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5 Reasons Why You Need Medical Inventory Management Software

Posted: May 16, 2019 by Ly Phan

5 Reasons Why You Need Medical Inventory Management Software

For the healthcare industry, medical inventory management is critical in ensuring patients who need medicine can get it. The “just-in-time” model widely used within the sector poses a logistical challenge for all stakeholders in the supply chain. It’s essential for the end-user that there’s just enough stock available, without running the risk of medicines going past the expiry date.

There are several typical logistical challenges in medical inventory that can be found anywhere. However, the healthcare industry also needs to contend with added factors, such as stringent regulations designed to protect the safety of patients. In the United States, this is further complicated by the fact each state has its own laws.

As a result, accessibility in inventory control is more important than ever before. One survey, quoted in Supply Chain Dive, found 18% of respondents (Medical supply chain decision makers and hospital executives) had heard of a patient being harmed through a lack of supplies. The widespread nature of the issue is illustrated by the fact two-thirds of US hospital pharmacists deal with at least 50 drug shortages a year.

While these issues can not be put down to inventory management alone, having a best practice medical software in place can leave you better equipped to deal with those challenges.

 

Why Use Software for Medical Inventory Management?

An increasing number of companies in the medical industry is moving away from traditional systems to healthcare management software. There are six main reasons for this, detailed below:

1. Greater Visibility

One of the most significant flaws with traditional systems is that only a limited number of people, sometimes just one person, can see the overall inventory levels. This can lead to avoidable shortages and unnecessary expenditures.

With inventory management software, you would be able to track stock wherever it is in the supply chain and monitor levels efficiently in real-time. Administrators would also enjoy greater control over access, and ensure the stakeholders who need visibility can get it.

For maritime medical supplier West International, one of Smartturn’s clients, this visibility was a primary factor in pushing the company ahead of its competitors:

“SmartTurn is our competitive advantage and has helped us overcome the burden of those regulations,” said Mark Galluzzo, VP at West International.

He went on to explain how using an inventory management system enabled his business to operate in Florida, renowned for its strict medical regulations, while their nearest competitors were 5,000 miles away.

 

2. Automation Reduces Errors

How a automated barcode system works

Traditional inventory management systems can be time-consuming, taking away resources that can be better used elsewhere. For example, doctors will be able to locate medicine and equipment far quicker with a web-based solution and enable them to focus on treating patients. This leads to better care with more positive outcomes. The same principle can be applied to repeat prescriptions, where patients can pick up their medicine from the pharmacy at a set time each week or month.

For suppliers, having an automated platform would improve inventory accuracy levels from 90% to an unprecedented 99% simply by cutting out human error. Typical errors include duplicate entries, misplaced items, and order. Achieving this level of accuracy would push your business ahead of the competition.

Additionally, automation can be applied across the supply chain. Advanced solutions, like the one provided by Smatturn, can work across multiple locations and monitor stock levels remotely with a barcoding system. Once set up and fully integrated with other systems, you can automatically replenish stock when it reaches a certain level. In healthcare, having the right equipment or medicine in the right place, at the right time, can be the difference between life and death.

These are just some of the ways automation can prove invaluable in the medical industry.

 

3. Help to Meet Regulations

Across the medical profession, regulations are a fact of life. They are necessary evils to protect patients and ensure safety. However, with the right software, you can automatically check whether your inventory meets the requirements.

Being assured the inventory management system is automatically adhering to tight regulations, wherever you are, frees your team to focus on the products and patients. As we’ve already seen with West International, it can be your competitive advantage.

 

4. Easy to Integrate With Other Systems

It’s essential for any platform to be able to integrate with other systems such as accounting, HR, and other aspects of healthcare management. Reputable inventory management software providers offer these features. In doing so, it helps to lift performance beyond inventory and to other aspects of your business or hospital.

For instance, integrated inventory, HR and financial systems can give you the complete picture of your available resources. This gives you the opportunity to maximize efficiency, reduce waste, and guarantee premier patient care.

Seamless integration is critical in healthcare and by choosing the right provider, you can incorporate inventory control into any digitalization strategy.

 

5. Increased Staff Productivity

Paper-based systems are giving way to inventory management software

The advantage of the best inventory management systems is they can be used by anyone, even with limited technical knowledge. Given the fact at least 47% of doctors already use digital aids in their line of work, there should be little concern about the uptake on inventory management.

Therefore, with little guidance teams across the healthcare sector will be able to dedicate more time to what they are meant to be doing - providing care for patients.

This extends from doctors and hospital managers to medicine manufacturers and suppliers. At each step in the supply chain, professionals will be able to spend less time on inventory and more time on improving the quality of their service or products.

As one survey sums up, clinicians spend an average of two hours a day on inventory using traditional systems. A fully automated solution can reduce this time drastically and ensure your resources are being used in the best way possible.

 

Conclusion - Why Healthcare Inventory Management Matters

It’s clear that the route to more efficient medical inventory management is to embrace digital. The key is to take a proactive approach and embrace cloud solutions. Utilizing the power of software, you will be able to:

  1. Automate the inventory management processes
  2. Save time and costs that can be reinvested elsewhere
  3. Reduce the chance of human error
  4. Automatically adhere to global regulations
  5. Increase productivity
  6. And most importantly, allow front-line professionals to spend more time with patients

If used right, the software will enable all stakeholders in the medical supply chain to put patient care first. There would be no need to worry about stock levels, or whether the medicine has passed its expiry date. With one, single platform, healthcare professionals will be able to locate, assess and use the inventory with confidence quickly.

To incorporate medical inventory management software today would be a significant step towards improving your processes and patient care.

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