Why Is Healthcare Inventory Management Important?

Healthcare inventory management systems are critical for the efficient functioning of hospitals and other medical facilities. The traditional method of logging everything manually into an Excel spreadsheet is time-consuming and prone to errors. Implementing streamlined inventory management in hospitals can help facilities save time, money, and labor.

By implementing proper inventory management techniques, healthcare providers can also reduce costs. Healthcare facilities often operate under tight budgets where every dollar counts, making it vital to streamline the inventory management process and allocate resources to other areas.

Proper planning and tracking of inventory can help hospitals avoid overstocking or understocking supplies. This ensures that the necessary medical equipment and supplies are available when needed. In addition, effective inventory management can also lead to reduced waste and improved patient care.


Implementing a healthcare inventory management system can help hospitals save time, money, and resources while providing better care to patients. Read on to learn more about how effective inventory management in healthcare can help medical facilities streamline operations.


Types of Medical Inventory Management

Inventory management is a crucial part of any business operation, especially in healthcare where the cost of equipment and supplies is high. There are two main healthcare inventory management methods: perpetual and periodic.


Periodic Inventory Management

Periodic inventory management requires employees to enter and update inventory data manually. As the name suggests, inventory is taken periodically, often once a week or at the end of a similar period. While this approach may be suitable for small healthcare facilities, it is not ideal for larger facilities like hospitals.


One of the major drawbacks of periodic inventory management is the potential for errors. Manually entering data increases the risk of mistakes, possibly leading to incorrect inventory counts and misplaced supplies. Moreover, this method requires more manual labor and takes time away from other critical tasks, creating a significant burden for hospitals and other healthcare facilities.


Perpetual Inventory Management

Perpetual inventory management is an advanced medical inventory management system that continuously and automatically updates inventory data, eliminating the need for manual entry. These medical inventory management systems leverage RFID technology and advanced software to easily track and record products and assets, streamlining the inventory management process for healthcare facilities.


One benefit of perpetual inventory systems is that they can account for purchases, deliveries, additions, and subtractions. Using these inventory systems, healthcare facilities can maintain an accurate and up-to-date record of their inventory levels at all times. Perpetual inventory systems also allow medical staff to track equipment use and ensure all supplies are accounted for.


This medical inventory management method is especially helpful in busier healthcare facilities such as hospitals and clinics. It enables the medical staff to monitor their inventory levels in real time and helps them keep track of their assets more efficiently. This not only saves time and labor but also helps hospitals avoid the costly mistake of ordering too much or little of certain supplies.


Considerations for Inventory Management in Hospitals

Effective inventory management helps healthcare facilities track and manage the numerous types of equipment and products they require for day-to-day operations. Below are some of the fundamental considerations for asset management in hospitals.


Medical Equipment and Technology

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities handle an array of medical equipment and technology, from routine supplies to specialized, high-cost equipment. Effective inventory management is essential for ensuring that all equipment is accounted for and that medical facilities do not waste resources by overspending on equipment they already have in abundance. Additionally, accurate inventory tracking helps prevent the loss of expensive medical equipment, which can be costly to replace.


Controlled Substances and Pharmaceuticals

Controlled substances and pharmaceuticals are among the most critical items hospitals need to track. Carefully keeping up with controlled substances and pharmaceutics ensures that medical care providers avoid medication distribution errors and ensure compliance with federal regulations.

Effective inventory management techniques also enable medical staff to locate medicines that need to be recalled or have expired, thus improving patient care and avoiding delays in treatment due to drug shortages.


General Medical Supplies

General medical supplies are the items that healthcare facilities use daily, such as syringes and bandages. Inventory management in hospitals is essential to ensure that these supplies are always in stock and that there are no shortages or excesses. In the context of hospital supply chain issues, proper inventory management is even more critical to ensure that care providers have the supplies they need when they need them.


Healthcare Inventory Management Best Practices

Managing inventory is critical to any healthcare operation, from ensuring that medical supplies and equipment are available when needed to avoid waste and unnecessary expenses. Proper healthcare inventory management can help medical facilities reduce costs, save time, and enhance the quality of patient care. With so many items and complex workflows to manage, it can be challenging to maintain an accurate and up-to-date inventory.


By using the following best practices, healthcare facilities can streamline their inventory management processes, reduce errors, and allocate resources more effectively.


1. Take Inventory First to Avoid Redundancies

One of the best healthcare inventory management practices is to conduct a complete inventory check before implementing a new system. An inventory check helps to identify redundant or lost supplies, ensuring that healthcare facilities don’t order unnecessary equipment.


Before implementing a revamped inventory management system, take inventory of what you do have first. Afterward, it is vital to have an inventory management system that uses RFID technology to help track all supplies and equipment.


2. Clearly Assign Team Responsibilities

To maintain an efficient inventory management system, it’s essential to clearly assign team responsibilities. All staff members should understand their roles and how they contribute to inventory management. Having clear responsibilities ensures everyone is on the same page, minimizing misunderstandings and keeping everything where it should be.


3. Use RFID Tags to Track Costly Assets and Supplies

RFID tagging systems can help healthcare facilities track costly assets and supplies accurately. Tagging systems make it easier to locate equipment if it goes missing, and they can also streamline the maintenance process, helping to monitor the equipment’s life cycle.


4. Collect Department Data and Optimize Accordingly

Hospitals and other facilities should collect and analyze supply chain and departmental data to accurately track inventory and prepare for potential disruptions that can affect supplies.

By reducing reliance on manual processes, hospitals can optimize ordering to prevent over-ordering or under-ordering and prioritize the items used more frequently. Administrators should also keep track of equipment maintenance to plan for equipment reaching the end of its lifecycle.


5. Implement a Facilities Management System

Manually managing inventory is inefficient and can lead to errors, missing supplies, and overspending. Implementing a medical facilities management system can create a more consistent and accurate process, saving healthcare facilities time and money. This system can help protect and track equipment and supplies, allowing staff to know its location at all times and maintain compliance.


How Pycube Can Help

Pycube’s RFID asset tracking solutions offer an effective way to manage inventory in healthcare facilities. Hospitals and medical facilities can quickly locate lost or misplaced equipment and prevent unnecessary replacement costs using RFID technology.


With Pycube’s asset tracking solutions, hospitals can collect and analyze data to optimize inventory management practices and prepare for potential shortages. If you’re interested in learning more about how Pycube can help your facility, contact us today to get started.