The healthcare sector is growing thanks to greater access and consistent life expectancy increase. As a result, many clinics are struggling to keep up with the demand and improve their return on investments. This is why most healthcare organizations are turning to medical inventory management systems to keep track of their medications, improve efficiency and provide a better quality of care.
The Benefits of Using Medical Inventory Software
There are many advantages to using a medical inventory management system in your clinic or healthcare organization, but these will become more evident if we first take a look at what things are like when you don’t have one.
If you keep track of your inventory using a spreadsheet or similar kind of documents, it’s likely these scenarios will sound familiar:
- When you review your inventory, you regularly discover you have large amounts of expired or obsolete supplies.
- Although you have a rough idea (and a lot of entries in your document), you are uncertain what your inventory actually contains. Sometimes, you come across things you didn’t know you had and others, you can’t find basic supplies you know you do.
- You are storing inventory you don’t need or are not sure you need – and probably paying more for the extra space.
- You are losing customers or putting people’s lives at risk due to a lack of supplies or an excess of expired medications.
- Different teams in your clinic are unfamiliar with what supplies are available to them.
- You have to maintain numerous status documents like spreadsheets, but you are not sure the information there is completely up to date.
Many healthcare organizations keep track of their inventory using lists. These lists are, in many cases, offline or under the charge of a single person. There is very little visibility to what is included in them, and keeping things up to date is always a struggle.
In many cases, clinics go through regular efforts to keep their inventory clean. They prioritize issues, tidy up their stock records, and implement new processes to keep track of their supplies. The problem is that it doesn’t take long for things to go out of date again. And without a consistent system, you also don’t have access to more complex analytics that could help you plan a better strategy.
This is why using dedicated medical inventory software can help you solve data inconsistencies, forecast stock levels, allow users to scan and use items, and request new materials quickly. For example, such a system can send you alerts when an item is about to expire and help you plan for repairs and service sessions for your hospital equipment. But let’s go through the many benefits of medical inventory software in a little more detail.
Let’s begin with one of the most cost-oriented benefits of medical inventory management software: Its ability to automate all registers of your supplies and equipment and help resolve operational bottlenecks.
Automation and Integration
Workers in the healthcare sector face many challenging scenarios on a daily basis that require them to act with precision and speed. A hospital has to be a disciplined and well-ordered machine. Fortunately, technology has been able to increasingly help medical staff in their daily tasks. We know, for example, that about 47% of doctors today use digital technologies to help them communicate with patients and access technical information.
When you introduce medical inventory management software into your healthcare organization, you unlock a variety of incredibly useful tools that can help things run smoothly. For example, you can automate the process of choosing tools and equipment for an appointment and assigning them to doctors. Or you can compile complex utilization reports for maintenance, and even tag all instruments and supplies with a code so carers can scan them and you can maintain a reliable database.
Traditional systems in healthcare are not particularly team-friendly. They tend to just be visible to one person, they don’t work on mobile devices, and cannot typically connect to the cloud. This makes it difficult to keep things synced. However, if you have a medical inventory management solution in place, you can implement check-in and check-out mechanisms for all equipment and supplies. This way, you know at all times where everything is, and cant prevent things from getting misplaced or lost.
Automating the management of your medical inventory offers many other advantages besides keeping track of your supplies. For instance, you can use reports to gain insight into how your organization is using, dispensing, purchasing, and billing inventory, and take the administrative burden off doctors. A medical inventory system can also ensure that your billing and claim records are consistent and correct.
Many cloud-based systems integrate with practice management and EMR software such as NextGen, MDI Medical Allscripts, Advanced MD, and NexTech, as well as with national medical supply distributors like NDC, McKesson, Medline, and Cardinal Health.
Know When to Purchase
There are two problems that arise from not having an effective inventory system. The first is that you are never entirely sure what supplies you currently have. The second is that you can’t be sure what your future supply needs will be, either. The unfortunate consequence is that you might find yourself out of stock or having too much stock you cannot use because it’s expired or obsolete.
Working in the healthcare industry means that you are often required to deal with multiple emergency situations on a daily basis. A lot of them require expensive medical equipment, such as infusion pumps and PET scanners. Products like these have a limited time span, not to mention they also need to follow strict medical compliance standards. If you have a constant influx of patients, you cannot allow these supplies to go out of stock; you need to make sure you can always order them in advance. It’s also critical that all your equipment and supplies are compliant and don’t constitute a risk for your patients.
When you use medical inventory software, you can always get a clear view of what you have and when your supplies are likely to run out. More so, some systems even allow you to set minimum and maximum levels, make purchase predictions, and even send notifications for orders to be fulfilled. ArbiMed’s stock levels, for example, use PAR (Periodic Automatic Replenishment) levels, so when a supply reaches a min or max quantity, the item is automatically re-ordered. You can even sync your data with your supplier system.
Another advantage of using medical inventory software is that you can also allow doctors to book certain instruments and assets ahead of time. This means that you will never have to look for last-minute replacements. In the same way, you can reduce interruptions by planning repair and service sessions in advance and ensuring your equipment is always running when it’s needed the most.
While defining minimum levels for certain supplies in your inventory system will guarantee you never run out, setting up maximums will keep you from holding too much stock and end up with expired or obsolete products that could put your patients at risk. Without PAR levels, you might end up having to do rush orders that end up costing much more or discarding supplies you could have used before – had you known they were closer to their use-by date.
Many healthcare organizations and hospitals have their own pharmacies that dispense a variety of items such as injections, drugs, and IV fluids. Practically all medical stock has a limited shelf life, not to mention things need to be disposed of properly when they can no longer be used. If your inventory system doesn’t effectively track these dates, you will be not only encouraging bad practices (there are worrying statistics about staff using expired products on patients) but also losing money.
Medical inventory software results almost inevitably in improved profitability. The reason is simple: You waste less, and you never have to order things last-minute. And because you are not using dangerous expired products, you also avoid costly malpractice suits.
The best medical inventory systems allow you to avoid overstocking, eliminate delays and cancellations, and can help you optimize your organization’s cash. Additionally, you can save time ordering directly from suppliers and syncing patient appointment and billing data, all from the same platform through integrations. There is no reason why you would need to discard medical supplies. With a clean and well-organized inventory list, you don’t have to.
Provide Better Patient Care
One of the main goals of managing your medical inventory effectively is to provide better and safer care to your patients. This is why it’s crucial to ensure you never run out of supplies and that all the ones you use are compliant and not a danger to those trusting your care.
Using medical supply software can help you provide your customers with the best possible experience and also guard your brand against malpractice and loss of reputation due to expired medications.
Hospital admissions are, today, at a record high. In the coming years, we will have to continue dealing with longer life expectancy and an aging population – not to mention more complex electronic records, telemedicine, and entirely cloud-based IT systems. It’s essential to always monitor stock levels, so you know you have enough supply to meet this increasing demand and ensure everything is connected, automated, and up to date.
An excellent medical supply system benefits the entire hospital – which in turn results in better care for patients. Custodial staff, doctors, nurses, and administrative bodies can all take advantage of this increased overall efficiency.
Every piece of equipment, drug, or injection should be recorded, both when it goes in and when it goes out. One of the easiest ways to do this is by allowing doctors to scan a code every time they use a dug or piece of equipment. In addition, the best medical inventory systems will enable you to search for and dispense items using a barcode included in the medication or equipment packaging. This feature allows professionals to join your management efforts without having to worry about maintaining stock and making sure all teams have adequate supplies.
By taking the inventory administration burden off of doctors and nurses, you can make sure they can focus on what they do best: Caring for their patients.
Using ArbiMed for Your Inventory Management
ArbiMed is one of the best-rated all-in-one medical inventory software in the market. The platform is tailored for practices and clinics and is trusted by over 2,000 users and +750 clinical facilities. Some of ArbiMed’s satisfied customers include medical and dental practices, vets, surgeries, and retina specialists.
ArbiMed’s main features include:
- Traceability: To keep tabs on serials, lots, and expiration dates.
- Patient Safety: To assign products to patients.
- Compliance: To create automated reports and monitor stock.
- Convenience: To purchase and manage orders all from the same unified platform.
- Analytics: To predict purchases, so you never run out of supplies.
Other advanced capabilities that are part ArbiMed include:
- Par level settings with minimum and maximum stock level control.
- Billing accuracy, BI, and revenue cycle reports.
- Preference card.
- Point of sale.
- Barcode scanning.
- Tracking by doctor, patient, and department.
- Bill of materials and kit building.
ArbiMed is entirely cloud-based and integrates with practice management, EMR software (NextGen, MDI Medical Allscripts, Advanced MD, NexTech, and many more), and national medical supply distributors (such as NDC, McKesson, Medline, Cardinal Health, Drive Medical, and Henry Schein). The software is also user-friendly, very easy to learn and use, and is highly adaptable, so it can grow with your business.
Stop wasting supplies with outdated, inflexible systems. Schedule a Demo today and experience how ArbiMed can automate all your inventory planning, purchasing, tracking, and billing.