Managing medical laboratory supplies feels like a never-ending commitment for many occupational medical professionals. Between putting first aid kits together and tracking inventory, the list of duties goes on and on.
Because we have first-hand experience with the special challenges of ordering and managing medical supplies, we have some suggestions to make it more manageable. These suggestions are aimed toward ordering quickly, decreasing waste, and making reliable purchasing decisions, lowering costs.
Decrease the distance between items
Many medical supplies are required at the spur of the moment and frequently get misplaced. Because of this, they continually get reordered because they can’t be located—even if the supply isn’t low. Decrease the space between storage locations for medical supplies where feasible. Keeping items close together, readily accessible, and in consistent areas reduces redundant inventory. This also reduces stress and reaction time during a crisis.
Standardize specialty medical kits
All things in your medical kits should be accurately marked so you can readily locate them while the stress is on in a crisis. If your crew speaks multiple languages, make the labels multilingual; language barriers are the last thing you need in the way when fixing a medical emergency. Including a manual in the kit that demonstrates how to operate the items can also be a helpful complement.
Simplify the inventory system to support reordering
Inventory systems can easily become too complex and frustrating. This can lead to inflated supply orders based on hunches and urges instead of an objective inventory calculation. Taking the time to develop a simple and easy-to-use inventory approach increases your quality of care and compliance of your medical providers. Enforcing a digital inventory system eases confusion between team members and permits purchasers to track what items need reordering easily. Using barcode scanning (available on most smartphones) guarantees that medical providers follow and order just the things they mean to and reduces accidental reordering of unneeded items. Be sure to reference the exact item when reordering to assist with the quoting process. An inventory system can include amounts, lot numbers, and expiration dates for medical laboratory supplies.
Monitor medical supply orders
Ordering procedures for medical supplies should be stringent, and if feasible, somebody in the purchasing chain should supervise orders to discourage preferential ordering from one provider to another. While there are apparent exceptions to this rule (sterile glove style, preferred personal protective equipment, etc.), implementing guidelines helps improve compliance and decrease unnecessary purchases. Therefore, be rigorous in your ordering policies. For example, policies could include learning who your point of contact is for ordering, demanding an estimated shipping date, and asking for the tracking number after the order has shipped.
After executing these recommendations, reviewing them every six months to a year is best. There are always ways to improve. Consistent assessment is the best way to determine what it is and create a plan of action. Please contact us if you would like assistance implementing these management systems for medical laboratory supplies or would like to learn more about our medical equipment and supply assistance.