Hospitals and clinics across the world are facing tremendous challenges in the fight against COVID-19. While global pandemics are rare, they can highlight cracks in our healthcare systems and make it necessary for administrations to re-evaluate their processes.
Hospitals already operate 24/7, catering to a constant influx of patients and dealing with critical emergencies around the clock. Now, they need to increase capacity and efficiency to cater to the rapidly growing COVID-19 patients. With already limited inventories and staff, many hospitals are struggling to facilitate these patients.
While it is not possible to increase inventories overnight, hospitals can increase capacity by making better use of the resources at hand.
Online inventory management enables hospitals to practice smart asset management so they are able to provide better patient care. With complete inventory data saved on the cloud, the entire hospital staff logs equipment-related activities in real-time. These activities include checking out equipment for surgeries, running inspections, sanitizing tools, and reserving equipment for future procedures. This enables hospitals to build and maintain complete histories for all their assets, from procurement to retirement.
Hospital administrations use this asset repository to oversee operations. Here are 5 ways online inventory management will enable you to tackle the mounting pressure on your practice:
1. Lower your response time and ensure smoother surgeries
Healthcare professionals can lose valuable time locating equipment for procedures. This not only delays operations, but also reduces hospital capacity to cater to patients. It could also delay administering first-aid and emergency care, which are extremely time sensitive and require fast response times.
With real-time equipment updates online, every staff member logs equipment activity. In this way, all team members know the location and availability of every piece of equipment. This makes it easy to track it down at any time of the day.
You can ensure all surgical tools are arranged and primed well before surgery. Check availability of items well in advance by accessing the asset repository online. You can also make reservations to guarantee availability.
2. Strengthen equipment security
Hospitals lose millions of dollars every year because of lost or stolen equipment. VA Hospital in Indianapolis reported 1 million USD worth of equipment missing between 2014 and 2016. No practice is immune to missing equipment.
Why is this the case? With hundreds of procedures taking place in parallel, critical equipment changes hands several times a day. Without a robust system in place, this can create confusion, leading to administrative negligence Ultimately, a wide window of opportunity is created for equipment theft or neglect.
Online inventory management tightens equipment security by bringing complete equipment visibility across the structure and implementing extensive activity logging. Track even the smallest moving part so no drugs or equipment are stolen. This establishes accountability across the staff and empowers them to use items more responsibly. Moreover, well-maintained online data also makes periodic auditing easy so you can run quarterly inventory counts.
3. Protect both patients and healthcare professionals
Safety hazards like administering expired medication, cross-contamination, and unreliable equipment are some major challenges faced by healthcare facilities. Unreliable equipment, for example, can break down during procedures, potentially harming either the operator or the patient. It can also return faulty scans, making it easy to overlook signs of trouble.
Make your equipment more reliable with online inventory management. Implement preventive maintenance to eliminate sudden breakdowns. Manage maintenance for all your diagnostic and surgical equipment and plan hand-tailored service schedules. Create events for disinfection of all surgical tools both before and after surgeries to lower chances of cross-contamination. Run inspections and equipment checks to verify functionality.
In addition to this, online inventory management enables users to track drug expiration dates and equipment warranties. This will enable you to dispose of expired drugs and also order replacements in time.
4. Ensure adequate stocks at all times
Mismanagement of hospital inventory almost always leads to inadequate supplies. If your practice is running short of crucial items like sanitizers or cleaning supplies, you’d be creating a hotspot for infections. Inadequate sanitation is the easiest way of spreading contagious illnesses to already vulnerable patients, jeopardizing their health even further.
Automatically monitor inventory counts for all your items. You can enable alerts for low stock items and automate order placement so your inventory is always well-stocked. You can also identify the most frequently used equipment by tracking usage so your hospital can optimize inventory accordingly. This also means that idle inventory can be kept to a minimum by only ordering what’s needed, leading to cost savings for the hospital.
5. Ensure regulatory compliance across the board
Compliance is extremely critical for healthcare providers. Furthermore, it is always a team effort that requires contribution from each member of the hospital staff. Each individual is required to follow strict equipment guidelines when on premise. The smallest negligence could result in health risks or data breaches. Both of these will incur penalties for your practice.
Use online inventory management to upload critical documents and usage policies for each piece of equipment. A well-informed team is more adept at upholding standards of care.
With audit-trails of all your activities present online, you can also perform internal audits to ensure everything is in order. These also help verify whether previously prescribed corrective actions are still being carried out.
According to a paper published by LexisNexis, 60 billion USD of all healthcare funding is lost to fraud, making it necessary to track expenditure and investment. Online inventory management enables you to track procurement and maintenance costs so you can improve financial transparency for your organization.
Prepare your hospital for the future of care
Hospital administrations benefit by following better asset management protocols to streamline their services and cater to their ever-growing patient needs.
Streamline record keeping so data verification only takes a minute! Always know what you have at hand so your team never wastes a minute second guessing. Not only will you be providing superior patient care, but you’ll also reduce staff burnout by making their job easy as well.
EZOfficeInventory is hospital equipment management software that makes maintaining hospital equipment a breeze! You can also track all your machines, conduct audits, ensure compliance, and manage staff users so your equipment is always in top shape!
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