This article will look at the challenges that healthcare inventory management faced in 2022.
- Improving medical inventory visibility
- Ensuring accurate charge capture and full reimbursement
- Chasing hospital supply chain efficiency
- Striving to improve patient safety
- Using technology to improve healthcare management
Mitigating risk is a high priority for clinicians and healthcare leaders, according to a recently published report, based on industry feedback and audits.
The hospital risk report highlights the hot topic, high-risk issues that hospital leaders are currently grappling with.
Inventory management cuts across all of the areas below, so making improvements to the way you control your hospital inventory will lower multiple risks and have an impact across your hospital’s supply chain management.
Gaining visibility of your hospital medical inventory
Remove the blindfold and see your inventory
Getting healthcare inventory management right in complex healthcare organizations is not simple, but then getting it wrong is not an option either!
Simply put, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals need to be available upon demand and to make that happen hospitals need to have end-to-end visibility of their medical inventory. That means being able to locate each and every item across the hospital, knowing which staff member has taken the item from stock, seeing which patient the product was used on. A completely transparent journey.
Gaining an accurate picture of stock levels and usage data ensures that procurement is based on known and predicted need.
Having full visibility of inventory and using data insights to inform planning, leads to effective medical inventory management that assures availability upon demand.
Optimizing charge capture and receiving full reimbursements
Protect your bottom line
The report highlights the importance of strong processes that result in accurate charge capture and billing.
It states: “Revenue cycle risks include loss of reimbursement, impaired cash flow, and higher operational costs. In addition, compliance
risks might come from … failure to produce patient bills that are accurate, complete, and meet payer requirements; challenges in
maintaining an updated and accurate charge description master…”
Revenue cycle risks can be addressed by capturing all possible charges at point of care for optimized medical billing and full reimbursement. Many OR and Procedure Rooms routinely under-record items used during surgery, so having a system that is easy and effective at point of use is key.
Another issue that puts strain on financial budgets and also affects cashflow, is the tendency toward overstocking due to poor visibility of supplies.
Having a system in place that accurately tracks stock, is easy to use at the point of care and facilitates 100% charge capture will add efficiency into the supply chain and result in full reimbursement.
Safeguarding Patients against clinical and pharmaceutical errors
Putting patients first
The key concern of all hospitals is to achieve optimum patient safety.
Appropriate security and effective stock control needs to be in place to manage and track the usage of consumables and implants, as well as the dispensing of drugs, narcotics and controlled substances.
The hospital risk report identifies surgical safety as an area of concern. From an inventory viewpoint, in order to safeguard patients during surgery, certain checks need to be made prior to the usage of surgical supplies. Before handing any product over to the surgeon, the Circulatory Nurse needs to verify two important issues. Has there been a batch recall? Has the product expired?
Two simple checks. But in a busy, stressful OR and Procedure Room mistakes happen which can lead to high-risk situations.
And what about after the event? What if there are product recalls? Can your system quickly identify the patients who received particular batches?
Having a system in place that records full data on all items dispensed to patients or used in surgery is the easiest way to lower risk and enhance patient safety. Another important factor is automating the ‘last line of defense’ to prevent the usage of expired or recalled products.
Supply Chain Efficiencies
Make friends with your vendors
Because hospitals are so reliant on the prompt provision of medical supplies, their relationship with vendors is key. They need to be able to manage operational disruptions and strengthen vendor relationships.
The report notes: “In order for a healthcare organization to achieve its business goals and objectives, it must have strong contracting and oversight processes related to significant third-party relationships and vendor compliance with regulatory requirements.”
Currently many hospitals are looking at purchasing agreements or moving across to consigned inventory. However, lack of trust, poor communication and the absence of technical integration between both parties are all barriers to smooth vendor relationships and improved hospital supply chain models.
Many organizations have regular disagreements with their vendors over product usage data. Building strong vendor relationships that optimize the supply chain process is a priority in order to improve workflows, communication and cashflow.
Having a joint system in place where both parties have visibility is a neat solution to this issue. It strengthens hospital vendor relationships and eases the way forward towards a full consignment model.
Protection against non-compliance and medical negligence litigation
Keeping out of trouble
Ensuring regulatory compliance, adhering to standards and avoiding litigation are key concerns for hospitals.
The report mentions the ‘development and implementation of processes and controls to mitigate the financial, operational, regulatory,
and reputational risks associated with noncompliance’.
The hospital’s workflows for inventory control need to routinely capture the full UDI data required by the FDA.
To mitigate patient and legal risks OR and Procedure Room workflows need to flag up expired or recalled items.
Hospitals know the importance of being pro-active in this area and much can be done to bring risk levels right down and reduce ‘never events‘.
Having a system that logs full UDI data and routinely flags expiry or batch recalls at the point of use is an effective way to tackle compliance and legal risks.
Medical inventory management system solution
Easy to Implement Solution
Addressing these high-risk issues is a key priority for healthcare leaders who are looking for solutions that result in lower risk, improved service delivery and optimum patient care.
The report on the top management risks in healthcare for 2022 highlights the numerous risks currently being tackled by healthcare managers. Many hospital risk factors can be resolved by introducing fit-for-purpose hospital inventory management software and improving supply chain workflows.
IDENTI Medical offers medical data sensing solutions that improve workflow efficiency and lower organizational and patient risk. Find out how we can work with you to find a solution tailored to your needs.