Efficient equipment and inventory management are crucial to delivering high-quality care at healthcare institutions. This means that everything from large expensive equipment such as MRI machines to disposables such as needles and swabs should be reliably available and in excellent condition when needed.
In a typical hospital and clinic environment, especially in critical situations, hospital staff should focus on providing the best possible patient care and not get distracted by administrative issues such as tracking down equipment.
Here are some key challenges healthcare institutions face when it comes to medical inventory management:
1. Poor/unreliable data:
Hospitals operate with the help of a large inventory base. The best way to handle such items is to maintain accurate records of information but in the absence of a reliable system, most healthcare centers fail to do so.
2. Inconsistency in instrument sterilization:
Surgical wards are a hub for bacteria and viruses. The use of unsterilized instruments can expedite the spread of diseases. Such problems can be prevented by automating maintenance and sterilization cycles.
3. Inability to meet safety standards:
When it comes to the healthcare sector, a single mistake can be fatal to a patient’s life. Poor administrative practices compromise safety levels putting lives in danger.
4. Time-consumed searching for missing equipment:
Medical staff occasionally places equipment in unauthorized locations. As a result, hours are spent looking for the items that have been removed from the main inventory location, and if they are not found, shortages may occur.
Using manual methods to manage medical inventory, as well as the associated data and information linked to it, can be time-consuming, and worse, prone to error.
Here’s how medical equipment management software can help:
1. Instantly access and view medical equipment status
Healthcare centers operate in a time-sensitive environment. Irregular and unexpected delays might put a patient’s life at risk and have irreversible consequences. It is critical to keep accurate and up-to-date inventory records for smooth day-to-day operations. For example, if the surgeon is unable to get the right instruments for a scheduled surgery then this can cause unwanted delays and pose a serious risk to the patient.
Medical equipment tracking software can help organize bookings and reservations to assist hospital staff with such issues. All items can be tracked along with their current status from a centralized place which can be accessed by the entire team. Item status is automatically updated from available to check out or under maintenance once the items are entered into the system.
Having all this information in a single place makes it easier to plan. You can easily access the status of any medical equipment under the availability calendar.
2. Run audits to comply with safety standards
One of the greatest risks involved in healthcare management is not staying compliant with safety standards. Medical devices are subject to ever-increasing requirements for compliance, safety, reliability, and accuracy. Strict regulations mean you cannot afford to provide substandard medical facilities.
This is mainly why healthcare organizations tend to opt for web-based mechanisms to manage hospital operations.
Such software programs let you organize routine audit practices to ensure that you are meeting the set legal certifications. With the help of medical equipment asset management software, you can easily keep track of asset utilization. Due to daily or regular use, medical equipment and devices are at a risk for wear and tear which can reduce effectiveness. Asset auditing is a reliable method for keeping track of and maintaining long-term possessions of assets.
Audits can also be carried out to verify that the inventory count at any given location matches the quantity entered in the software. By providing precise inventory information that can be compared with inventory on hand, the software makes the process easier. It also creates a traceable line of accountability by logging the last person who had possession of a certain piece of equipment. By maintaining transparency you can reduce instances of lost, damaged, or stolen equipment.
3. Schedule sterilization sessions
For any organization to function at its optimal level, it is necessary that its equipment is maintained in good shape. The same goes for hospitals and healthcare units. The need for sterilization of medical instruments is much more amplified, because of the risks involved with the spread of viruses and bacteria.
With the use of medical equipment management software, you can schedule recurring services for your medical instruments. Since sterilization requires continuous maintenance, you can set recurrence dates to avoid missing out on necessary sterilization procedures. The tools are automatically sent to maintenance on the selected dates.
The software can help in planning maintenance sessions for your machines and medical equipment. You can automate these sessions for efficient repair and service operations and even ensure that equipment is sent into maintenance or for sterilization every time it is checked in after use. Mark it as unavailable and put any checkouts on hold until the medical devices and equipment are perfect for use.
4. Use barcode labels to track medical instruments
The trend of barcode labeling has gained popularity in pharmaceutical departments in the last few years. With the workload spread over numerous employees, it is not an easy job to keep a track of all medical equipment. Such situations require a robust check-in and checkout system to retain the transparency of work operations.
Medical equipment management software provides high-tech features like barcode labels to distinguish between tools and instruments needed for different tasks. This mechanism allows you to gain the following benefits:
- Lower risk of error in tool placement
- Time savings due to quick retrieval of equipment
- Control over misplacement and loss of inventory
In addition to these advantages, hospitals can also use barcodes to log the storage location details of all the assets as well.
5. Reporting analytics for better decision making
The majority of hospitals now maintain electronic patient records, as a result of robust online data integrity. Medical centers are slowly shifting towards an IT infrastructure that enables them to meet higher safety standards and offer patients high-quality care.
A tracking software provides a secure database for all medical equipment records. Being a cloud-based tool, you don’t have to worry about information loss or infiltration. With online backups, tracking software protects your data against unauthorized usage and malware. Use the information stored within the medical equipment management software to forecast future trends and patterns. For example, comprehensive usage history of every piece of medical equipment enables you to forecast your stock needs for the upcoming year.
Healthcare analytics is critical to help identify any problems associated with inventory management and take corrective measures. For example, you can generate reports on the costs of preventative maintenance to see which machinery is costing too much and should be replaced instead of fixed. Use the power of data-driven decisions to maintain and improve equipment quality standards.
EZOfficeInventory is a leading asset tracking software. It allows you to track, maintain, and report on inventory from anywhere, at any time. We offer a free 15-day trial – no credit card required!