Auto Replenishment of Inventory, Tracking Surgical Supplies & Controlled Substances

Challenges

Auto Replenishment of Inventory

  • On a daily basis, hospitals require thousands and thousands of medicines, disposables, solutions, cleaning supplies, linens, etc. that need to be on hand when needed and reordered on a regular basis. These items can have vastly different shelf-lives and storage and handling requirements.
  • Critical supplies, such as those surgical supplies needed in the ER and OR, are often “hoarded” by some personnel to ensure availability, leading to potential shortages at inopportune times or over-provisioning to make up for the hoarded items.
  • Regulations and compliance requirements, as well as general staff, patient and visitor safety, required that certain medications and controlled substances be secure and their access limited to only authorized individuals.
  • Likewise, many items including lab specimens, controlled substances and even test results and certain patient records can require a secure “chain of custody” to meet safety and privacy requirements.

Solutions

  • By tagging inventory and critical supplies with RFID, consumption can be tracked in real-time and in an automated fashion against a preset minimum level for each item, and automatic reordering is initiated when these threshold levels are reached.
  • Auto-replenishment parameters can automatically take into account variables such as expiration dates, and the required equipment can function in a variety of settings such as freezers and refrigeration units as well as storage rooms or non-air conditioned facilities.
  • Cabinets, refrigeration units and freezers used for storage of expensive medications or controlled substances can be systematically associated with a limited number of individuals authorized to access them. Unauthorized attempts to access can be flagged and tracked.
  • Medications and controlled substances are often required to be kept at or below certain temperatures. Cabinets, refrigeration units and freezers can be outfitted with tags that automatically monitor and report actual temperatures on a real-time basis, eliminating the need for staff to physically visit each unit, open the door (letting warm air in) and manually record the temperature.
  • Given that nearly any device, supply, container, material or even piece of paper can be tagged and tracked, and associated with an individual possessing such item at any given time, an electronic “chain of custody” record can be produced automatically to meet policy or regulatory requirements.

Benefits

  • Real cost savings from reduced “over-provisioning”, less shrinkage and theft, and tighter control over inventories.
  • Fewer outages, shortages and back-orders, reduced carrying costs.
  • Reduced risk of carrying expired inventory, greater care for time-sensitive medical products, reduced write-offs for spoilage or shelf-life obsolescence.
  • Reduced manual labor devoted to inventory ordering, processing and reconciliation.
  • Reduced costs associated with manual “human errors” in the inventory management process.
  • Improved security for valuable medications and controlled substances.
  • Improved safety and compliance for temperature- and time-sensitive medications and controlled substances.
  • Automated records to prove “chain-of-custody” when required.