widespread issue?
Medical inventory software systems.
But are these just expensive investments that will increase overheads? Or are they the best cost-effective solutions to inventory-related problems in the healthcare industry?
This article explores how medical inventory software will help healthcare workers provide top-notch patient care services.
But first, let us discuss what medical inventory software entails:
What Is Medical Inventory Software?
Medical inventory software helps medical facilities and hospitals better manage their inventory. It includes a wide range of tools and features that simplify data entry and organization.
Specialized inventory management software for healthcare is vital for hospitals to streamline operations and optimize tasks, such as tracking equipment and supplies, reducing theft, maintaining compliance, improving equipment check-ins and checkouts, and many more.
Robust software also significantly reduces errors that healthcare facilities with manual systems often encounter.
Does Medical Inventory Software Help Doctors and Other Healthcare Workers?
If you are thinking about incorporating medical inventory software into your healthcare facility, here are some benefits you can expect:
1. Saves Time and Effort
Time and effort are important assets in the healthcare industry. But they are often wasted on tasks that can easily be automated, with the most time wasted on paper-based documentation.
Medical inventory management involves many tasks with the potential for automation. Some of the processes that will benefit from medical inventory software include:
- Scanning and tracking of inventory items (using QR codes or barcodes)
- Listing tools and equipment for appointments
- Assigning equipment to doctors
- Compiling maintenance reports
- Communication with hospital staff and between administrative teams
When medical facilities properly leverage inventory software, the administrative staff can better fulfill their duties and meet their targets, thereby improving overall efficiency.
2. Helps in Timely Replenishment of Medical Assets
Medical assets include everything from PET scanners and infusion pumps to surgical instruments. Depending on their condition, usage, and expiry, these assets will get depleted at a certain time and when they perish, you must ensure your inventory is stocked with ample replacements.
Without an efficient system to track and manage the entire life cycle of medical assets, your facility may not be operating as best as it could in terms of planning and budgeting, regulatory compliance, and most importantly, level of care provided to patients.
Medical inventory software can easily track all your assets, their condition, expiry, and depletion levels.
3. Improves Equipment Reliability
No other industry depends on its equipment’s accuracy and proper function as much as healthcare. In many cases, equipment reliability becomes a matter of life and death.
Ensuring all healthcare tools and equipment stay in optimum condition is crucial for all workers. This includes accounting for regular maintenance, power outages, breakdown maintenance, repair scheduling, and more.
If these tasks are handled manually, there is a tremendous risk of error and oversight in scheduling maintenance activities. Fortunately, implementing medical inventory software eliminates all possibilities of error.
With equipment assigning data and usage patterns, the software can better schedule repairs and maintenance to reduce downtime and minimize resource wastage.
4. Reduces Errors and Expiry of Assets
Manual inventory management increases the risk of errors, such as overspending, shortage of supplies, misallocation of supplies, and more. Inventory damage, expiry, and depletion are major sources of waste generated at hospitals.
There is also the threat of accidental prescription of expired medications to patients.
With medical inventory software, all staff can optimize inventory orders to ensure the facility has all necessary supplies on hand. When inventory is used up on schedule, the chances of it expiring or going to waste are small.
One study reports up to 95% improvement in expired product tracking after the integration of inventory management software.
Automation also reduces paper-based workflows and errors in manual data filing or redundancies in ordering.
5. Controls the Spread of Disease
While some healthcare supplies are disposed of after one-time use, others are used repeatedly. And although these supplies and instruments are properly sanitized between uses, the risk of contamination remains.
With medical inventory software, you’re always aware of the point of use of an infected instrument. This helps healthcare workers prevent further contamination and manage potentially infected environments and tools.
The better your hospital can control the spread of disease, the more you can help patients maintain good health.
6. Reduces Misuse and Loss of Equipment
When you employ a centralized database for inventory check-ins and check-outs, the chances of equipment mishandling and loss immediately go down.
Medical inventory software systems help facilities track where every piece of equipment is at all times, thus preventing loss.
7. Prevents Contract Non-Compliance
Medical facilities that manually handle inventory and ordering processes may be in for a loss due to contract non-compliance. This results from inefficient ordering quantities that have you buying supplies out of the agreed-upon contractual terms. This also increases the cost of inventory acquisition.
By deploying medical inventory software that analyzes optimum order quantities, you can order supplies in compliance with group-buying contracts. You can avoid stock-outs or unnecessary expenses for emergency replenishments.
8. Facilitates Effective Decision-Making and Compliance
When all inventory data is stored digitally, it becomes easier for medical inventory software to study existing patterns. This includes those involving ordering frequencies, changes in order quantities, department-wise usage, the prevalence of errors, etc.
Analyzing data can help managers make better decisions regarding inventory orders to optimize the allocation of the hospital’s resources.
Inventory data is also crucial during audits. Audits require you to present organized patient test results and logs. Automation ensures your practice maintains accurate records and meets all compliance requirements.
Do You Need to Automate Your Healthcare Facility’s Inventory?
A boost in life expectancy and health awareness has increased the number of hospitalizations in the United States in the past decade.
With fewer physicians and hospital beds per capita, healthcare facilities require more resources to provide quality patient care. If your facility struggles to meet increasing demands or comply with regulations due to a lack of process, you might be in a similar bind.
Of course, it is vital to invest in infrastructure, supplies, medical staff, etc. But increasing hospital staff, equipment, and other medical supplies may not be the most feasible or economical choice. Besides being a capital-intensive industry, healthcare is also a poor performer on the return on capital scale.
Medical facilities must find other ways to improve their overall efficiency without reducing profit while keeping investment costs low.
This is where medical inventory software comes into the picture.
Doctors, administrative staff, patients—medical inventory software benefits everyone in the healthcare industry. Staff can focus more on important tasks when supplies and equipment are ready and available for use, and there are no repetitive, manual tasks that take up most of their days.
Another benefit of incorporating medical inventory software is a higher rating from insurance and Medicare companies. These companies trust and rely more heavily on electronic data that is readily available in your medical facility.
Your reputation among competitors and patients will also improve, which ultimately helps your facility and boosts your bottom line.
With the implementation of medical inventory software, cost savings can also extend to insurance-related expenses. It ensures fewer insurance claims are made due to inventory mismanagement errors.
It may seem like a medical inventory software system only benefits large-scale medical facilities, but this is not true at all. Even solo practitioners can benefit from medical inventory software regardless of the number of patients and the size of their clinics. In small-scale practices, the chances of loss from expired inventory or mismanaged equipment are much higher, and so is the impact of such losses.
Integrating software to reduce losses while ensuring your practice stays afloat is simple. And the cost of using such software systems is the most cost-effective decision you will make in the long run.
From preventing inventory errors and reducing loss or misuse of equipment, medical inventory software can solve many problems in healthcare management. They not only help solve day-to-day issues but also prevent potential hazards like disease outbreaks.
What makes medical inventory software even better is they often come with necessary tools that can help you scale your practice.
We recommend choosing an all-in-one medical inventory management software, especially if you are tackling multiple operational or inventory issues, looking to reduce your carbon footprint by going digital, or preparing for organizational growth.
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