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How Effective Inventory Management Protects Healthcare Workers and Patients

Medical Inventory Management

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage our world, almost every aspect of life has been impacted in some way, shape or form. Schools are running at minimal capacity, businesses are operating from home, and our healthcare system is being taxed like we have never seen before. With the winter season in full force, COVID-19 cases have begun to rise, and the number of hospitalizations has reached record highs. Doctors are reporting that packed emergency rooms and ICUs are forcing them to prioritize the sickest patients, leaving other ill patients to deteriorate while waiting for care they’d ordinarily receive right away.

While the current capacity issues drastically impact our healthcare staff, along with their available real estate, running out of the necessary supplies is becoming another challenge. With the stakes at an all-time high, proper management of key supplies and drugs has become more important than ever. Remdesivir, an antiviral treatment prescribed to COVID-19 patients with low blood oxygen or who need breathing assistance from a mechanical ventilator, is protocol now. Anti-inflammatory drugs, ventilators, and nasal oxygen hookups have all become key cogs in the battle against the virus, and that’s not to mention more necessities like gowns, gloves, masks and disinfectant wipes.

It’s easy to overlook stock levels when you’re dealing with life and death situations every day of the week. While some of the stocking issues can be attributed to true shortages, other supplies are simply being mismanaged and poorly monitored. For example, if a hospital knows the lead time for gloves is typically 5-7 business days, it’s invaluable to have a system in place to alert you when it’s time to replenish the inventory. Failure to do so could result in unnecessary shortages and wait times to receive the essential supplies you need. With so many lives on the line, implementing a solution that will closely monitor the inventory for our healthcare providers has never been more important.

Along those same lines, many of our family practitioners are facing similar challenges when it comes to managing their supplies. You would be surprised to know how many family doctors’ offices lack a dedicated system in place to track these important items. Every office must keep stock on routine necessities like needles, gauze, rubbing alcohol, bandages, lab containers, and much more. The truth is, the vast majority of these items are being stored in supply closets and are often poorly managed by the staff. This is the kind of behavior that tends to create inventory issues. It’s human nature for an organization to believe they can manage their supplies with the naked eye, or by using an Excel spreadsheet. However, it’s also human nature for that same organization to make mistakes, skip steps, and poorly manage those same supplies. These are the kinds of mishaps that cause shortages, increased shipping costs due to expedited deliveries, overages, and the possibility of poor service to incoming patients.

These scenarios can be scaled across many different industries including your everyday small- to medium-sized businesses, corporations and retail stores. Properly managing your inventory is always vital to the success of most organizations. Whether you’re selling office supplies or high-end merchandise, automating your inventory management will save your company time, reduce errors, and increase profitability.

InventoryCloud by Wasp Barcode Technologies is a cloud-based software that will help the healthcare industry, small- to medium-sized businesses and others maintain vital supplies as we strive to fight off the pandemic. The minimum/maximum stock level feature will allow your business to establish minimum thresholds to safeguard against running too low on vital inventory. The purchase order module can be utilized to place new orders and replenish these valuable supplies. Notifications can also be established to flag the expiration dates of time sensitive foods, medicine, vaccines and supplies.

At the end of the day, whether we are in a pandemic or not, proper inventory management is paramount for the success of almost any business. If you’re one of the many organizations still utilizing manual spreadsheets, or pen and paper to track your inventory, contact Wasp Barcode Technologies and learn about InventoryCloud.