Guide to Healthcare Inventory Management Systems

Read our guide to healthcare inventory management software. Learn the benefits of having an inventory management system in your practice.

Hospitals and large healthcare organizations are responsible for keeping track of a large amount of inventory, including medical equipment and supplies, patient prescriptions, and other health and wellness products.  While many have inventory management strategies in place, nearly half of the hospitals surveyed were using basic Excel sheets to manually manage their inventory.  Unfortunately, supply chain costs are predicted to be the highest cost for healthcare systems this year, finally surpassing labor costs. rFor this reason, many providers are turning to comprehensive inventory management systems.

What is the main purpose of inventory management?

By implementing a strategic and streamlined supply chain process through a healthcare inventory management software, hospitals and health systems have the ability to save 17.7% or $11 million per facility annually.  Therefore, many hospitals have realized the importance of inventory management and have shifted focus to finding a platform to assist in workflows should be a priority for health systems. This will help, to save money, time, and effort and more effectively manage their inventory. Healthie offers a complete solution for inventory management & client care. To set up a free Starter account today, click here.

What is inventory management for healthcare?

Healthcare inventory management, also known as supply chain management (SCM) is a workflow responsible for keeping track of your health system’s inventory, purchases, orders, payments, and more.  An inventory management system is key in healthcare organizations that need to keep track of medical supplies, order and dispense prescriptions, or sell health products to patients.  Within large organizations, inventory management strategies help protect your company from both monetary and product losses, by keeping an updated and accurate log of products and supplies.

What are types of inventory management?

There are two different types of healthcare inventory management that are implemented.  The first is known as perpetual inventory.  Perpetual inventory systems continually update the inventory records, accounting for any additions, subtractions, purchases, and deliveries.  When managed properly, perpetual inventory systems are an efficient and accurate way to track inventory for your healthcare system.  However, because they required advanced software that runs automatically, there are increased costs and time associated with perpetual inventory systems, especially for organizations with multiple locations.

The other main type of healthcare inventory management systems is known as periodic inventory.  Periodic inventory systems do not update automatically and daily; rather, they require manual inventory to be taken at the start and end of a specific period of time (i.e. each week).  Once the inventory has been physically taken by employees, the system can be updated with new inventory data.  Taking inventory periodically does take a significant amount of time, and leaves more room for error than when completed automatically. This type of inventory is best suited for smaller businesses and healthcare organizations. Whether you’re a solo practitioner or part of a multi-provider group or organization, Healthie’s platform has flexible membership plans to adapt to meet your business needs.  

What are the essentials of a good Inventory Management Software?

There are a few options and requirements to keep in mind for choosing medical supply inventory management software.  Enterprise resource planning software manages many important aspects of inventory management, such as demand and planning, procurement, shipment, and customer purchasing and delivering.  However, most enterprise resource planning software is not designed for hospitals, healthcare systems or wellness businesses in general. Therefore, it is crucial that when selecting a healthcare inventory management software platform to use within your healthcare system, you select one that is specifically designed to meet the inventory needs of large healthcare organizations.

As you begin to research medical healthcare inventory management software, you’ll quickly realize that most systems offer a host of features, capabilities, and cater to different specialties. Healthie’s all-in-one practice management software can be used by any wellness professional. Our new free Starter Plan can help you with program creation, scheduling, telehealth, and provide a client portal all for $0. Click here to start your free account today. First and foremost, your platform should be secure, cloud-based, and accessible; a platform that can be reached from the web will be easiest, as you can avoid downloading and installing programs onto multiple devices.  

To help you determine the requirements for your inventory management system, think of what is essential for your healthcare system.  What features does your organization absolutely need, and which ones would be convenient add-ons?  The ideal healthcare inventory management software for your organization will check-off all of the boxes in your “need” list, and most of the features in your “want” list.  It’s important to find a solution that:

  • Has communication capabilities
  • Is easy to use
  • Can be scaled to meet your organization’s needs
  • Has a customizable and flexible design
  • Has a comprehensive reporting and analytics

As for features, look for a solution that allows you to track and control items, notify you once it’s time to place a new order, and create purchase orders.  You should also have the ability to decide who can process inventory and manage tasks within the platform.  

Work Smarter, Not Harder.

Healthie offers a complete solution for practice management & client care.

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Work Smarter, Not Harder.

Healthie offers a complete solution for practice management & client care.

Benefits of an Inventory Management System in Healthcare

✓ Streamline inventory workflows

Managing large amounts of inventory using an Excel spreadsheet is time-consuming and leaves much room for error.  It’s likely that supplies are being managed inefficiently, and too much time is spent taking inventory during the workday; this time could easily be reallocated to essential patient-facing care.  However, implementing a comprehensive inventory management system has the potential to improve staff efficiency, reduce inventory supply costs, and overall improve the organization’s bottom line.  

When it comes to the types of inventory management, Healthie offers a comprehensive and accessible virtual system. Most importantly, virtual inventory management eliminates the need for paper workflows, including printing, mailing, filing, and faxing.  All important information regarding inventory is easily accessible through a secure, cloud-based platform.  This allows for increased visibility regarding the inventory available; therefore, staff has a better idea of what supplies, equipment, and medications are currently available for use.  This, in turn, reduces product waste by avoiding ordering unnecessary items that are already well-stocked. It also reduces the margin of error in prescribing medications that are out of stock, avoiding leaving patients without necessary medications, a huge benefit of having an inventory management software.

✓ Contract compliance

When purchasing large amounts of healthcare related products, it is strategic to work with distributors and manufacturers that offer bulk purchasing contracts. These types of contracts are crucial in getting reduced prices when purchasing large amounts of essential product and medication. However, implementing this strategy requires an efficient inventory management system. If inventory is ineffectively managed, healthcare systems may either find themselves with too much or too little product, leading to a situation in which they would need to break their bulk purchasing contracts to place early or delayed orders at full price. With a proper supply chain management system in place, the risk of this happening is lowered significantly.  

✓ Improves communication between care & admin teams

It is likely that in large healthcare organizations, there is an administrative team in charge of inventory management. However, this team is not likely to include healthcare providers of any level. The administrative team is therefore very knowledgeable on the current inventory availability and needs, while care teams with limited access spend unnecessary time tracking down information from those responsible for inventory management. A virtual inventory management software allows both teams access to necessary inventory updates regarding medications and healthcare supplies.  

✓  Instrument & equipment protection

Having to replace medical instruments equipment that have been lost or misplaced is extremely costly for any healthcare business. A comprehensive inventory management software lets you track exactly where equipment is and who’s accountable for it, giving you the power to protect your investments that allow you to provide stellar care.

✓ Digitize your data by going paperless

Still wondering what is the importance of inventory management in healthcare? A healthcare inventory management system not only helps you keep inventory information more organized in a visual way, but also allows you to go paperless. Digitizing data to help the environment while improving accuracy, optimizing workflow, and providing more time for patient care is a big win-win.

Using Healthie’s Healthcare Inventory Management Feature

Healthie provides a practice management and client engagement solution for organizations of all sizes — from small wellness businesses to large healthcare systems and enterprises.

Healthie's Inventory Management Feature enables businesses to add products and keep track of items. With this feature, you can:

  • Track your inventory quantity
  • Include Products in client packages for clients to purchase alongside services, programs, and sessions that you offer. Products purchased through client packages can be automatically deducted from your inventory, which allows for real-time and accurate, inventory management.

You can use our medical inventory management software to keep track of any product that you offer, including but not limited to, medical supplies, health products, supplements, branded products, and more. Keeping track of inventory is important to help protect your company from both monetary and product losses, by keeping an updated and accurate log of products and supplies.

Learn more about how a practice management platform can streamline your wellness business operations.

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